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“Church planting is HARD.”
Throughout the last 6 months, we’ve lost track of how many times we’ve heard that warning. And to be honest, that’s exactly why Ike and I swore up and down we would never plant a church. It seemed too hard and too big. We aren’t cut out for it, we told ourselves.
But it turns out God doesn’t care about those things. You don’t have to read very far in the Bible to know that’s true. Over and over, God responds to people’s “I am not able” with, “Yes, I know.”
“But I am.”
Ike and I are two of those wobbly kneed people. We know our human limitations, and we saw them as a boundary of possibility in our lives, but God systematically tore that boundary down. For months He pursued us with confirmations: visions, feedback from wise counsel, affirmation from both friends and total strangers, closed doors, and then open doors. Like Gideon, we asked for a sign of confirmation, and then another, and then another. And God graciously met us in our fears. But after awhile we owned up to the fact that our hesitation was straying into disobedience, and we couldn’t justify it anymore. We decided to take the leap.
And here’s the thing. We thought that jump of trust would feel like falling. But in all honesty, it felt like flying instead. There is freedom and joy in walking the path God has marked out for you. We have experienced this so deeply and richly, and it was the last extravagant confirmation we needed.
Since then, we have been catching up with God, and asking Him just what it is He wants us to do. We’ve spent a lot of time praying and researching and talking, and there was one burden which rose to the surface again and again.
One of the things that makes RDU unique is that it doesn’t look quite like the rest of North Carolina. Not demographically, and not spiritually. RDU exists in a Bible Belt state, but it doesn’t look quite like the Bible Belt. There is more religious diversity, and less cultural Christianity. Over the years, we have encountered people who are either disconnected from the church, or who were raised in the church but feel disconnected from Bible Belt Christianity. These are the two groups we feel especially drawn to.
We are convinced that, in order to connect with these disconnected groups, we’ve got to offer more depth. That might sound like a random characteristic to hone in on, but one thing we have observed again and again is that people are craving it. They don’t want simplistic answers to a complex world. They aren’t satisfied with spiritual clichés. And they aren’t compelled by any sort of petty tribalism.
Instead, we see a desire for clear-eyed honesty, unwavering integrity, a message that is truthful, and hope that can stand up against the darkness in our world. The good news of Jesus is all of these things and more, but it’s our responsibility to preach it faithfully and rigorously, no matter where a person is in their faith. We want people to encounter Christ, and His Word, in all its fullness, because we know it will transform their lives.
We are looking for a team of people who feel the same burden as we do. If any of this resonates with you, we hope you will consider joining Bright City Church. In the coming months, we will have interest meetings to talk more about the church, but we would also love to grab coffee and chat longer. If you are interested, click “Join” on the Bright City website, or e-mail Ike at email@example.com.
If you are unable to join our community, we would still welcome any support you can offer. Our greatest need is prayer, and we cannot emphasize that enough. Bright City will be founded on prayer, and it will crumble without it, so please consider committing to this important work by subscribing to our prayer list on the site.
And finally, please consider partnering with us financially. Already, many of you have stunned us with your generosity and enthusiasm to support us in this way. THANK YOU! We need financial resources to launch this church into the world, and we would be so grateful for your help.
We can’t tell you what a joy it is to FINALLY share the adventure God has taken us on. It has been such a wild ride, and it’s already taught us so much, but most of all, it has reminded us of God’s overwhelming goodness. He has been SO GOOD to us throughout this journey, and we will never be the same again. We can’t wait to share more of that story in the future, but in the mean time, thank you for celebrating with us as we embark on this next adventure. Here we go!
–Ike & Sharon