While back at the local missions conference at our sending church earlier this month, I had many prayer partners ask me (Andy), “What does a typical week look like for you?” I created this video to try and answer that question:
by Gerald Franks
Sunday morning, September 13, 2015. A day that change our family forever. It started out like every other Sunday in that we attended Sunday school and worship; but during the service, our pastor announced that our church would start working toward becoming a church planting church. There was no mention of location, only a general timeline – summer 2018. Our pastor then asked that members of the congregation prayerfully consider joining a team for this purpose. I instantly felt called to be a part. I believe it was the Holy Spirit who was stirring something in me. I looked over at my wife, Nancy, suggesting that I was interested, and she indicated that she was too. Immediately after the service I found Andy (our church planting pastor) and told him that we wanted to be involved.
Now, there were a few other factors that led us to this decision. This is where I see the providence of God at work as He placed people and events in our lives for His purpose:
- Pastor Andy: Andy Duke was the Youth Pastor at our church. He has a wife, Heather, and two kids, Ethan and Chloe. We had gotten to know Andy and his family very well over the previous 2-3 years. They were involved in our small group, where Andy would help lead discussion. Andy and I also served together as leaders of Trail Life, a Christian outdoor ministry for fathers and sons. So, when we heard that it was Andy leading the church plant, we knew he would be someone we could trust to lead us spiritually and pastor this church.
- Small Group/Discipleship: Knowing Andy well, we also knew that small groups and discipleship would be a central part of his vision for this new church. The idea of having gospel conversations and inviting people into our home excited us as well. We want to love others and serve them regardless of what they believe, share gospel truths with them, and investing in their lives, even if they never come to trust Christ. We are given the commands to love God, love others and make disciples, and we were confident that these ideas would be at the heart of this church plant.
- Church Planting Concept: The very nature of church planting is biblical. We see God’s Word spread in the book of Acts because of men like Paul and Barnabas who obeyed Christ’s Great Commission to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”. They trained up leaders and planted churches from Jerusalem to Rome. Churches should be sending people to “Go” and start other churches in areas where there is a need for the lost to hear God’s word. We are thankful to be a part of a sending church that recognizes this fact and supports it.
We are an ordinary family called to be obedient. All believers are called by God to go and make disciples. Some are simply called to go across the street and have a gospel conversation with their neighbor. Some are called to move across town and live life with an unengaged people group. Some are called to move across the state or even across the nation to plant a church where the gospel needs to be heard. And some are called to move to another country and reach out to an unreached people group. Either way, all believers are called to “Go” and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
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!
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.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!