The announcement came this morning at the end of services. Some were surprised and others who know us well were not surprised at all. It’s all good.
Why are we leaving?
Robin and I are stepping out of comfort to start a new church. We’re getting out of the boat. It’s scary and exhilarating at the same time. Faith is like that. We believe that the mission of Jesus is clear, missional churches do all they can to reach people for Jesus. They sacrifice, take risks and send people out all to impact others with the gospel. Missional churches equip people to invest in the Great Commission. We are missional and our hearts ache to see more and more people learn of Jesus. It’s time to use my gifts in leadership and preaching. It’s like I am bursting with a call to be able to speak and preach and it is time to move to be faithful to that call and use my gifts.
Why plant a church when so many churches aren’t full?
Statistically we now know that new churches attract new and different people. They see more conversion growth and more baptisms. George Hunter of Asbury Theological Seminary says, “New congregations reach a lot more pre-Christian people.” (Go and Plant Churches of All Peoples – Christianity Today) Second, in Greater Portland there are more than 1/4 million people who are not connected to any Christian community. The field is white for harvest but laborers are few. We could use dozens of new churches. It’s not a competition. We’re all on the same team.
Is First Baptist Church going to take an active role and be the “momma?”
No. FBC is blessing us in our call and releasing us with love but FBC is not going to be a planting church. The church is graciously paying us until March 31 and the deacons are encouraging me to take these next five months to focus on all that I need to do for planting. Then the faith journey starts full force but we’re confident the Lord will provide. I will be hoping to make a living through my photography, web design and doing some odd jobs as I find them.
Isn’t this sudden?
Announcements always seem sudden but I began the process in 2006 with studying for my Masters and telling the deacons Robin and I sensed the Lord stirring us for something new. A few updates through the process and then some delays in announcing and other “business” of ministry brought it to the point this fall when I felt it was time to move. I couldn’t put it off any longer because my desire to preach and reach was going to explode. I got my opportunity to present my proposal to the deacons and answer questions at the start of October. It is a rapid change but I’m happy to get started!
What are the next steps? How can you pray?
- Info meeting – during the first week of December Robin and I will have an information meeting for others who share our excitement for starting something new and different to reach people for Jesus. This is not a meeting for unhappy people or people who want another church just for them. It’s for people who are pumped about God’s call to make a difference. We’re not talking about a salad bar for Christians to find what they like. We’re talking about a new menu focusing on people who don’t even know they are hungry. (email me if you would like more details)
- Plant team – we will then assemble a plant team to start meeting in our home once a week to worship, pray and study the Word to understand the call and then start planning for a September launch. Pray that God will build a team of people whose hearts are burdened for the lost and are excited about being involved starting a new work. (email me if you are interested in being on the team)
- Sell our house. Robin and I know we have to downsize. We won’t be able to afford this house anymore. We’ll be looking to sell and find a place in Gorham. We are praying for an affordable place where we can have room to open our home to others.
- Pray that the Lord provides the needs of the ministry. We’ll need to see Him provide funds for things like a sound system,projector, children supplies, rent, getting the word out.
- Pray for my “tent making” ventures that they will support us so that we can minister. I will be booking wedding photography soon and also am skilled in web design.)
I will be finished and moved out of FBC November 1. We’ll attend a luncheon to say good-bye after church November 7. (I HOPE YOU CAN COME!) FBC’s awesome youth leader team will be taking over all the youth activities and planning. God has blessed FBC with great folks.
We are so excited to put our faith into action. We have been blessed these past eleven years at First Baptist Church. What a great family. I will always remember the generosity and expressions of faith of so many. We are praying for FBC and believe the Lord will continue to bless through all the changes it is going through. God is sovereign!
Email me at AxisChurchME@gmail.com
Mark 16:15 Then he said, “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. MSG
Leaving is bittersweet.
Scott and Robin