Just got back from spending another 3 days with the team in Philly. Again, exhausted but excited. Lots of good things happening among us. Here’s some of it:
» I’m in the process of applying with the Acts 29 Network. On Thursday, I completed a (1 hour and 20 minute!) phone interview with Tyler Powell of A29. Really felt more like a conversation than an interview. We talked through theology, missiology, vision, plan, call, Philadelphia, life – just a great conversation. The interview marks the end of the first phase of the application process and now we’ll be moved on to phase 2. So excited about the possibility of connecting with this network. For the last 3 years, I’ve learned so much from being around this network and think it could be a great benefit to us in Philly.
» We just heard back from the Church Multiplication Committee of the CCCC. The Committee has approved our requested funding for 2008-2009! I am ecstatic about that and about the way that the CCCC has rallied around us. So grateful to God for the prospect of being connected with spiritual fathers and elder brothers who can teach, encourage, challenge, correct, rebuke, and walk with us as we walk with Christ. So grateful for their belief in our vision and their willingness to participate with us.
» Our team had another great weekend together. We spent a bunch of time in prayer thanking God for what He was doing in our midst and pleading with Him to work in and through us for the sake of His Kingdom. We prayed for Philadelphia – for its people, its families, its marriages, its culture, its churches, its pastors – that God would show much grace. We had good conversations about who we were trying to reach and how we would go about doing that. I came away realizing that I’ll need to do a better job of thinking through what it would look like to go from a team of 16 to being in a position to launch 7 Mile Road and public worship. I’m hopeful that talking with a bunch of church planters over the next month will help bring some clarity on how to go about launching the church.
» My favorite part of the weekend was Saturday night. After our meeting was over, Cibil, Derek, and I met up with one of Cibil’s good friends (and 4 of his friends) for dinner. So 8 of us are sitting at a Brazilian steakhouse. (By the way if you’ve never been to one of those, you just sit there as waiters bring out one slab of meat after another. You can assuage your guilt by convincing yourself that it’s part of the Atkins diet.) It was one of those restaurants where you could bring your own alcohol and so these guys brought the biggest bottle of vodka I had ever seen. I didn’t even know they made bottles that big. Anyway, the 5 guys we met that night are exactly why we are planting 7 Mile Road. Good guys, young, working or currently enrolled in one of Philly’s many universities, fun, great sense of humor, and open to talking about God. Each of them had been exposed to church in their past, but none of them were connected to a church where they were hearing the Gospel and having it transform their lives. By the end of the night, after a ton of meat and a ton of laughter, they told me to let them know once the church plant was up and running cause they’d definitely come check it out.
It was a good reminder of what we’re getting at in planting 7 Mile Road.
» Lastly, on Sunday, Shainu, Hannah, Derek, and I visited Liberti church (another Acts 29 church). The service was in a school building, with folding chairs, faithful preaching of the word, passionate worship, celebration of Communion, warm fellowship – I felt like I was at home at 7 Mile Road Boston. Loved worshiping with the body there, and grateful to befriend the men who are leading that community.
If you’ve read all the way down to the bottom of this post, you must care about what we’re doing. Please remember all this great stuff in prayer.