Posts tagged ‘Christainty’

February 10, 2014

Thrill of a Lifetime

Roller Coaster

I remember the first time I went on a roller coaster.  It was at a theme park in Western Sydney back in the late 1980’s.  It was fast, scary and thrilling and when it came to an end I just wanted to do it again.  The one thing that sticks in my mind the most is that first hill. You slowly clack up the steep climb and seem to hang for an eternity at the top until whoosh you’re accelerating down the drop.  Your stomach is still somewhere at the top of the coaster. The rest of the ride is good too no other part of the ride can compare with that first hill.

This time next week Catherine and I are launching a new church.  We feel like we are on the crest of that first hill.  We are about to go over.  Between the two of us we have contrasting emotions.  I have my hands in the air and a big grin on my face.  Catherine is not grinning and her hands are gripping the bar very tightly.  But regardless of how we feel about February 16 there’s no stopping this ride.

What is certain is that there are many twists and turns to come, we can’t see them now but it will be an exhilarating ride.  We can’t wait.

As far as we can tell we are well placed to spend our first year growing and developing as a healthy church.  We have prepared the path to  launch by holding three monthly services, which have let some people come across us and work out that they want to be involved.  I don’t think that this would have happened if we had gone straight into weekly services.

So we can count on a core of people who will attend on the 16th and likely be there the week after as well.  We can even put a number of them on various rosters and rely on them to do various roles around the place.  This makes things a whole lot easier, especially granted that we have arrived in this town not knowing anyone, and with no “core team” working under us.

Most of all we have the deepest of convictions that we were put on the planet to do this work.  The sense of God’s calling is so strong that we would walk over broken glass to make it work.  There is no turning back for us.

In ancient times and in the Middle Ages if an invading army arrived by sea the generals would sometimes make a statement to their soldiers to burn the boats after they had landed.  It made the point in a dramatic way that there was no going back.  That they’d better win their battles, because retreat was not an option.  I can’t think of anything I could do to symbolically burn the boats, but mentally I feel that we have done that.  In my mind NorthernLightsChurch and the ministries that will flow from it will be our life’s work.  There is no going back.  If it’s tough then we press on and persevere.  It was tough for the apostles, for Paul and for many of the early Christians.  They persevered, and they prevailed.

We won’t face the obstacles that our spiritual ancestors faced in the first century but we carry the same message, and we will persevere in spreading it, just like they did.

So in just 7 days we launch.  By God’s grace we will hold thousands of services over the years that come, but only ever one launch.  If you are in Halifax don’t miss it!

John and Catherine xoxo

November 19, 2013

Kick off for Northern Lights Church!

Blog logo bit bigger

We have started!!  What a thrill it was to hold the first ever church service for Northern Lights Church on Sunday morning just gone.

We had 23 people present, and there was a great atmosphere.

What was the most encouraging to me was when we had a time in the middle of the service for people to say hi to one another, so they did.  That doesn’t sound too remarkable, but seeing it happen it occurred to me that all these people had a connection to us, but they really didn’t know each other.  But as they spent those few minutes saying hello I realised, “this is the start of a new community.”  That’s central to our whole vision, even to our church name.  The bible says, “If we are in the light, as he is in the light, then we share in life together.”  Those few moments were the very start of that happening.  Still more encouraging was that half an hour after the service had ended almost no one had left.  People were still talking and enjoying each other’s company.  And enjoying their cup of tea, of course.

The people who came had a mixed background, some Catholic, some with no real church history to speak of.  But what was very encouraging was that I think only 4 of them apart from our selves were in church last week.  So that’s plenty of people who were not connected with any local church that are open to making Northern Lights Church their home.  Not all will, but some will, so that is great.

In the Purpose Driven Church Rick Warren makes the point that the modern trend of starting a church plant with a team of 30 odd means that the leader can get too busy looking after the needs of those 30 people, so they focus less on the community they are trying to reach out to.  Rick started with himself and his wife, so there was no other option.

Having now had our first service I can see what he is saying.  We do have a team to some extent in that we have borrowed 4 people from other churches – a keyboardist / worship leader and his friend, and a young couple who helped with numerous smaller jobs.  They were all fabulous.  We had so many people attend who had made a connection with us at some point over the last 3 months that we have been living here in Halifax.  In fact there was no one present who had not!

For the next service we will definitely do a better job of letting the community at large know about our meeting, and we will start to get more people attending who don’t have that connection with us.  When that is combined with those who do have that connection then we will be well placed.

I cannot express strongly enough that Catherine and I are so committed to this church.  We are in this for the long haul and by God’s grace we will build a church that will stand the test of time.  The Halifax Minster, the oldest church in town has been holding services on the same location for over 900 years.  My dream is that in a further 900 years the Minster will be celebrating its 1,800 year anniversary while Northern Lights Church celebrates 900 years of its own.  I love one of the prophetic words that we have been given which was that what we will build will be “like an oak tree, and an oak tree is something that stands for generations.”  I believe that, and I look forward to our second monthly service which will be on December 15.  I can’t believe that I have to wait 27 days to go again – I wish it was tomorrow!

John

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