My friend Brian says that church planting is sexy. He is currently planting a church in Bellingham. In Bellingham (and most cities), the idea of being a part of something new and doing something risky is enticing. If I’ve learned one thing about church planting, it’s that doing it in a small town like Stanwood is NOT sexy. People in small towns aren’t looking for adventure like people in cities (at least not the same kind of adventures). Things that involve risk and change just don’t hold the same appeal.
In a small community like Stanwood-Camano, I find that church planting is a new idea to most people. There are a couple of reactions I often get when I tell people I’m planting a church. Many people think it’s a noble endeavor, and legitimately want to know more about it. Others can’t fathom why I’d be planting a church in a community with so many churches already established. In both cases, I’ve found that there’s a great need to be able to clearly explain what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how we’re going about the process. In previous posts I’ve discussed the reasons for planting a church in Stanwood, so I want to describe here what the process looks like and where we’re at in that process.
As many of you know, we moved back to the area in August 2013 to pursue planting a church in the Stanwood-Camano area. The impetus for me was not so much that I loved the idea of church planting, but that I loved the Stanwood-Camano community, was passionate about helping people understand God and the gospel more, and had connected with a church network that provided guidance, accountability, and support for planting churches in the north Puget Sound region. Apart from these factors, I wouldn’t be going through this process right now.
Beginning in January 2014, I began going through the eldership process at Communion Church in Mount Vernon, which is part of the church network I mentioned, called 3 Strand. Around the same time, I began doing a church planting internship with the pastor, Jim Fikkert. Jim had planted Communion a few years prior out of a church in Marysville. For me, getting trained and assessed by another pastor and submitting to the leadership of an existing church was the only way I wanted to go about planting a church. This whole process was new to me and I desperately wanted the guidance of other pastors and elders.
Beginning in October of last year, we began meeting as a small group in our home discussing the idea of planting a new church in the Stanwood community. In February we announced a name (Roots Church), had a vision-casting event, and launched our website (learn about our vision at www.root-church.org). For the last 10 months, Anlee and I, along with most of our core group, have been going to Communion Church in Mount Vernon Sunday mornings and then gathering at our house Sunday evenings (However, we just switched our Roots Church gatherings to Wednesdays from 6-7:30).
Currently, we are a group of 10-15 adults plus several kids. Our meetings usually consist of singing a few hymns, me teaching through a book of the Bible (currently 1 Corinthians), and prayer, although once a month we have a hymn sing.
I am currently finishing up assessment questions for planting through the 3 Strand network and will have an assessment with the other network pastors sometime this fall. Depending on how the assessment goes, we may aim to branch out and launch Sunday morning services sooner than later with me staying bi-vocational at Faithlife/Logos Bible Software, or we may wait until we get to a size that being self-sustaining is conceivable in the near future.
And that’s where we’re currently at. We’d love for you to join us. Here are some reasons you should:
- You’re not plugged into a church community.
- You live in Stanwood-Camano but go to church outside of this community (We love this quirky place we call home and want to see the gospel gain a greater foothold here).
- You want to be a part of starting a new church community.
- You want to proclaim to the Stanwood-Camano community that the cross is the only thing worth boasting in (the gospel is best proclaimed through a community of believers doing life together).
- You want to go a little deeper in understanding God, the Bible, and the Christian life.
- You want to be connected to a regional network of churches seeking to plant Christ-centered churches.
So join us Wednesday evenings from 6-7:30. We have childcare.