On June 27, 2010 I gave a report to my church in Cape Coral, on the progress and exciting events ahead for Providence Church. As you read, please keep us in prayer:
Providence Church Report to Grace Baptist: June 27, 2010
Over the past year as I have tried to report on the progress of our church planting efforts, whether it be through random conversations, prayer updates on my blog, or reporting on Sunday nights each month at Grace, I have tried to request prayer in three crucial areas.
I have asked for prayer that the core members starting Providence would be marked by gospel growth, and that we would see God shape others by the gospel. We have prayed that God would do this by growing our Sunday night groups, and helping start others.
God has done just that. We believe we have two healthy groups meeting, with members of those groups growing in the gospel. Almost weekly we hear of testimonies of the grace of God in the gospel working in people who attend our groups.
We have prayed for God to give us boldness and a burden to tell those we live around about the gospel. As a testimony of how God has done this, one of our teenagers approaches me every week to ask me if I have told someone about the gospel this each week. He then proceeds to tell me his efforts and desires for God to help him do the same.
We have prayed for God to save people with the gospel of Jesus Christ as He empowers us to share it. Just this week a man whom God has brought to us troubled with unemployment and a lifelong alcohol problem told us he now “has the Lord.” God has given us a desire to walk alongside others and to serve them with the gospel.
I have also asked for prayer that the core members of Providence would be marked by fervent prayer; that we would not attempt anything as a church without depending on Christ in prayer. TwoFour, our bi-monthly prayer service, has been a significant time for us to gather together before God and pray. We are praying for members, for strangers, for leaders, for churches, and for the future of Providence.
Finally, I have been asking for prayer in the area of leadership, because I am aware that leadership is a crucial necessity in the church, especially new churches. We are very blessed with many mature Christian men and women who are committed to Providence. They are leaders in their homes and have experienced serving in other churches in the past.
Additionally, we have 3 couples who have been able to go to a church planting conference with Mary and me and the men have taken the responsibility of leading our community groups. I meet with these group leaders (Jamie Bowlin, Frank Sirianni, and Kelly Hill) regularly and they have been very helpful in future plans for Providence.
God has heard our prayers.
In closing, I want to share a couple new developments and prayer requests that the elders at Grace and I am excited about. I think you will be excited to know and anxious to pray as well.
As you may know, I have prayed for sometime about a pastor or two to be sent by God to join us in planting Providence. Ever since Mary and I first began church planting in 2003, we have been convinced that the best and most biblical model of church planting is planting with a team of pastors, at least two. There is little support for a single pastor church in the New Testament.
However, even though that was not exactly the scenario when God led Mary and I to join the faith family here at Grace, we knew it was God’s providence we come anyways. I have often prayed, but never felt urged to seek too hard after this. On May 13th, I made plans to meet with a fellow pastor named Jared Longshore mainly because his theology and passion was similar to ours here at Grace. I never expected how that meeting would end, and where it would lead to next.
You see, Jared leads worship at his church. His church is a sending-church for church planting, and Jared has a desire to help plant a church that is confessional, missional, and Baptist. We could use a pastor who leads worship and I have prayed, if it be God’s will, that God send us another pastor. Jared is willing to come. He is willing to raise his salary. His church is willing to send him and support him financially.
Our elders have met him and are very encouraged at the prospect of having him join our church planting effort. We want you to pray with us for God’s help and wisdom as we pursue this further with Jared. It may be that the Lord will lead us to call Jared to serve as a pastor to oversee worship at Providence Church.
Additionally, the community groups leaders met June 12th after fasting and praying an entire Saturday at the East Lee County Library and mapped out a potential plan to launch our regular Sunday morning worship services beginning October 3rd. With this idea, we sketched out a potential three-year budget and fund raising goal, and a plan for preview services leading up to October 3rd.
Here is our plan. On July 18th at 6pm we will have a preview service most likely at Varsity Lakes Middle School in Lehigh. We are asking that all of the community groups at Grace and Providence be suspended that night so that our entire faith family could gather in Lehigh for this historic gathering. Then, on August 15th at 6pm, we will have a second preview service at Lehigh Senior High School. It will also be an opportunity to invite supporters from other local churches to come show support for the official start of Providence Church.
A final preview service will be held as a morning service on September 12th. This will be Providence’s first Sunday gathering in the morning and without the presence of Grace Baptist Church. However, during these preview services, we will be prayerfully requesting some GBC members to serve as short-term missionaries to Providence Church helping in the launching PC, and to serve on Sunday mornings for 6 months to a year.
We would hope to have a commissioning service here at Grace on Sunday, Sept. 26, where we formally send out all those who will begin to meet as Providence Church the next week.
This is what all of our prayers and preparation has been leading up to. We believe God has prepared us for the launch of Grace Baptist’s first daughter church. Please, pray with us this evening, and commit to pray for Providence regularly that God would guard and guide our steps. Pray that He will continue to lead us to those who will receive the Gospel and lead many to come and join us in starting this new church.
Thank you for your prayers.
For Christ and His Church,
Shawn & Mary