I've been avoiding blogging.
I've also been very busy growing a 4th son, raising the 3 I have, homeschooling a 1st grader, being a wife/daughter/sister/friend, cooking food and even occasionally cleaning my house.
But I have thought about blogging, intended on blogging, written several blog posts in my head, but never actually set down and typed. Mainly because we had good news that needed to be shared in an official order to be appropriate and here was not the place.
We are staying in Temple, Texas to plant a church.
After much prayer, fleece laying out, seeking direction and godly counsel and finally surrender to God's undeniable leading, He has made it very clear: We are to stay put and plant here.
That came as both a relief and a shock to me. We had initially planned on planting in Temple, but were advised to consider Madison based on our personalities (read hippie/natural/crunchy and not-main-stream-political). While I wasn't thrilled at the prospect, I had diligently asked God to give me a heart for Madison, and on that issue He was absolutely faithful. I still pray for Madison and the churches being planted there and men ministering to that great city: that the Gospel will come in power, that there will be repentance and a great out-pouring of His Holy Spirit. We just won't be there to see it in person!
However, God made it abundantly clear that we were called to plant in North Temple and that meant shifting gears. A LOT of gears. We realized that despite packing up most of our belongings for nearly a year, we were staying in this house. While we had been unplugging and pulling up roots, we needed to put them back down again. While we had been visioning, dreaming and praying for Madison, a city we barely knew, we were supposed to be visioning, dreaming and praying for Temple, a city we had stopped engaging. It was wild. It was weird. It was totally God's way of working with us.
But once He made His will clear, He also made the way clear. It has been humbling and honoring to watch Him at work in this calling. When we surrendered to plant in Temple, the vision and dream and prayers began flowing. We had to slow down a bit actually because we almost tripped over ourselves getting excited about blessing and redeeming this city. We began meeting and connecting with people who have a passion and desire that matches our own to bring the Gospel to the unreached people of Temple, to utilize the resources already present, to redeem the very culture growing here for His Glory!
We also of course got the standard church planting questions: Are there not already churches in Temple?
Well, first I would say that is the wrong question. The Right question MIGHT be: Are there Gospel-preaching churches in Temple? Of course! There are churches in Temple, Belton and Killeen that are preaching the Gospel and reaching people for Jesus. We are not reinventing the wheel here. But my question back is: Can one church or even 10 effectively minister to the 60,000+ people within the city limits? Or the 300,000+ of the Bell County area? No! Until everyone is reached with the Gospel, new church plants are not a waste. New church plants for the sake of being "different" is idolatry. But new church plants with the vision and calling of reaching different people groups, cultures and demographics or simply those who have not been engaged by existing churches is Biblical and godly. Viewing another church or a new church plant as "hostile" or "encroaching" is simply not putting the Gospel above our egos. And the results do not lie: the fastest way to spread the Gospel is new churches. New Christians begat New Christians. We are called to "go!".
So, we're staying...
And we're excited. Excited to stay near friends and family. Excited for what God is doing through our friends, our Redemption group, our neighborhood. Excited about where God is calling us, whom He's calling us to and who is being called to us. It's a time of new beginnings, not only for our little one due in 5 weeks, but for a church that God is raising up that we have the honor of being a part of.