|Melissa and Family|
(On Monday, I talked about my Etsy store and my vision for art that invests in eternity. Each month I'll partner with a church plant and a portion of all shop sales will got to that church. I'll also share an interview with someone from the church.)
Living Faith Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA., is my new friend, a fellow Missional Women Contributor and Missional Women Conference Speaker, Melissa Deming's church. Here's an interview with Melissa about the church of the month for April:
Tell us about you, your ministry, and your writing.
I’m a journalist by trade and fell into blogging to keep loved ones updated about our twin boys (now age 5). In 2011, I launched Hive Resources – a site to sweeten women's walk with Christ through ministry and missions resources, Bible studies, and more. My writing flows naturally out of what I’m reading, what I’m learning as I disciple women around me, and the service of my family in our church plant.
What’s your church planting story?
When my family moved from Texas to Pennsylvania a few years ago, my husband and I both said we wanted to find the biggest church in our area and hide in the back pew. God has the best sense of humor, because he sent us to the smallest church where there were only a few rows of chairs. There was no place to hide! When we joined Living Faith Community Church of Pittsburgh, the church hadn’t even officially launched. But we were impressed with the spiritual authenticity of the few families that comprised its core membership and their desire to reach their city for Christ. We eagerly stepped in and got to work, helping on the worship team, in design and web development, and children’s and women’s ministry. Once we started seeing people come to Christ, we were hooked on church planting!
|Baptism in the hotel pool|
Tell us about Living Faith Community Church.
Living Faith Community Church is church plant in Pittsburgh, PA. We seek to be part of God’s transformational work in the Pittsburgh area and to all nations for this generation and future generations. Our Mission is to make authentic disciples and plant Gospel-centered churches by helping others experience living faith.
As a two-year-old church plant, we have much to celebrate. Although we are still small, we are growing! We met in an office building for a year, then moved to a hotel for year two. Next month we’re moving to a private school, which will give us the room we desperately need to grow.
Currently, we average 50 adults in worship and our kids classes are busting at the seams. The course of entire families have been changed for future generations because a mother or a father surrendered to Christ at Living Faith. My favorite story is of a recently married couple who came to faith in Christ and was baptized together in the hotel pool (we don’t have a baptistery). Our pastor baptized the husband and then a few seconds later, the husband baptized his own wife!
|Outreach and picnic in the park|
Why another new church?
Pittsburgh is an amazing, but hard city. There is much “religion” but very little living faith. When someone attends our worship services, we do not expect them to be familiar with basic Bible stories or even the gospel message of grace.
Pittsburgh’s not alone. In the major city centers of the Northeast (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, DC, Philadelphia, Boston) an estimated 82% of the population is considered “lost.” (Joy's Note: statistically planting new churches is the most effective way to see people come to know Christ.)
We need more churches in our city and region that are passionate about engaging the lost and active discipleship, because the gospel transforms lives. I’ve seen it happen before my eyes!
|Pastor Ken and Paula Cordray|
In church planting, finances are usually a concern and often a struggle. What does it mean to a church plant for people to come around them and support them with something as simple as an Etsy store purchase?
Like most church plants, we started out with very little. There are no big budgets and no back-up plans, just a call from God to obey. But despite the financial limitations, it is incredibly exhilarating to see God provide for the mission he’s called us to. It not only makes ministry and missions feasible for us, it also encourages our hearts and renews our commitment to impacting our communities because we know that God is behind every little detail of our church plant.
So, when someone makes a purchase that aids our church plant, we receive more than monetary gain. It’s like a huge spiritual karate chop! Plus, they get to play a role in reaching the nations for Christ…while shopping!
If you plan to support the mission of Living Faith please let me know in the comments below.