Church Planting: One Year Later
Pastor Benjamin Rochester
Deciduous trees have new growth every spring. The sun comes out and little green leaves blossom from that same old ruddy stalk. That is how we feel. The work of church planting is ancient, yet new and vibrant. The Lord used the metaphor of the vine and branches (John 15:1-5). The Apostle Paul used the olive tree as his metaphor (Rom 11:20ff). Both describe the trunk as the ancient source of life for the tender new growth. Like that rugged old tree-trunk, the Lord Jesus continues to give vital life to the branches and delicate new leaves.
This summarizes how I feel about church planting. We are doing new things, but only because of the old rugged cross. Every step of church planting has been new. We make new plans. New leaders stand up to take on new work. New ministries form. New members come in. Yet, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
It has only been one year, but all things are new. We have a new name, Pilgrim Presbyterian Church. We have many new faces. Right now we are working through the process of writing bylaws, forming the non-profit organization status, and setting up a budget for next year. We are forming our own child education program. These are all new because we did not need any of them things until now.
Over the past few months since we began morning services, we have quickly outgrown our facility. Some Sundays are standing room only. Granted, that is only about 70 people when that happens, but it is a big deal for us, who started with only a few families. We are looking into larger facilities where we can continue to grow.
There was a baby boom at Pilgrim Presbyterian this year. We were not immune. Rosie gave birth to our second child, a baby girl, Lily Ambrose Rochester, on August 4th 2012 at 2:14pm. She seems to have an appropriate combination of our respective facial features, and displaces an appropriate amount of mass.
I enjoy my calling as church planter/pastor. It is sort of like being a farmer because you have to wait for the fruit to bear. It is like being a coach because you have to lead and teach on-the-go. It is most like being a father, though. Of course, the Apostle Paul taught the prerequisite of pastoral ministry being a father who rules his household well. It is a combination of longing and desire for your kids to succeed, learn, and mature. I love this flock as if they were my very flesh and blood.
Our plan for the future includes preaching, praying, testifying to the Gospel, enjoying the fellowship of the saints, and learning and loving the Triune God more each week. We are convinced, as Jeremiah said; the “old paths” are the right ones.
Please pray for our work. We have visitors and new faces regularly. Pray for boldness as we share the gospel with them. Pray for the provision for the needs of the ministry. Pray for our leaders and the session as we continue to move forward. Pray that the “Lord of the Harvest” will allow us to enter into his labor. Pray that the vine, our Lord Jesus, will bear fruit among us by his word and Spirit.