Church Planting: Preparing the Ground
by Lenny Konschewitz, Church Planter, Grace Anglican Church
My family and I moved from Europe to Fleming Island, Florida, this past January to help Grace Anglican plant a church in St. Johns County. Just like the rest of the world we have been caught up in this Covid-19 storm. Our church planting efforts have moved online and we are finding ourselves in uncharted waters.
However, God has promised to never forsake us and, instead, to prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). I would like to invite you to have a seat at his table for a moment and to receive the good things he has in store for us as believers and also for our church planting endeavors.
I believe the first thing God is teaching us to do is to learn to discern that He is here. He is not watching from a distance. When the disciples were struggling in the storm all night (Mt 14:22-33), Jesus came walking on the water in the midst of the waves. No matter how big the waves around us, Christ is still Lord over the circumstances.
Are we able to see Him? Or are we too distracted by the news and bad reports?
After Peter recognized that it was Jesus (and not a ghost), the storm actually served as an opportunity to expand his faith and to do something he had never done before: walk on water!
Similarly, how does this Covid-19 storm create an opportunity for us to think outside the box (or boat) and to see this unique moment in history as something that prepares the ground for God’s Kingdom to advance and for more churches to be planted?
In a recent prayer meeting for our church plant (online, of course) we prayed into this question. What we felt was that people are becoming increasingly aware of the value of healthy relationships and of social connectedness. Isn’t this what the Church should really be very good at? As image-bearers of the triune God who eternally exists in a perfect relationship we are called to demonstrate to a broken world what it means to have loving relationships. The Kingdom of God is in relationships, and people’s hearts are currently prepared to be welcomed into this family of God. For this reason, I believe that churches and new church plants after Covid-19 should make healthy relationships a core value.
Moreover, storms have the tendency to bring up the raw emotions and fears locked up in our hearts. Many people around us are affected by the virus of fear, and as believers we are called to be the bearers of good news and hope. Let us change the “atmos-fear” by intentionally reaching out to our neighbors and showing them a Jesus who says, “I am here” in the midst of the storm. I’m trusting that God is giving us opportunities to minister to and connect with people who will end up in our church plants who we wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for this virus.
What are you sensing the Holy Spirit encouraging us to do at this time to expand our faith and prepare the ground?
This is our finest hour! Praise God!