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Ordinary Things with Gospel Intentionality

by Andy Duke

As I mentioned in the video update above, we’ve been doing a lot of ordinary things over the past two weeks. Heather, the kids, and I moved into an apartment – where we’ll live for 3 months, until our house is completed. We’ve updated addresses, opened a new bank account, and established internet service. Yet each of these activities have allowed us the opportunity to meet new people, hear new stories, and start new relationships.

As a professor of mine used to say,
“Living on mission is about doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.”

Of course, I can’t wait for the day that we lead that first person to faith in Christ here in northern Colorado. And I can’t wait until we start public worship services for our church. But, in His wisdom, God has chosen to use the relationships we build during everyday activities as the context for showing His love and sharing His gospel.

So, what does it look like to do ordinary things with gospel intentionality?

First…what it doesn’t mean.
1. People aren’t projects. These friendships – these newly established relationships – are not contingent upon whether someone is interested in our faith. We want to love people and speak truth into their lives even if they never claim Jesus as Lord or join our church.

2. Christ’s plan is not simply that Christians would invite people to a program at a building. It’s far more personal and relational than that. Christ’s plan is that we enter into people’s everyday lives, show them what a life changed by the gospel looks like, and share that gospel which has changed us. 

3. Doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality is costly and risky. It costs time and comfort. It would be much easier to go about our day never engaging people for the sake of the gospel…never inviting them into our homes for meals…never listening to their thoughts and ideas…never being vulnerable about our own weaknesses as followers of Jesus. It would be much more comfortable to never interject truths from God’s word into conversations. The chance of facing rejection would be much lower if we never even mention the name of Jesus.

But, in reality, rejection doesn’t taste as bad as our pride would have us believe.
And it’s worth the risk of rejection if there is a change that our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors might be able to experience the joy that’s found in knowing Christ!

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The Call to Go for an Ordinary Family

by Nancy Franks

We are just an ordinary family. I can prove the ordinary to you, so you can really see how strange to the world it is that we would pack up and move across the country for Christ. We are deeply rooted in our city, and my husband has had the same stable job for 14 years. We have two kids (girl and boy), a wonderful church family, many friends and family nearby, a comfortable home on a cul-da-sac, and even a yellow Labrador. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the ordinary. But I am even more thankful for the God who calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things for him. There are four events which have defined our call to move from Raleigh, NC to Windsor, CO to plant a church. These events are the heart of church planting, and God lined them up for us over the past 10 years.

1- Quality discipleship. Gerald and I were discipled for several years by another couple at our church. Amazingly, they came to our home every Thursday evening and taught us the Bible. Even though both of us had been Christians for a long time and had been taught in church, they taught us something different. They taught us HOW to study the bible. This was life-changing. Through studying the Bible the right way, we saw that it is more about God than about us. This is foundational for everything we do as Christians, including missions and church planting. I believe God was putting a seed in our hearts for church planting at this time.

2- Small group. When asked to be apart of a small group at our church, our first reaction was of wonder as to why we would give up every Friday night for a group of people. But, the more and more we thought about it, the more we were curious to give this sacrificing of “us” time a try. As the weeks went by, we began to really look forward to the special time each week with our small group as we studied the Bible together, prayed for one another, and served one another. We reached the point where we couldn’t imagine not having this a part of our lives. Church planting will involve lots of small group time as we seek to teach, encourage, and serve the community that we are called to.

3- Hospitality. God put people and circumstances in our lives to show us the importance of having others (especially those who are different than us!) into our home for meals. Sharing these meals gave us a bigger picture of what it means to welcome strangers into our home – much like God welcomes those who do not know him through Christ. Hospitality is another activity we will be participating in regularly as church planters as we seek to love and serve those around us in our new community.

4- Short term mission trips. Gerald and I have had the privilege of being a part of numerous short-term mission trips over the past 10 years. One trip in particular really rocked my world and started preparing me for church planting – both in the faith that it took to go on the trip and in what I learned while on. I learned radical hospitality, how to love those far different than me, and how to trust God in the going to those who do not know Him.

We believe that God used these people and events, over many years, to prepare our hearts for church planting. I can look back and see his hand in all of it, and my heart is overjoyed that he would take this ordinary family on an extraordinary journey to plant a church for his glory! I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

 

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A 3-Month Transition to CO

This past Sunday, May 6, our team was commissioned by our home church, Christ Baptist, and this week begins our 3-month transition to Colorado. Here’s what it looks like:

  • The Frankses close on their home in Raleigh this Friday and move to Western NC until their home in Windsor is completed (late July or early August).
  • The Bohnkes begin their 2-3 week journey from Raleigh to Windsor on May 31, visiting friends and family along the way.
  • The Pitmans fly to Colorado June 18, where their home is waiting.
  • The Dukes begin their 2 week journey to CO June 30, also visiting family and friends along the way.

Please pray…
…that the Bohnkes and Dukes will find housing in or near our target area.
…that our team members would find creative ways to encourage each other while we’re apart these 3 months.
…pray for all of our children, as this is an especially challenging time of transition for them.

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Called to Meet a Need

This month (April 2018), our plant team is researching established churches in our target area to discover the needs that they currently address. Our purpose is to to discover at least one need that is still unmet and that aligns with our vision for a new church.

In his book Church in the Making, Ben Arment states, “I’ve been told that we can’t have enough church plants in one city, that there are far too few churches to reach everyone in a community. But this is dangerous advice. It assumes that everyone in town is immediately ready to start attending a church at any given time. But unfortunately they’re not. The truth is, it is indeed possible to have too many churches if they’re all the same kind of churches” (pp. 145-146). He goes on to identify several categories (I’d say, personalities) of churches: the Teaching Church, the Relational Church, the Missions Church, the Outreach Church, the Megachurch, the Mercy Church, the Denominational Church, and the High Church. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.

I bet you can identify the personality of your church (the need(s) it meets) without much difficulty.

We would like our new church to focus on one-on-one discipleship, in-home small groups, and simple worship. But, at the end of the day, the Lord’s call our lives is that of a missionary – to assess our situation and meet people where they are, not simply to impose our vision for a church on others. I like how Arment says it: “Let’s make an agreement. If we’re going to plant churches, let’s plant the churches our communities need, not the ones in our heads” (p. 154).

This month, PRAY that we would begin to get an accurate picture of the needs in our community – that we might hear God’s specific call to meet at least one of those needs.

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Moving Time!

HERE IS OUR LATEST VIDEO UPDATE.

Over the next 3 months, each of our church plant team families will be moving to northern Colorado. Here are some ways you can support us during this time of transition:

1. PRAY for the Franks and Pitman families as they travel to northern CO the first two weeks of April to look for homes. The Duke family will be there June 5-8 for the same purpose. *The Duke family’s last Sunday at Christ Baptist will be June 24, and they’ll be loading their moving container June 28-30.

2. PRAY for the Bohnke family as they continue their job search.

3. HELP the Franks load their storage container April 2. If you can help, email: andy@christbaptist.org or contact the Franks directly.

4. HELP by donating moving boxes and packing tape to our team. *Please let Andy know if you want to drop boxes or tape off at his office.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

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Assessment and Affirmation

This week Heather and I have been in Denver, CO for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) assessment retreat. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect over the two-day event; so we were a little nervous going in.

At the retreat we met NAMB reps, church planters, pastors, and specialists from all over the country, and their goal was to help us get an accurate picture of ourselves – our strengths and weaknesses – with regard to church planting.

We will not have any official results for a week or two, but our feedback was overwhelming positive, encouraging, and affirming. And while there are definitely some areas in which we need to grow, we feel more confident than ever that we are in line with God’s direction for our lives.

Windsor, here we come! 

Heather and I spent the better part of today (Thursday) in the Town of Windsor. The more time I spend there and the more I learn about the town, the more I realize how much need there is and how well it fits our team. We’re so thankful for God’s supernatural guidance in this process. As I read in His word this morning:

“I bow down…and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.”  -Psalm 138:2-3

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An Update from the Duke Family

Dear friends,

I’ve been wanting to write this update for a while now, but a number of factors have delayed it. As of my last post, our church plant team was considering the city of Greeley, CO for our location. Within 24 hours of that blog post, we felt redirected to the town of Windsor, CO. After two week-long vision trips and lots of conversations with local pastors and North American Mission Board representatives, Windsor very clearly rose to the top of our list.

One of the reasons I’ve hesitated to announce this outside of our church is that I was waiting for confirmation from the Lord. I knew what I wanted to do; but so often the Lord’s plans are different than our own.

Then, a few weeks ago, we got word that a new baseball sports park (the largest in the world!) is going to be built in Windsor. Construction starts October 1. The influx of people that this development will bring into the area will in itself more than justify the planting of a new church. Windsor is on the verge of incredible growth, and we want to be right in the middle of the kingdom growth that this will bring! We had already chosen the northwest corner of the town as our target area, and this just happens to be where the new sports park will be built! All of this is very exciting, and it was the kind of confirmation that I was looking for.

To date, we have four couples on our church plant team, and our home church, Christ Baptist, has agreed to support us for five years. I am blown away by God’s provision!

We leave this Sunday, July 9th, for a 6-day mission trip to Colorado. About half of the mission team is also on our church plant team, and they will spend a couple of days during the trip doing research in Windsor. Our mission trip will involve prayer walking, gospel conversations, man-on-the-street-type Q&A, cookouts in the park, and hosting a “thank you” dinner for the volunteers at a sister church plant.

We are in the process of applying for partnership with NAMB, and we hope to be invited to in-person interviews September 26-27.

If all continues to move as smoothly as it has thus far, team members will begin to look for housing and employment in the last quarter of 2017. Our church plant team will also form a new small group which will meet weekly beginning August 25th.

By early 2018, our new youth minister at Christ Baptist should be in place, and throughout the spring of 2018, team members will make trips to Windsor to secure homes and employment. Our target move date is July 15, 2018.

We will spend the first 18 months in Colorado learning from other church planters in the area, loving our neighbors, and having gospel conversations. Our vision is for a church where every member is a disciple-maker. We hope to develop at least two strong small groups before considering acquiring a facility in which to meet.

Our desire is to then obtain a multi-use facility that will add value to the Windsor community. We have a ton of ideas here. Maybe it will function as a co-op workspace or cafe. Perhaps fitness or art clubs will use it during the week. It could house an after-school program and/or counseling and recovery groups. And, of course, our church will worship there every Sunday evening.

How can you help?
1. PRAY – continue to pray that God would confirm the calling He has placed upon the lives of our church plant team.

2. LISTEN – if you hear of anyone that is moving to northern Colorado in the near future, please connect them with me. We would love for them to consider joining our team.

3. INVITE – from January to July of 2018, I hope to spend time casting the vision for our plant in churches around the country. My goals in this are to build a network of prayer support and seek out others who might join us in Windsor. If your church is open to me coming and speaking, please let me know.

Thank you all for your friendship and encouragement over the years!
I really feel like God has been preparing us for this work for a long time.
Knowing that you are behind us makes all the difference!

In Christ,
The Duke Family