"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain." -Psalm 127:1
As the task list threatened to overwhelm in the days leading up to our first monthly pop-up church service, we kept reminding ourselves that we're just walking into this one...it's a test run...we don't have to have it all together. And we didn't have it all together. And it was beautiful. The truth is that we'll never need to have it all together. If we're relying on God to build and lead His church, job one is to stay connected to Jesus...to stay connected to the Vine. Sure we'll need to work on the trellis from time to time (the trellis being any structure that facilitates the true purpose of the church: vine growth). But without the Vine the trellis is pointless.
So we had our chance to put a bit of our trellis to the test: A/V setup, kids check-in, the band, an app-based bulletin, etc. And of course we have some adjustments to make before our next service. But the big win was how we connected to the Vine...together. Seeing all of our people in the same room (about 70 in total) connecting with one another, praying and worshipping together, learning together, and just being together was beautiful. God has given us a special group of people. And because of our highly visible location, we had three people walk in and join us on the morning :-). We haven't promoted the church to the wider community yet and we're already growing. God is building His house.
Retreat at Whakata
One of our supporting churches has gone above and beyond for us as is apparently the norm for them. Dr. Ashley Goad of Shreveport, LA arranged for a team of seven to fly to New Zealand just to be with us, to take care of us and our kids, and to give us rest. They rented a retreat house called Whakata Country Retreat - only a 15 minute drive from our home. "Whakata" in Te Reo Māori means "rest." We were joined by church planters from around the area as well as a team from Australia. We ate together, encouraged one another, worshipped God together, and rested. We're so grateful for this team and can't wait to do it again next year.
May 26th: Pop-Up Church 2
June 23rd: Pop-Up Church 3
July 28th: Church Launch, Weekly Services begin
Church Northwest: Helping each other take the next step towards Jesus—a community defined by a growing faith, an authentic love for all people, and an active hope for Northwest Auckland and beyond.
Church Plant Funding Update
This amount covers start-up purchases as well as operating costs for the first five years, on a diminishing basis. This does not include our salary or personal ministry expenses.
We're still laughing. Planting a church is hard. Planting a church while raising kids is harder. But it's all happening and we're still laughing. That is significant. And it's no mystery as to why. It's only because God provides. He provides for our family financially through many of you who are reading these words. He provides for our family by surrounding us with the right people to encourage and challenge us. He provides for our family by sending passionate and skilled servants to us who are taking a massive load off of us from an administrative perspective. So we can still laugh. We still take time to take care of ourselves and our kids. And most importantly, we're still being held by a Father who loves and cares for us more than any of us know. Thank God.
PRAISE: CNW is Growing
Over our three gatherings to date, our core group has grown from 30 people to around 60 now! We're very blessed to have such great people to help us bring the hope of Jesus to Northwest Auckland. We'll be promoting our church to the wider community in July. We can't wait to see who God bring through our doors.
One of our core values that we can't afford to lose sight of is our commitment to unity among the church leadership and among all church members. This is what Jesus prayed for for all of us in John 17: that we would be one with each other just like he is one with the Father. We want our love for each other to be so real that people will see it and then believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Church Plant Progress
Pray that God will stir the hearts of the individuals he's chosen to be involved in Church Northwest. Pray that we follow God's leading and that He will provide the workers, opportunities, and strategies we need for reaping the spiritual harvest in Northwest Auckland.
Elaine Hutchison (Nate's mum)
Please pray for Elaine as she was diagnosed stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma two years ago. Praise God that she's still in full remission. However, this type of cancer usually returns quickly, so please pray for continued success with her clinical trial.
Please pray for our financial partnerships to remain strong, that God will provide for what we need, and that we will be good stewards of what He provides. If you'd like to help, you can donate here.
Pray for good health and positive friendships.