Since our announcement last week that we believe the Lord is calling us to plant a church in Parker, many have asked what led to that decision and what it might look like. Here are some answers to those great questions:
How we got here:
- We’ve considered planting a church here all along, because church planting is in our DNA. We’ve talked about it everyday between ourselves, our mentors, and close friends.
- We’ve wrestled in prayer, asking the Lord if we might go back overseas for the bulk of this past year. When my dad had an accident about six weeks ago and his health declined to a new level of need, we concluded that those circumstances make it clear that we cannot leave for at least a few years to come.
- Those who know us know our hearts to walk with others in gospel-centered living and to lead others to that end, as God would allow, through preaching, discipleship, and life-on-life ministry.
- We’ve had a house church in our house for about six months. We’ve been meeting on Friday nights for dinner and worship. This group of families is made up of new and old friends who desire to see Christ proclaimed in our community. The growing house church, combined with our conclusion that we need to remain here, as well as our gifts and desires, have naturally led to a more formal church plant.
- An additional contributing factor has been our observation of a gospel vacuum in this community. While there are certainly some high-profile and highly attractional and programmatic churches nearby, there definitely appears to be room for simple, organic, missional living amongst the people here.
- Also, nearby Denver is the nation’s fourth most atheist city. The most recent census says that 68% of Parkerites are declared “nones,” meaning they’ve decided they have no religious beliefs. Our heart’s desire is that God would awaken our neighbors one by one through relationships in our humble church plant—that Parkerites would not be so easily satisfied with their lives, but that they would seek and surrender to Him, forging a new life in Christ.
What we envision:
- We’re taking things one day at a time. We don’t have a glossy timeline or projected plans. But we do have a core group of people who are committed to prayer, making the gospel central, and loving their neighbors.
- Our vision is to plant a church that is very low on programming and very high on intentional, gospel-centered living. We plan to meet corporately on Sunday mornings for worship and then in one another’s homes during the week for small groups and discipleship. We don’t envision a youth group, Sunday school, men’s group, women’s bible study, etc. At least right now, we see a need for simple living amongst one another, rather than attractional programming.
- This type of simple church model is important right now for two reasons: 1) it allows us to remain bi-vocational and continue as Pioneers International missionaries, aiding in church planting overseas and 2) it seems like it may be a better way to reach those around us—we live in a post-Christian environment in which many people have no interest in attending a church program, but would be drawn to gathering in their neighbor’s home.
- Our desire is that the church would have planting in its DNA. A plurality of leadership will lend itself well to reproducing gospel communities all around us, and also make the church all about Jesus and not all about a few key people.
- We’re meeting publicly at a local theater tomorrow (9:45am, Parker PACE Center) for our first outside-of-our-house worship service to kick-off Advent. We think we’ll meet there again in January and then more frequently through the spring as we evolve into what the Lord wills. In between those times we’ll still have house church on Friday nights and anyone and everyone is welcome.
- We don’t have formal elders yet, but that’s coming together, as Mark and two other men are playing a central role in leading the plant. The other house church families are playing a key role in prayer and decision making too.
- We’re committing ourselves to never saying never. We simply cannot predict what God is doing in and through this. Maybe He will grow us. Maybe we will return to a house church model.
- We envision a family-integrated church and we don’t plan on having separate programming for kids during worship. However, we will create space for the very young to be loved and played with outside of the worship service.
- We don’t have a name or a 501c3 setup yet, but we’re working on it. In particular, we hope to find a name that evokes movement—a name and a body that brings the Gospel as we go out amongst our neighbors, our town, our nation, our globe—not as we stay.
- If you’d like to know more about our central doctrine and beliefs visit www.markoshman.com.