One year ago today, June 16, 2013, a group of several families met in a home in Farragut for the first meeting of our Church Planting Core Group. Sent by Grace Community Church in Maryville, the core group consisted of ten families who were eager to see biblical ministry, built upon the exposition of God’s word, taking place in a new spot some distance from our current church.
Quite a bit has happened in the last year! Here are some of the highlights:
We spent our core group meetings studying the doctrine of the church (“ecclesiology”) as a biblical foundation upon which to base local church practice. Along with this we enjoyed wonderful themed meals, singing together, and time in prayer for one another and for our upcoming church efforts.
The core group adopted the name “Crossway Bible Church” through the most convoluted balloting system ever invented (Confession: I invented it. I won’t be allowed to do it again). We are officially recognized by the government and everything, and even have a real website (When do we get to shed the “church plant” label and just be a “church”? My vote is for “immediately”).
We saw the Lord answer our prayers for a Sunday meeting spot (Pellissippi State Community College), which has been as perfect of a location as we could have asked for. After meeting for eight months as a core group on Sunday evenings in a house, we had our first Sunday worship service on February 2, 2014. After a couple of “practice church” weeks, we opened to the public on February 23. In the middle of a brutally cold and very snowy winter – by Tennessee standards, at least – we were able to open on schedule without any weather issues, a wonderful answer to prayer.
Every family from this original core group has remained and has become actively engaged in serving, many wearing multiple ministry hats, as well as many serving in ways they had never served at all before. Since we opened to the public, a number of families and individuals have been visiting, including many who have become regulars. Many of these are also becoming a part of the various areas of ministry of the church.
We have seen many elements of church body life taking place, including men’s and ladies’ Bible studies, Wednesday night small groups, Sunday night classes, and a budding Sunday night men’s prayer ministry. And, of course, not neglecting our GCC spiritual heritage, we have all-but-taken-over the local McDonald’s after our Sunday evening activities! These more formal things are in addition to the growing fellowship that takes place throughout the week as people serve one another and encourage one another according to their needs.
We have had a joyful time learning from the Scriptures together, including studies in the books of Philippians, Colossians, Jonah, 2 Peter, Leviticus, Matthew, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, as well the subjects of the Scriptures, God, and evangelism. God’s word continues to prove itself to be a bottomless gold mine, and an all-sufficient resource for the life and ministry of the church.
We are eager to see what the Lord will do in the next year and for many, many years to come, if he wills. For now, though, we can’t help but be immensely thankful for what he has done so far! Soli Deo Gloria.