Here we are again! Lots as been happening and we are excited to feel you in on everything!
As I began thinking about what to write for this blog post I was confronted with the problem not of what to write, but what not to write! So much has been going on since I last updated you all on what is happening with the church plant here in the Blackman community in Murfreesboro. However, I really do not want to keep you here reading for the rest of the day, so I will just limit it to two of the bigger events that taken place over the last few weeks. Still, do not forget that if there is something you would like to know about that I do not mention in the blog, or if you have any questions about what is written, just leave a comment below or email me!
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the East Tennessee District Campground for a week of training on the essentials of church planting. This was a training sponsored by our district and taught by Nazarene church planters from all over the U.S. using DCPI training materials and methods of church planting. DCPI stands for Dynamic Church Planting International.
This is an organization whose mission is to train and equip church planters all over the world with the goal of seeing 5 million new churches planted worldwide! I had the pleasure of going through this training with several other pastors, laity, missionaries, and church leaders including our East Tennessee district superintendent. What an amazing time of training, visioning, and growth! This training was both an opportunity for God to inspire us, dream big, and plan carefully! It was truly wonderful to learn and collaborate with so many leaders in the area of church planting.
I was reminded again of the Biblical principle of reproduction:
- Christians produce Christians
- Disciples produce disciples and
- Churches produce churches.
It was impossible to leave the training without realizing that the most effective means of evangelism today is church planting. God has placed this passion in our hearts and it was wonderful to see God placing that passion in the hearts of others. After a week of training I returned home to Murfreesboro with more passion and energy than ever! I feel more equipped than ever! The Tuesday after the training Erik Gernand and I both decided we had to sit down for a few hours to bring our thoughts and plans together into a schedule. I must say that I am more confident than ever that God is up to something astonishing in our days! Each day I endeavor to plan, to dream, and to live in this community with the call of God through the prophet Habakkuk in my mind, “Look at the nations and see! Be astonished! Be astonished! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told!” (Hab. 1:5) The astonishing work is happening in Murfreesboro! What a gift it is to be a part of it in this church plant in Blackman!
Brad Griswold and his wife Erin, pastoral family of Chattanooga Lookout Valley Church of the Nazarene
Katie and I hit the road today to travel to Lookout Valley Church of the Nazarene.
Pastor Bradley Griswold invited us to come to Lookout Valley to share our vision, passion, and ministry with the church and raise financial and prayer support for it. We hope that this is the first of many churches that we will be able to share with. We had a wonderful service and are grateful for the opportunity to worship with our brothers and sisters at the Lookout Valley Church! When you have a love and passion for God and the call that God has placed on your life you also have a passion and love to share it with others. The Holy Spirit was present as God opened our eyes to our mission field.
Our mission field is the United States, Tennessee, and the city of Murfreesboro. This is a nation with over 200 million people who have not stepped foot in a church, our state is a mission field with 3.25 million un-churched people, and our city is one with 111,000 people who have no church home!
- What if we need missionaries in our own backyard?
- What if the mission field is right in front of us!
- What if we took responsibility for the broken in our own communities?
- What if being a missionary is not just about where you live but how you live?
I think it might lead to churches being planted! I think it might lead to families, communities, and cities being restored all around us! I think it might mean we are not just gathered in our communities, but for our communities! We believe it will result in a church in the Blackman Community of Murfreesboro! What a joy it was to share this belief with others this morning at Lookout Valley! What a joy it is to share it with you!
As you continue to pray, please do so specifically for a facility for the new church plant. We are eagerly searching for the place God has reserved and prepared for us, but this is not an easy task. Please pray that God will open a door for this need to be met. Also, continue to pray for us as we meet with launch team members and potential launch team members. Finally, pray for us as we travel to churches to raise financial and prayer support for this ministry! We would love to come to your church to share our vision and passion for what God is doing here in Murfreesboro. Feel free to contact us about an opportunity to do so! Grace and peace to you all and may God fill you with a new passion for the mission field that is all around you!