Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FAQ's About Our New Church

Here is a little update about our new church in Toledo, OH...

When will your church start?
We are anticipating the Fall of 2014

What on earth takes a year to start?
The church planting process generally takes 12-18 months to fully prepare and plan.  Sometimes the organization you are working with does a lot of this work upfront and the planter comes in and runs with the plant.  For us, we are fully hands on deck, in the trenches, getting dirty with every detail. 

Are you all working with an organization?
We have skirted around this question in the past due to minor details and what not, but we feel safe now spilling the beans...we are working with an organization called Stadia {click the name to learn more!}.  We still have to sign one more document to make it official, but it's pretty much official. 

Why Stadia?
I {Kate} will do my best to answer from my point of view, Eric's answer may differ, but since he hasn't started his blog yet, I can answer on mine...
When you feel called to plant a church there are many, many different options you can use to get started.  None of them are wrong or bad, or awesome or right, with anything in life you need to find the right option, or organization that fits you best.  We talked to many different organizations, and we sought a lot of wise counsel from people we trust who have our best interests in mind, and we decided to pursue planting with Stadia.  One of the biggest reasons who chose Stadia is because of a network of churches in Ohio called Kingdom Synergy Partnership {KSP}, and they are associated with Stadia. 

Eric was able to attend a KSP meeting earlier this Spring and he really liked the network and we of course love that all these churches are from Ohio and want to start new churches in Ohio.  A lot of the churches that attend KSP are not church plants or formally involved with Stadia, they are just like minded churches with the Kingdom at the forefront of their mission and vision.

So we love Stadia for many other reasons, but we really fell in love with the KSP network, and we love that their motto is "Making it hard to go to Hell in Ohio."   

How much money does it take to start a new church?
A lot.  Seriously, it does.  That's one thing Eric and I both knew we were not called to do, just start something out of the goodness of our hearts.  We wanted to work with an organization for numerous reasons, one of them being financial.  Stadia/KSP will bring to the table a certain dollar amount and we come to the table with a matching number.  I am not going to lie, it's a big number.  All the money raised will come in over 3 years.  After 3 years we hope our church will be self sustainable.  So a lot of what Stadia/KSP raises comes from a network of churches in the area where the new church will be planted.  And then the money Eric and I raise will come from personal relationships with friends and churches.  If you have any money questions or feel led to support us {personally or if your church wants to}, talk to Eric, he is the financial guru.

Have you started raising money yet?
Funny you should ask that.  From the organization's side as of yesterday, they have raised all of their money!  This is HUGE and straight from God. 

Let me back track a little...When we first talked to Stadia/KSP they were wanting to start something new in Northwest Ohio, but they could never get the details worked out and truthfully, there was no money for any potential projects.  KSP has really done an awesome job getting things started in the Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati area, but nothing has ever developed in Northwest Ohio.  So it's an uncharted territory, a territory that they have been praying for for over 2 years.  Finally they just asked God to send them someone if it was to happen.  I kid you not, we called them soon after that and here we are.  God works in marvelous ways, and always aligns the right paths.  So we knew going into this new plant that we are sorta the NW Ohio guinea pigs, and we also knew there was no network and no money in this area.  We came anyways.  When you feel God calling you and the urgency for the area you just go.  Less than 14% of the people there are connected to a church.  There are over 650,000 people in the metro Toledo area, less than 14% are connected to a church!  Let that sink in...I am not a numbers expert, but those numbers are not good. 

So back to the money...3 weeks ago at a KSP meeting we were formally introduced as the new Toledo planters and they challenged churches at the meeting to step up and get involved.  Greg Nettle {President of Stadia and leader of KSP} just opened up the floor.  I saw him do this at Exponential this year and in 10 minutes they raised enough money to start 2 new churches in Latin America.  So I was at the edge of my seat when he got that look in his eye, and just said, c'mon guys, we have to get on board with this.  In less than 30 minutes we had more than 3/4 of what the network needed to get this plant going.  I was humbly blown away by the generosity shown that day.   
Yesterday we had an informational meeting for churches within a 2-3 hour radius of Toledo to come to and learn more about our plant.  We called any and everyone we knew, and then had those people call their friends.  We had a great turn out and we finished raising what the network needs to get going.  Which is awesome, but more importantly we planted a ton of seeds with the churches and organizations represented there.  We were able to open people's eyes to a whole new world, and a new way of helping out.  That truly was the big win. 

So now that the network has all of its commitments, it's our turn to raise support.  Again, we are looking for 3 year commitments, or one time gifts, or truthfully, anything you want to give :)

What do you do everyday since you haven't started your church?
Everyday looks a little different.  For the most part I am still mom, I homeschool Molly, run her around to games, practices, and lessons.  Eric on the other hand is hard at work making connections, trying to meet people, going to meetings, and doing whatever it takes.  He also is trying to find odd jobs to do during this transition.  Thankfully we are living rent free, but we still have insurance to pay for each month and other expenses.  So he tries to find enough work to cover those, mainly because we don't want to drain our savings.   

When do you plan on moving to Toledo?
Everyday that question gets answered a little differently.  We really want to concentrate on fundraising and then after that we will begin looking.  So my guess would be that we would start looking at houses in November, with hopes of moving into a house in December, early January.  But who knows, that may change tomorrow! 

Hopefully that brings some of you up to speed a bit.  Church planting right now is similar to parenting, you are always busy, but you are not really sure what makes you so busy! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Camping Out

I went on a camping trip last week, just me by myself.  I brought my tent and found my campsite, it was simply entitled "Negativity."  I drove my stakes for my tent down deep and decided I was staying for a while.  I had all I needed with me; depression, poor attitude, and a pessimistic outlook that could even sour the sourest of people.  Yep, I was camping alone, and I liked it. 

Then I received some text messages from a great friend who didn't know I was camping.  She was so nice, and truly caring about our life and what was going on.  One text said "But again...the stories you'll have to tell!  Write down all the little stuff God shows you and reveals to you.."

I replied back with sarcasm, like I normally do, and we chatted a little longer, and then I spent the night camping out again, but this time I couldn't sleep in my comfy tent, I couldn't get warm by the fire, I couldn't stop thinking about her text.  My normal reaction was don't worry, I will write down how much life sucks right now, how hard this church planting thing truly is, and how hard it is to homeschool a child who asks daily when she is going to attend a real school.  I will write those down and bury them in a time capsule to relish over in 20 years.

Can I be honest and digress for a minute.  In the last 90 days I have moved out of my house, lived with friends, left a 6 year ministry, moved back to my hometown and now find myself living with my in-laws.  And to top it off, I hate change.  I hit the Negative Nelly button long before I hit the Positive Polly button, if I ever hit that button.  So staying happy and rejoicing in the Lord is hard for me.

Why on earth would we do this?  Why on earth am I putting myself through this?  I keep coming back to obedience, friends.  We are obeying the calling God has placed on our lives.  I know we are, I know in my achy bones we are being obedient.  But obedience is hard, staying filled with joy despite the circumstances is hard, and living in my tent on my campsite would be really easy.

I went back and re-read the book I just finished reading "Being OK With Where You Are."  Let me tell you, I am not ok with where we are {not geographical, I LOVE my in-laws}, I hate waiting and learning new lessons.  But I do know if I write down what I am learning or what my frustrations are like my friend encouraged me to, then I will see how God was truly at work in my stubborn heart.

I have admitted to God I am not ok with where I am at in life, trust me, he has heard me loud and clear.  He knows my desires, he knows my heart, he knows I am chomping at the bit to move to Toledo and get this church off the ground.  He knows I am drying up without community and relationships, but he also knows what is best for me, and that promise, I just have to trust.  He has promised me good and not evil, he takes care of the birds, he will surely take care of me.

So as of yesterday I packed up my campsite, I left the land of negativity, and I am headed for greener pastures where I feel the Lord pruning me and pruning me some more.  I am trying my darnedest to be joy filled, and to praise the Lord no matter what, but I am human and I fail, a lot.  But if I just listen, God has provided me with cheerleaders who motivate and encourage me more than they will ever know {thanks Laura!}.   So while I may not be ok with where we are, God surely is. 

Today I am linking up with Stacey...go check out all the other links too!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Ohio Living {a ton of tiny updates}

We have been in Ohio almost 2 weeks, and a lot has happened.  The first day we were here, which was mainly a travel day, we arrived in Ohio and 10 minutes later I was leaving to take Molly to her first soccer practice.  And I feel like life has not really slowed down since then.  I am still processing our last day in WI, and trying to find words for how it made us feel, and how it blessed us so much.  Once I get those words, I can't wait to share them with you.

Molly has been busy with soccer practice 2 times/week, soccer games starting this weekend {games on Saturday and Sunday}, homeschool art lessons which she loves, and she started tennis lessons last night.  Today will also mark one week of homeschooling for us!  Homeschooling is something I never really thought we would ever do, but in this time of transition it's what we feel is best for Molly and our family.  I truly have enjoyed teaching Molly and watching her learn.  It's quite an amazing process.  I also love not having the stress in the mornings of getting up and rushing around to get to school on time.  I still have fears that I am screwing her up, or she isn't learning everything she needs to, but then I see her excel daily and I am pretty confident that God has gifted us with a pretty smart kid.

Lucy will start preschool next week, and her teacher is pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  Okay, okay, her teacher is me.  We are doing a curriculum I bought this Spring, it's called GLE {God's Little Explorer's}.  Lucy will be learning a Bible story, letter, number, and self help skill each week.  It's formatted for 3-4 year olds, but can be adapted to younger or older kids.  I am not too stressed about Lucy learning it all since I can totally do the curriculum with her for the next 2 years.

Church planting wise it's going great.  Eric has had many meetings in the last 2 weeks with people in the area, and yesterday we attended our network meeting where they raised a substantial amount of money for our plant.  It was fun and exciting, and really great to see other people want to be a part of this new thing happening.  One guy yesterday gave $3000 out of his own pocket because he has family in Toledo that are not saved, he was a huge blessing to us, and our new church. 

Eric and I are working on a separate blog for our new church.  Once we get it up and running I will let y'all know and also that is where we will be putting updates and prayer requests from now on.  In the meantime though I do have a prayer request for our new church.  On September 23 we are having an informational lunch in Toledo.  We have invited a ton of people who may be interested in financially partnering with us, and anyone who may be interested in what we are doing.  We have so far received mainly positive feedback from those invited, but this meeting is going to be really important for our new church.  Eric will be casting vision for our new plant and for the other plants we hope to see happen in Toledo.  We don't want to see one new church in Toledo, we want to see a movement of new churches in Toledo.  But it all starts with one, so this meeting is really important for people to catch and latch on to the vision. 

So far Ohio living has been fun, busy, and great for our little family.  We recently bought a bike trailer at a garage sale, so we have been having fun going on family bike rides.  We mainly ride to the ice-cream place down the road :)  But I feel like it's justified since we do have to ride back home!

Have a great weekend friends!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm Not Ok, You Are Not Ok, and That's Ok!

I think we all can agree there are times in our lives that we are just plain not ok.  Whether your circumstances are by choice or consequence, sometimes life is hard and it just stinks.  There are other times that your situation is hard and exhausting, but you know it's for the best.  Like leaving a ministry to plant a brand new church, sound familiar.   

My beautiful friend, Stacey, has just written a wonderful book called "Being Ok With Where You Are."  Seriously, run, don't walk to get this book.  Every chapter is full of knowledge, experience, and action steps to being ok with where life has you right now.

Stacey covers it all from admitting that you are not okay, the dirty "C" word {comparison}, all the way to what God has promised you.  I am telling you run, don't walk.

While reading this book I felt a collective sigh among all the other pre-launch readers, like yep, I am not ok, but it's going to be ok.  The reason it's going to be ok is because God has made it all ok.  What an amazing truth to hold onto.

No matter where you find yourself today this book will encourage you.  And if you find that you are not ok with where God has you, you will not only be encouraged, you will find a sense of relief that you are truly going to be ok.