I am in Lynchburg, Virginia until Saturday. The weather is cooler and they have leaves that actually change colors! The reason I am in this neck of the woods is my passion to encourage Church Planters. I am teaching at the Next Conference on church planting at Liberty University. Most of you know Church at the Bay launched about 3 years ago. I spent a lot of time before launching talking to everyone who knew anything about starting a church. We were able to negotiate some challenging obstacles because of the wisdom of other people who poured into my life (we also have experienced some challenges because of my thick skull). But, the research is conclusive and it is clear that nothing reaches people far from God more effectively than a church start. That is why CATB continues to help, equip and encourage church planters. Here are some ways we have engaged this mission:
- We often have church planters in a weekend service before they launch looking around.
- We have given them resources (just this week we gave away our stage that we used in the cafeteria) and finances
- We have sent teams to help them launch
- We pray for them
- Most weeks CATB buys a lunch for a church planter I meet with
There are many reasons why CATB is engaged in helping planters, but one that looms large is the learn and return principle i.e., when God teaches us a truth- I believe we have a stewardship responsibility to pass it on! One big benefit for me is how my faith is stretched by hanging out with planters. Church planting is the extreme sport of ministry!
Finally- CATB we hope in the future to have church planting labs on a Friday through Monday (maybe as soon as this Spring). Church planters and teams will come to The Bay and we will give them a full access backstage pass to everything we do. This will all be at no charge- because CATB is built on generosity!
One last benefit- My daughter is a Physical Therapist and works in Lynchburg right now!