Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why I Am a Church Planter

 An interview with Amy of Dandelion Seeds

(This is the first in a series of interviews with church planter's wives. If you're interested in sharing your church planting story for the encouragement of others please leave a comment below.)

You moved to Detroit Lakes, Minn., to plant a church. What were the special circumstances surrounding the move?

After attending the Church Planters Assessment Center, my husband Mike served as the church planter in residence at The Journey North in Brainerd, Minn. We had no idea where we were going to plant a church, but pastor Mark Bjorlo had a list of 10 prime locations in the upper region of Minnesota.

Just picking a place seemed to take God out of the equation. So we waited, despite the questions about “Where?” and the anticipation and our impatience. We heard nothing. God was silent, but we completely trusted in his timing.

We asked 10 people to fast and pray over the 10 cities for 10 days. That eliminated some of the cities, but we were left with a few. So we loaded up our tribe into the van and over the next few weeks we visited the places left.

Eventually Mike felt God leading us to Detroit Lakes. I, however, was not convinced. I had sent out more than 20 requests for housing, and either received a “no” or was ignored.

I remember very simply stating that God couldn’t possibly want us to go to Detroit Lakes because he hadn’t provided a house. I then read my email, and there it was: one “yes” to a 950-square-foot cabin on the lake that we could lease for 9 months. It was the final confirmation.

You were pregnant and moved into a 950-square-foot house with seven children still at home. Are you crazy?

Yes, but I’m in good company. Hebrews 11 is full of men and women who were “crazy.” Who did something different and took a risk.

Faith is an action word, and when we put our faith to the test we see how ready we are to trust in God to do what he asks.

How did you know God was calling you to plant a church?

When we went to the Assessment Center, we were at a crossroads. We would either pursue planting as suggested by pastor Jeff Gauss -- whom we were serving under at the time in Cushing, Minn. -- or we would start a new career in a different direction. We went and literally put our future in the hands (and prayers) of the assessors.

When we were asked, “Why do you want to plant a church?” Mike looked at the assessor and answered, “I don’t.”

Everyone was completely dumbfounded. It was true though. Mike wasn’t there because he wanted to be. He was there because that’s the door God had opened.

I explained that my husband was exactly the kind of man they should have plant a church. He does what God asks, not what he wants. I told the assessors that if planting a church is as hard as everyone says, then a man who will press on and do what God is asking would be better than one who only does what feels good or is easy.

What is your role in the church plant?

I’m right next to Mike in this thing. We are a team and best friends. What one lacks, the other makes up. As my dear friend Kelly Dykstra said, I could be considered the “mom of the house,” meaning I oversee it all and make sure it runs well.

Some of my duties have included recruiting and scheduling volunteers, marketing, overseeing the kids programming, preaching a few messages (one with Mike on relationships), creating video bumpers for the talks and graphics for the message series.

eXperience church recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. What are you looking for in the future?

When we launched, we had 139 people -- our launch team consisted of only nine families or singles. We moved to a bigger space for our first Easter service, and 250 people attended. On September 11 we baptized 19 people. We went to two services on September 18, averaging more than 225. More than 100 people gave their lives to Christ within the past year!

We have incredible numbers for being only a year into this, but because of the people we are reaching, they simply don’t understand tithing or giving yet. We are praying for more outside supporters to help carry eXperience church through the next year so we can focus on our mission to eXpose people to Jesus where they’re at and eXcite them to move one step closer to him.

Read the rest of Amy's interview here.

This interview originally appeared in the Winter 2012 Edition of Converge Point Magazine.

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