Life as a Church Plant by Holly Patrick

Life as a Church Plant
by Holly Patrick

Over the past 6 months I’ve had many people ask me two questions: “What is a church plant?” And then shortly following my explanation, “What is that like?” Although I could say many things about my experiences, most of my thoughts would fall into the following two categories.

First, in the church plant I have enjoyed deep fellowship with other believers like never before. The summer before we officially launched as a church plant, our tiny group gathered weekly to study scripture, think deeply about how it shapes our worship, and to build relationships. This was a rich time where we began to practice “one anothering” as demonstrated throughout the New Testament (I Cor. 1:10;Col. 3:16; I Thess. 5:11; Heb. 10:25).

Like many people, I suspect, I both desire and fear fellowship. It’s scary to be known at a deep level. To allow others to see the ugly side of you, broken pieces and all. And yet this is precisely what Jesus calls us to. Without this deep fellowship, we cannot fulfill the commands we find in scripture. In Ephesians we read: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2) and “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). How can I be humble if I never share my struggles with sin? How can I forgive if I never allow myself to be close enough to risk being hurt? God has chipped away at my pride and made me more like Christ through my time here.

Second, as a new church plant, spreading the Gospel is our clear mission. Pastor Tim is good to encourage us with this: we must be continually looking for, working for, and praying for opportunities to spread the Gospel. In the past I have been guilty of being a passive church attender. I come, I listen, I go home. Being part of a church plant reminds me that everything we do is to spread the Gospel--that is a call to our church as a whole, but also to me as an individual. There are no passive observers.

When I meet with my fellow believers, I seek to encourage their faith and be encouraged to share the Gospel. When I go home, I seek to purposefully build relationships with my co-workers, my neighbors, and talk with people in the line at the grocery all with the end goal of sharing the Gospel. Too many churches have become comfortable and have allowed their purpose to fade. I pray that our mission remains white-hot as we seek to spread the kingdom in Winchester, VA.

God has blessed and challenged me in the last 6 months. Even if you’re not part of a church plant, I pray that you will experience the joy of deep fellowship and be reminded of our clear mission to spread the Gospel--wherever you are.