Telling New Stories Together
April 23, 2018
Story-telling has always been an important value in the life of Jamestown Harbor Church and that has been so true throughout our journey into the Uncharted over the last few months. Take a look at the video below… one of the things that stands out to me the most in this recap of our journey together is how many different voices have spoken into our lives together.
I was talking with someone at church yesterday who told me that when they heard another family in one of the uncharted videos share some of their journey it finally clicked for him and gave him the inspiration to take a step in his discipleship journey. That has nothing to do with fancy video production and it has everything to do with what the writer of Proverbs calls “iron sharpening iron.”
When God speaks, He often sounds a lot like the people in your life that you know, people in your church family that you are on a journey with. That’s the story of uncharted for me, the story of a community seeking God’s heart together and a willingness to engage our stories together in vulnerable ways, even submitting ourselves to others and letting them push and challenge us into new places of faith.
This is why our goal of 100% of our faith community taking a step in their trust and generosity together has been so powerful for us. If you haven’t yet joined us in that step, we’d love to go with you!
The Stories We’ll Tell In Two Years
Yesterday we revealed that, as a result of pursuing that goal, we have, together as a faith community, committed beyond our goal of $1.6 million for a total of $1.88 million in commitments and expected giving over the next two years to Help People Find Their Way Back To God. I’m humbled and amazed by what God is inviting us to use for His mission and I know that the way forward in that mission is by going together.
Last night many of us gathered to share our uncharted stories over dinner and someone made a great observation by noting, “the stories we’re telling now are only the start of the stories that we’ll tell in two years!” As we began planning for that future I noted a couple of initial steps we’re taking in our three main uncharted initiatives:
Investing in the Next Generation.
Kids are important in our community. That was something we knew from the start and something we continue to value in our church. We want to do more than what we are doing to invest in the next generation in our community and some of our UNCHARTED steps will help us to start investing in new and creative ways.
Some of our next steps include planning for hiring additional staffing in children’s and youth ministry, particularly a full-time student ministries director, while we also dream about building new ministry to equip parents in our community and start leadership development in our children’s ministry.
Growing our Missional Impact.
Church planting is part of the DNA of our church – we would not be here if families did not feel the call to reach new neighbors in new neighborhoods. Part of our uncharted commitment is to expand our ministry impact BEYOND Jamestown into other communities. Our dream is that we’d tell stories in other communities like the ones we’re telling here.
Our next step in church planting is to find someone who feels called to lead our next church plant. We know this could end up looking a lot of different ways, but we want to start with the leader God is calling us to support, engage and equip to share the good news. In the meantime, we’ll be setting up our staffing so we can create more capacity in our leadership for more churches and to prepare ourselves for whoever God brings to us to start something new.
Purchasing Property for Future Ministry
Part of our uncharted commitment is to move from a portable church to a permanent church – and we know our first step is to purchase some property. As we talk about property for future ministry, we’ve begun having conversation with the township and with school administrators about how we can use this next step of ours to meet the needs of our community. we’re envisioning less of a “church location” and more of a “Jamestown commons” that becomes the center of community life here in Jamestown and beyond.
We’ve been taking steps to identify property and Jamestown and are exploring a location with the township as we consider a proposal for purchase perhaps sometime this summer.
Taking the Next Steps Together…
As we step together into the next chapter, I’d love to invite you to join me in three things:
Be Good Inviters
You are part of something that God is doing, and one of the main roles we play in our mission is to invite others into what God is doing. That means we invite others to hear the good news on a Sunday morning. We invite others to connect to the fabric of our church in missional communities or other groups. We invite people to consider taking a step in their spiritual journey. We invite people to join a team with us. Commit yourself to being good inviters.
Be Good Communicators
Sharing stories together in this journey has been so important for the growth of all of us. Commit to continuing to share how God is moving in your life throughout this journey. Ask questions of our leaders. Engage the process and speak up!
Be Good Prayers
We can’t walk into uncharted territory on our own. We need to be reliant on God. Develop a habit of praying for our church, for our leaders, and for the mission that God has us on. Pray for people regularly to find their way back to God.
Thanks for being part of this journey with us. I can’t wait for our next chapter together!