Guest blogger- Edwin Vargas
What I Learned in a Church Plant
I am pastoring a recent church plant in un-churched Portland, Oregon. Here are three things I learned in my first year there.
1. We Bring Assumptions, DNA and Personal Definitions.
“Pastor, I had never experienced our mission till I saw my co-worker responding to a baptism call.” It had been 7 months since this 27 year old, 2nd generation PK Adventist, had been a part of the church plant’s core and she was finally understanding the mission. I’m learning that pastors & members bring to church plants 3 things; Assumptions, DNA and Personal Definitions. As a pastor I can assume that members understand what it means to be a church plant in terms of mission, methods, and job descriptions. Being aware of our assumptions can help us understand each other better and facilitate mission. Each one of us brings to the church plant a portion of our previous church DNA. Some of that DNA may be wonderful to perpetuate while some can be harmful to keep around. It is important to identify what to keep and what to get rid of right now. Success, sacrifice, and excellence can be described in a very personal, different ways. I’m learning that the more specific we are about our definitions the more accurate we can become in setting goals.
2. Collaboration Leads to Multiplication.
Instead of looking at the church we rent from as landlords we view them not as rivals but as partners in ministry. The Discovery Church and their Pastor Dan Snavely have being instrumental in helping our church plant grow. They believe that by helping our church plant they’re investing in God’s Kingdom. In the last few months we’ve had 10 baptisms most of them young adults committing their lives to Christ. Our collaboration has led to multiplication from averaging 30 in attendance to almost 100 in the last few weeks.
3. Excellence as a core value, for most.
As I visited this 25 year old guy I noticed his tattoos. They contrasted with the smile on his face as he told me, “I have been overwhelmed with the desire to raise my voice and praise Jesus. I’m counting the days for next Sabbath”. But I’ve heard another story from a few Adventist brothers. “The service is a show.” Two people can participate of the same service and experience different things. It almost seems that if there is too much excellence in music, lights, & graphics then it’s a show. I wonder how that idea reconciles with the excellence in the OT Sanctuary and the Temple. If everything exalts Christ and presents the Gospel, it should be excellent. Even if some
Please pray for us as we go forward. To connect with us, please check out our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/remixadventistchurch?fref=ts