We invited several of the Montevallo area pastors tonight to a meeting hosted by First Baptist Montevallo to let them know about our plans to plant a church in the area. I am very gratefuly to Pastor Bart Kingsley at FBC Montevallo for his warm welcome to the community and his willingness to partner with us in this mission. We also had Dr. Hugh Richardson, Director of Missions for the the Shelby Baptist Association, as a guest with us tonight. The SBA is sponsoring our new church and is providing financial assistance. They have also provided Dr. Bob Brown (SBA’s Church Planting Strategist) to help us along the way. Dr. Brown has been an outstanding resource so far and I look forward to working with him in the future.
My pastor, Dr. Les Hughes, described Westwood’s commitment to plant New Testament churches and their role in sponsoring the new plant. April and I are very grateful for all the help that Westwood has given us as we seek to follow God in planting this church. Pastor Les introduced me and April and then I gave everyone an overview of my call to preach and our call to plant a church in the Montevallo area.
Now that we’ve informed the pastors in the community that we are planting a church, I feel that I can aggresively pursue a meeting location and begin to network in the community. Please pray that we can locate a suitable meeting space and that it will be financially feasible to use. You can see the handout I gave out at the meeting here.
We had our first core group meeting tonight and it is wonderful to finally be underway. We have six families (including our own) that have committed to start the church! God’s providence is always enough. We enjoyed a great time of food (I know we’ll be OK when each of the ladies brought food without prompting) and fellowship followed by a question and answer session. We had some great questions that were asked. I’m glad to talk about these issues now. Many new churches don’t accept a common vision before planting. This can only lead to trouble later as people become disallusioned because the church isn’t what they expected. I look forward to many more opportunities between now and December that will allow us to prayerfully consider the direction that God would take us. If you’d like to see the handout that I gave to the core group, you can see it here. I’ll be out of town from Sept. 1 – Sept 9, so we won’t meet again until Sunday, Sept. 10th at 6:00 pm in Room 212.
We had 14 people attend the church plant information meeting tonight. We met at Westwood in Room 213. I gave a presentation that told about the need for new churches and our vision for the church plant. It was great to talk with those in attendance and to hear their questions. I asked them to prayerfully consider their commitment to joining the church plant core group. Our next meeting will be next Sunday, Aug. 27th at 6:00 pm in Room 212. You can look over the presentation and handout that I gave to the group here.
Pastor Les preached a sermon today called "Curing the ‘Me’ Epidemic: Seeing the World through God’s Eyes – My Church". His last point was about being on mission for God. He reminded the congregation that we are planting a church and told them for the first time that we are planting in the Montevallo area. He invited those who were interested in more information to meet me down front after the service. I had the opportunity to briefly share our call to begin the new church with several people. We also invited anyone who is interested to attend a meeting tommorrow night (Mon. August 21st) for more information. We still have a lot of preparation to do before we go in January, but it is very exciting to be taking the next step! I’ve been praying Luke 10:2 that God would send laborers to work the fields. They truly are ripe for harvest!
Rick Hoyt was born with the umbilical cord coiled around his neck which cut off oxygen to his brain. His parents, Dick and Judy, were told that there was no hope for development for their newborn son.
Dick and Judy were determined to raise their child as normally as possible. As Rick grew older, Dick and Judy were convinced that he was just as intelligent as his two younger brothers. They taught Rick the alphabet and were determined to get him in public school.
A team of Tufts University engineers built Rick an interactive computer that allows him to communicate using the slight head movements he can manage. Rick was finally admitted into public school in 1975. Two years later, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a five mile benefit run for a paralyzed athelete. Dick was not a long distance runner, but agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair. The father and son team finished next to last, but Rick told his dad that while he was racing he just didn’t feel handicapped.
Dick realized the impact that competing could have on his son and “Team Hoyt” began to compete in more and more. They have competed in marathons and triathlons and a 3,700 mile bike trek across America. It’s amazing to think about the love that Dick has for his son. He says that he merely lends his arms and legs to Rick so that he can compete. Dick describes the strength he gains from Rick’s desire to compete with everyone else.
Although Dick and Rick don’t make a spiritual connection with their situation, it’s hard not to see the similarities between their relationship and the one we have with God. We have a heavenly father who loves us dearly. Jeremiah 29:11 says that He has a plan for us and wants us to suceed. He loved us enough that He sent Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. We are like Rick in that we are spiritually unable to accomplish anything on our own. But with our Father’s help, we can accomplish great things.
I hope this video will inspire you to be thankful for many things in your life. I hope you will be determined to love your children so dearly that you would run marathons for them if it would help them in life. I pray that you will experience the love of Christ that gives us hope and have the courage to go forward even when things seem hopeless. God bless!
We’re moving ahead with plans to plant the church in January. The next step will be for Pastor Les to preach on the need to build God’s kingdom through new churches in the morning worship services on August 20th. I hope to be able to share a small bit about what God is doing in my life and invite people to meet me down front after the service to talk. We’ll also ask people to commit to prayer, door to door surveying, calling, etc. if they don’t feel led to go start the church.
We’ll also ask those who are interested to attend a meeting the next night (Monday, August 21st at 6:30 pm, Room 213) to find out more about me and the new church. We’ll give people abouta week to pray about their decision and then get started with the new core group!
This is an exciting time that God is using to teach me about leaning on Him exclusively for all my needs. I realize now more than ever that I am inadequate to do this or anything without God’s help. I am learning that I can’t depend on others to tell me what to do, but I must fervently seek God’s will through prayer and study of the Bible. I can’t wait to see what happens next!