Here is where we are currently as a church and what is coming in the next few months. If all the nitty-gritty details don’t really interest you, just skim over the bolded summary statements below.
- We are launching on September 10! What does this mean? It means that the leaders of Communion Church and 3Strand (see next point) believe we are ready to stand on our own two feet and be a healthy, sustainable church. We will celebrate this significant milestone during the service on Sunday, September 10 with some special guests. Practically, this also means that we will begin taking communion together at this point, and that I (Derek) will no longer be on staff at Communion Church but be fully supported by Roots (more below). As far as service time and location, at this point, the plan is to stay Sunday evening as our current location seems to be working very well. This could change, but currently we don’t have any plans to change times or location.
- 3Strand assessment is complete! I recently had the final meeting with the 3Strand assessment team, and they affirmed our readiness to fully launch as a church. To have the full support and blessing of this network of pastors who have lots of experience planting churches in the region is tremendously encouraging and confirming both for me personally and for us as a church.
- We exist legally! Roots Church is now a registered non-profit corporation and is officially licensed to operate in the state of Washington.
- We are applying to join the North American Baptist denomination (NAB). I recently met with the regional director of the NAB, Chris Gorman, to consider the benefits of joining up with them. We had a great meeting and we are moving forward with the application process to join the NAB as a church plant. Here are some reasons why this is a beneficial partnership for us:
- It connects us to a network of around 450 churches across North America that has a lot of experience, wisdom, knowledge, and history to lean on. While 3Strand provides some of this locally, it is still a fairly new and young group of pastors and churches. The NAB provides a wealth of resources, including mentors, for young churches and pastors.
- It provides a lot of support for new churches and pastors, including pastors’ retreats and conferences, guidance, and financial assistance.
- It has the potential to cover much of our operating costs for the first two years after launch, allowing us to be financially healthy and for me to direct all of my energy to leading, teaching, and shepherding the church.
- It allows us to be a part of the growing relationship between 3Strand and the NAB. Two of the eight existing 3Strand churches are already a part of the NAB. Additionally, 3Strand is currently partnering with the NAB and their seminary, Sioux Falls Seminary, to open up an extension campus in the greater Seattle area. Cascade Bible College, as it will be called, will “help train members of local churches on every level, from introducing new Christians to the basics of the Bible to offering accredited master’s level theological education to current and future ministers.” Classes are set to begin in the fall.
- We have additional churches offering to support us. Communion Church took a special offering for Roots a couple of weeks ago to help cover our start-up costs (sound equipment, computer, etc.). Crossway Fellowship in Lynnwood, also a 3Strand Church, has also offered to help support us.
That’s the big news for now. For me, the most exciting thing is not that things are happening, but that I clearly see God working in all of this. I see God’s hand in the diverse group of people that he is bringing to us; I see his hand as I hear stories of how our time together in the Word is effecting people; and I see his hand at work in the sacrifices many are making to serve this church on a weekly basis.