Sunday was the official launch of New Vintage Church here in San Diego. It was a major event in my life, and I pray that it becomes a major event from a Kingdom perspective as well.
It’s hard to sum up the emotions that have filled my heart over the past few months, and that came to the surface Sunday as our gathering felt called to transform from a possibility to a full blown endeavor. This process has been overwhelming to say the least. Visions of ancient explorers in search of a the new world came to mind, men who set out on faith despite not knowing exactly what was in store on the other side of the horizon. LIke those explorers of the past, I have never been filled with so much excitement and uncertainty in my life. To say that the journey to this point has tested and subsequently grown my faith would be a gross understatement. So many aspects of God’s grace that not too long ago seemed like unobtainable concepts have quickly become solid ground beneath my feet. Seeing how much the Lord has blessed our endeavor to this point allows excitement to trump fear as we set sail. I am under no pretense that there is smooth sailing before us, but I trust that when my time at New Vintage is done I will have taken place in a great adventure that has blessed His kingdom.
Here are several thoughts that crossed my mind at various parts of the day:
I have never taken part on an endeavor of this magnitude. Likewise, I have never felt so encompassed by God’s grace.
There were no gimmicks for our launch service. We put our best foot forward every week when it comes of our offering of worship. I have never seen a crew of people so dedicated to striving for their best in every area of worship imaginable. From Pete, our worship leader who dedicates so much time every week to the songs we sing, to the type of coffee served in the courtyard, if there is a detail we have examined, then we have given that detail our best. Any part of our worship that is going to be given over to God is going to be given our best.
I spent 4 hours getting prep work done for worship service, spent 90 minutes in community worship, and another 90 breaking down and taking one of my students home. That doesn’t include the time I spent last week getting bulletins ready, designing graphics, sending out Facebook invites, getting sketches together for the painting I did, or working with our volunteers. All of that to say, putting together a worship service is hard work, and is totally worth it. I’ve learned that all of the heavy lifting simply prepares you to raise your hands higher during worship.
I was tired Sunday night. A good tired.
I have never heard people sing so loud.
There are no apologies for Sunday. I have never been a fan of having to apologize for church. “You should come visit our church, it’s great except for ______________ ” is a phrase I would prefer never to hear again.
One of the great benefits of starting from scratch is watching early adopters take flight. The first few families that set sail with us have quickly become seasoned veterans. I could not be more proud of the volunteer ministry leaders we have at NVC.
During one of the songs, one of the jr high boys said he felt like doing a fist pump in the air. He did.
During another song, two of the high-school girls looked like they could barely contain their excitement. Fortunately they didn’t, and were having a blast singing praises to God.
After doing a live painting during the sermon, I was asked where I learned to become an artist. I told the young man that my first memories of drawing were at church. I remember very clearly as a child taking the guest cards from the back of the pews and filling them up with doodles of tanks and planes. I’m sure my parents weren’t too thrilled, but they never said anything. Regardless, I learned to draw at church and could not be more excited about being able to turn that around and offer it up as worship.
I don’t talk about money a lot, especially here on my blog, but sacrificing a majority of my paycheck so that the church may set sail has been one of the most rewarding sacrifices I have ever not been completely excited to make.
Lastly, my favorite quote of the day came from a dear friend and mentor of mine. He said, “It’s easy to pour your heart and soul into something you can pour your heart and soul into.”
There are many different aspects to church planting. If you feel called to be a planter, then I pray you Godspeed on your journey. If you would like to be a part of a church plant then I pray you find the venture that God is calling you towards. If you would like to support a church plant, I pray that God blesses you for your kindness and generosity.
In the mean time, please continue to hold up the NVC ship in prayer as we sail on.
One love, One heart.