A couple of months ago Suz and I announced that we felt called to stay in Clark and continue our ministry here with North Routt Community Church. We wanted to give you an update on the church and how things are progressing here in the mountains. So let me walk through a few notable updates and share some events, pictures and happenings of our life and our wonderful rural mountain church.
Over the last 6 months or so we have seen significant numerical growth both with the addition of multiple young families and the congregation's continual invitation of their friends and neighbors. Both are very exciting to see as God brings a bustling summer gathering into our small meeting place. Just two weeks ago we had to put out almost 50% more chairs than what we had anticipated (from 50 to nearly 75 people). While God has blessed us with a season of numerical growth, our main focus moving forward is the development of the church as a sustainable entity. Lord willing, if we continue to have more folks come in we want to make sure we have leadership in place and processes for growth/discipleship established so our community can flourish in their walk with Jesus rather than just grow numerically.
We have noticed that our decision to stay has given us a different platform. Previously we were unsure whether we would stay or go after our initial two year church planting residency and that uncertainty made it difficult to ask for commitment from others when we were unsure ourselves. Making a commitment for ourselves allows us to ask commitment from others and move toward some important goals together as a team (we reestablished our core team a few months ago)
Here are some of the church’s primary goals that we believe are realistic within a three year time frame…
- Solidify our identity, vision, mission, values and rhythms- Currently we are walking through these important "who," "why" and "how" questions so that we function out of an understanding of who God has called us to be as a church.
- Develop a governing board (at this point we function primarily through the consensus of a core team) - within the next several months we will officially identify and put in place a governing board of elders. We will function as a plurality of leaders so I have accountability and support.
- Financial stability – while we have taken steps toward greater financial stability we still have a ways to go for the church to be self-sustainable. We have laid out a projected budget that will allow us to cover our ministry costs, give generously and support a full-time pastor.
- Reproducible discipleship process – We want to take the great commission seriously and develop a discipleship process that models Jesus’ way in our context. We have the process defined and now we want to strategically implement it as an intentional part of our church culture. I think it was Dallas Willard who said the two most important questions a church can ask are:
1. “Do we have a process for making disciples of Jesus Christ?”
2. “Is it working?”
We have two new small groups that have started in the last few months in addition to our young-adults small group. We now have men's and women’s groups that meet every week in the Charter School (where we have our Sunday service). The men’s group, which has been meeting for over two months, has had a very great showing each week and what is especially exciting is we have a few men that have no connection with a local church attending and participating regularly. We talk about Jesus a lot but they still keep coming back! That has been very encouraging as we attempt to foster new spaces where people can be introduced to Jesus. The woman’s group started up this month and I am excited about how God can use that environment to work in the lives of the women who show up.
The Art of Neighboring
Sermon Series- We started a new sermon series two weeks ago on the “art of neighboring.” It is based on a book by the same name. I was able to meet one of the authors during a Frontline Church Planting Network training trip to Boulder, CO. During our conversation I learned that he spends some time in Clark in the summer! Recently I reached out to him about doing a series on his book. The general premise of the book is based on this question: “What if we took the second half of Jesus’ greatest commandment (love your neighbor as yourself) both literally and seriously?” The goal of the series is to encourage our community to invest in our small town starting with our literal neighbors. We want to learn their names, things about their lives and create space to be available and invest in relationships with the people that God has placed us around. We believe that relationship is the best conduit for the Gospel and discipleship. One of the ways we have implemented this idea is through monthly community cookouts at a local state park and it has been awesome to see folks from our church reaching out to their neighbors and inviting them to come and share life with them and our church community. It has been a very encouraging part of this summer.
Ministerial Alliance – That is what we call our local pastors collective (it sounds pretty cool, like we wear black robes and meet in the dimly lit basement of an old church). I am collaborating with other local pastors to launch this series as a united group of churches, with the hopes of greatly affecting our culture (both Christian and non). There has been an encouraging amount of excitement and buy-in from the majority of local pastors. One of the authors will come and speak to the pastors in a few months and help us move toward a practical and unified movement of neighboring well as local churches. I am extremely excited about this and would love your prayers as we try and walk this out in faithfulness.
Hotel Bloom (make your reservations today!)
This summer we have had a crazy amount of friends and family come through our doors. It has been wonderful to reconnect with family and friends and share our unique life up here in the mountains. So, if you want to book a stay at Hotel Bloom™ don’t hesitate because we are filling up fast.
|Front and side porch|
Our amenities include two cats, one is incredibly awkward and the other is "slightly" overweight, but in an kinda adorable way – a dog who doesn't understand “personal space," 11 chickens (there used to be 12, may she R.I.P) with fresh multicolored eggs each morning, a river right off the back porch and a spacious loft area with a moderately comfortable bed adorned with Swedish inspired bedding (yep, IKEA).We aren’t on YELP yet but we are hoping to get some glowing reviews after our busy summer season!
Suzanna’s New Venture
Suzanna has officially started her own videography business! She started with some real estate photography and has quickly moved into shooting and producing multiple short promotional videos. She is learning and growing quickly as she learns her craft, expands her portfolio and builds relationships with clients. I am so proud of her hard work and obvious talent. She hopes to expand into wedding videography soon and also has the future goal of telling the stories of people and organizations that are making God and His Kingdom known and felt in tangible ways – giving them a voice and platform to proclaim the goodness and glory of God.
Making it work!
Many of you are still continuing to support us as we move into this next stage of ministry. We want to first say thank you for your generosity! Your donations and partnership have made it possible for us to continue to work full-time in our pursuit of God’s Kingdom work in an area that desperately needs it. We have taken the leap of faith to stay in Clark as we feel this is where God has us for now. We feel clarity in our calling yet our financial provisions are quite unclear at the moment. We are exploring multiple options of how to support ourselves so we can continue full-time. This could happen through partnerships with another church or denomination, a quicker than expected increase in NRCC giving or the continual generous support of many of you and potentially others. While our clear goal is to be supported by NRCC in the near future we are not at that point yet. We are working hard to define our financial standing/need, so we wanted to communicate to our supporters that we are in process and will soon explain our financial situation as it becomes more clear in this coming month and will update you. Please feel free to communicate with us and ask any questions. Once again my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
With that said we again thank you for your prayer, your relationships and all of your support (financial and otherwise). It really means the world to us!
Dave & Suz