I believe my call to Church planting is about building up a house where followers of Christ can be encouraged and sent out for kingdom ministry. I envision creating a space where the Lord’s people can see a different expression of worship every day, a place rooted in its surrounding city. This house looks urban, multicultural, and interdenominational.
I’m sure you could imagine the “kid in a candy shop” feeling I had thinking about attending the Multiply Vineyard Summit, a gathering for potential and current planters and sending pastors to expand their imagination for church multiplication.
My lead pastor, Josh, got our tickets and sent a text to the group attending from our church, saying, “there’s a pre-conference session we’ll go to and there are 5 options. What do you all prefer?” We chose from:
- Women’s Leadership in Church Planting
- Multi-Ethnic Church Planting
- Worship Essentials for Church Planting
- Empowering Leaders through Coaching
- Small Town Church Planting
I was curious as I felt the nudgings of the Spirit pointing me to the Small Town Church Planting session. It was fairly clear to me that I had not been called to small town church planting any time in the near future. It had been a clear “no” for me. Yet, sometimes the Lord’s “no” can tell us even more about his “yes”.
In this workshop, consistency and presence were major highlights. When the high school sports team has a home game or when a new business comes to town, the church is there to encourage and cheer. When there is a loss in the community the church is there to mourn and support. Over time, small town churches become the people that the town turns to. From those in need of something to eat to those in need of town planning advice, small town Vineyard churches are truly being the church.
While God’s “no” for me was unyielding, so is his love and faithfulness.
While God’s “no” for me was unyielding, so is his love and faithfulness. I felt a new appreciation for small town planting. I saw the same amount of Christ-filled love and zeal is needed to engage the hometown sports fan base as the Maple Street prostitution population. The same level of groundedness is needed to build leaders out of Yale academics as technical school graduates. The same level of compassion is needed to care for and minister to those under the powers of addiction no matter where they lay their head.
Aside from making parallels between my “no” and my “yes”, it brought me clarity and simplicity. Church planting often feels like a daunting task with many options and doors. Thinking about our “nos” in God’s will can remind us that God is the ruler over those he’s prepared to walk in them. It reminds me that we are not responsible for anything but the vision God is inviting us to participate in.
The room behind every closed door for us is in such gracious, loving, powerful, just, generous hands. That can leave us with some peace, not just for every step we take, but for every one we’re inadvertently abandoning.
While we continue to pray for guidance and discernment, let’s be thanking God for being faithful over every straight and narrow path!
Multiply Vineyard Summit
Joel Frazier (27) has attended Elm City Vineyard Church in New Haven, Connecticut for the past two anda half years where he is a prayer minister. He is currently basking in the joys of being newly married to his college sweetheart, Laura, while discerning and walking in his callings. Joel has an educational background in human development and family studies, career experience in state politics, and a passion for prophetic ministry.