Sunday was awesome! We had 76 people at the morning service and 20 at the discussion dinner. I am so excited about what God is doing.
Recently there have been answered prayers, new connections, and moments of great encouragement.
Don’t think I am the eternal optimist though. New churches are full of highs and lows, but God is always faithful. Sunday, September 9th was our lowest attendance since we started. I was discouraged to say the least, and I began to fear that we might not able to sustain this church much longer due to finances. I asked friends from our parent church, my family, and fellow church planting women to pray for Redemption Church.
Our bank account didn’t have enough in it to cover rent at the end of August, but it was the last month of our lease, and we had paid first and last month at signing. (We have renewed the lease without an increase in the rental cost.) We had a small cushion in our account thanks to not having to pay for August, and one member made an extra donation from unexpected income. I was hopeful that things would turn around. However, the week we had 34 in attendance, we also only brought in $370. We need an average of $2,000 a week. I was further discouraged after investing $500 of my own money on social media marketing for the new series that was starting this Sunday because the forecast called for severe flooding. The schools were talking about canceling everything for Thursday, Friday, and the weekend.
Frankly, I was mad at God. Why did he call us here to fail? We had done all we could, and he had the power to make it work, but he was sending a hurricane instead. I knew I was being a toddler, but I couldn’t shake it. So… I called my mom. LOL My parents tried to encourage me, but I was being a “realist.” They called me later to remind me of Jesus healing the paralytic because of the faith of his friends. My response, “Okay, you guys go ahead and have faith enough for me.”
Now for the good stuff:
1. The storm never hit our city. There were 76 people in church on Sunday morning and 20 came to our Sunday night discussion group. Three of the four families I invited to come (and I was honest with them that I was discouraged and having my friends there would help lift my spirit) joined us for service. One of them told me she needed to be there more than I needed her to be there.
Three of the other guests were my foster son’s friends because the house rule is that if you sleep over on Saturday night you come to church with us Sunday morning. God is doing a work in their lives. One of them made a decision to serve Christ at youth group a few weeks ago.
I was so thankful to God for Sunday. It was the encouragement I needed in order to know that God has not decided to let us fail.
2. This morning I entered the church office to record the giving and make the deposit. As soon as I looked at the offering count from our ushers, I wept. I was so overcome with gratitude (and relief). The total was about $4,390, which combines with last Sunday to bring us up to a little more than we need to average to meet our monthly expenses. God was putting the icing on the cake for me. He was letting me know that he will take care of every detail.
I wanted to share this with you all as we work through the Skeptical Series. I want you to know that we all have doubts and fears, but God doesn’t stop being God just because we have questions or allow fear to enter our hearts. He is faithful, and he has a plan.
Thank you for walking this journey with us. We pray for you, and we thank God for you. I know that he is actively working things together for your good, even when we can’t see it. We know that in all the ups and downs, God will be faithful to build his church.
Pastor Jon and I love you and appreciate you. We are so blessed to do this with you. Take courage, praise God, and bring a friend who might be struggling to see God’s presence or questioning him.
All my love in Christ,
This is part of my new church planting book. I am posting as I go, so please feel free to follow along. Click the section titles below to read along:
The Disillusioned Planter:
A Guide on What to Do When The Church Doesn’t Take Off After You Launch