In just over 3 weeks, Seven Mile Road Church, a church “IN and FOR the Kennebunks”, will officially launch Sunday worship gatherings (some of my fellow New Englander’s might do better with the word “service” instead “gathering”. That’s for another post.) at 10a at 71 Portland Rd. in Kennebunk, ME. As the lead pastor and planter, this is incredibly exciting! At the same time, incredibly terrifying!
In just the past year, since my wife Danielle and I stepped into the call to plant a church among the people of the Kennebunks and joined a small group of people who had been meeting for a few years with the same desire, and were looking for a lead planter and pastor to lead them, we have seen some incredible evidences of God’s grace throughout the year, leading up to now. Here’s a few:
- Joining the family of churches that is Seven Mile Road (www.sevenmileroad.org). A huge grace for us to be apart of something that is beyond just our little deal here in Kennebunk.
- Having a space generously provided to us, for no cost whatsoever. We’ve been graced to have a gentleman partner with us who wants to see a gospel-centered church planted among the people of the Kennebunks, and has given us free reign of a beautiful (and I mean beautiful) space in a strategic location on Rte. 1 in Kennebunk. What a gift, here.
- Seeing 2 groups (one in Kennebunkport, another in Wells – we call them Gospel Communities) meet regularly to build some relationship, dig into doing life together, begin to cast vision and talk about what it looks like to be a community on mission to our friends and neighbors in the Kennebunks, and actually see people intentionally living into this by engaging friends and neighbors and doing good in ordinary, practical ways. This has been incredible.
- Receiving some incredible people and families out of nowhere to join us relationally and missionally. This has been incredibly encouraging. A year ago, 12 people dug their heels in to seeing Seven Mile Road come to life, and Jesus has been faithful in building his church, like he said he would. We are rolling with close to 35 people at this point as we prepare to start worshipping regularly on the 10th.
- A church in New Jersey donate $15k of sound equipment (www.liquidchurch.com). Super generous.
The list could really go on and on for a bit.
But what does it mean that we’re “launching” on September 10th? Does this mean that we’re officially a church now that we’re starting a weekly Sunday gathering (service)? And does starting a Sunday gathering (service) mean that you’re going to have a whole bunch of stuff being pumped out and offered? Kids ministry? Valet parking? Welcome Teams? What kind of coffee and goodies are you serving? Do you have a slamming (aka “awesome”) audio/visual set up? Will Bryan preach with powerpoint slides and killer (again, aka “awesome”) video illustrations?
Man, that’s exhausting to even think about. And write. And to be honest, much of that stuff that the American church has pitched as a must when “doing” church is wicked unimportant. It’s nice, if you can pull it off. And it can be helpful, sometimes.
But for Seven Mile Road Kennebunk? September 10th is simply a next step in our growth and formation process. Our launch is a launch of a weekly worship gathering (service) where we will come together to engage liturgy, sing the gospel, receive the preached Word, come to Jesus’ table and partake of communion, give our time and treasure to enhance Jesus’ mission in the Kennebunks, and be sent back out into the everyday stuff of life as everyday servant missionaries.
Will we have kids ministry stuff? Sometimes. We’re working on it. Will there be a formal welcome team deal? There will be people absolutely greeting people and being wicked helpful and hospitable. Coffee? At some point. How about that slamming audio/visual ministry? We’ll have quality and helpful sound that will enhance gospel ministry. And that will grow and develop, over time. Sermon slides and video illustrations? No. Maybe down the road.
Our launch is a next step. A next step of meeting weekly, as the bigger church family. And with time, prayer, wisdom and good strategy, we’ll see some other aspects of what we do on Sunday come to life and function regularly and well. We’ll get there.
September 10th is going to be a blast (aka “a great celebration”). God is really doing some amazing things in bringing this church to life, in an area that could really use it. And I’m jazzed to be apart of a group of people, who are all working hard across the board of life, chipping in to serve and help make this thing go. And not because we want to provide a really great consumer product for people to consume.
Jesus, in grace, came because he loved us and gave himself for us (Gal 2:20). And this group that God is forming is ready to give themselves up for the sake of the Kennebunks meeting and following the real Jesus. We want to contribute to the common good of this community that we’ve been called to love, bless and serve. We want to see Jesus made much of, in every sphere of life. And September 10th is going to be a great next platform for that to happen.