After the catalytic event of being called into ministry, we begin a continuous process of discernment and growth. We need ongoing teaching, encouragement, and empowerment from our community and from Jesus to continue the work God has given us to do.
My calling as a church planter was confirmed at Cause Con in 2016. The first night of the conference, seven people prayed and prophesied over my teaching gift. On the second day, three more people prayed and commissioned me as a pastor to go out into the world, proclaiming and demonstrating the power of the kingdom of God.
After this call to leadership, I was trained and equipped through the Residency+ program and completed an internship in a local Vineyard church.
In March 2017, my husband and I moved back to our hometown of Eau Claire, WI. We felt compelled by God to return there and begin planting what will one day become the Eau Claire Vineyard. We’re now spending time leading small groups and getting to know our neighbors and our community.
The beginning stages of planting this church feels like watching grass grow. I know that the work we’re doing now is crucial to have a healthy church community in the future, but the vision of what we know we want to have someday feels so far away.
Here’s what I’m learning at this stage in our church planting process:
It’s easy to get frustrated in this season because I can’t always see the fruit of our labor right away. We often ask ourselves, “Are we even church planting?” Even though we know we are. It’s difficult to start something from nothing. It’s a slow process, but it’s important for us to remember that the seeds are there. We’re going to keep watering and fertilizing, and someday we hope to see a luscious green yard where we see a patchy pile of dirt right now.
Meet Lots of People
It feels tough to make friends as an adult, but we’re starting with the people in front of us. My husband loves to cook and I love to eat, so we have people over for dinner. One of our most successful people gathering events was “Friendsgiving” where everyone brought a fall-time favorite dish to our house and we shared a Thanksgiving meal together. Everyone has to eat; so why not eat together?
I’ve found that once I get to know people a little bit I can begin to sense where they’re at in their spiritual journey. If I can see that someone is spiritually seeking, then I invite them to attend one of our small groups where we explore what God has to say about different areas of our lives.
Be Intentional with your Time
I work as a social worker, so I’m with people all day and at the end of the day I want nothing more than to be left alone. But there’s work to be done in the kingdom of God! I’ve had to be very intentional about how I spend my time.
I used to think I needed to spend seven nights per week meeting with people, discipling them, leading small groups, or planning for the next event. I’ve learned that it’s actually much more fruitful to spend three or four nights per week tending to my soul and spend the other three or four nights pouring energy into the church. I’m in this for the long haul so I’ve got all the time in the world.
Use your Vocation
I look forward to the day when pastoring this community can be given my undivided attention, but at the same time, being bi-vocational is really useful. It ensures that I’m not living in a little Christian bubble. Having my job allows me to stay attuned to the needs of my community and the attitudes of people who don’t yet know Jesus. It helps me to interact with people that I might never cross paths with if I didn’t have this job.
In this season of the process, I often picture myself planting an actual vineyard. I use that analogy to help me stay patient. A farmer doesn’t plant a seed and then have a grapevine the next day. It takes work and it takes time. I’m learning to trust Jesus in the process!
Are You Called To Be A Church Planter?
Reflect on these 10 questions to help discern your calling.
Skylar Turek and her husband, Aaron, moved to Eau Claire, WI in March 2017 after feeling compelled by God to return to their home town and begin planting what will one day become the Eau Claire Vineyard. After discerning their call to leadership, the couple was trained and equipped through the Duluth Vineyard’s Residency+ program and each completed an internship, which further refined their hearts for ministry. Skylar’s gift of compassion has led her to work bi-vocationally as a Child Protection Social Worker while also working to cultivate a healthy, Kingdom-focused community for those who are spiritually seeking in the Chippewa Valley. In her free time, she enjoys chatting over coffee with friends, tubing down the river, getting groovy on the dance floor, and hiking with her puppy, Winston.