Can You Believe It’s Been 10 Years?
You’ll have to excuse me for being a bit nostalgic this morning, but I’m still amazed by yesterday’s announcement that it’s been ten years since we launched the Olathe Campus and became a multisite church. Oh, sure, I knew the announcement was going to be made, and I worked together with our team to mark this milestone moment at each campus, but it was still remarkable to hear the words spoken.
Ten years? Has it already been ten years? (Cue the nostalgic feelings now.)
I spent time this morning reflecting on the last ten years, and the amazing ride we’ve been on as we’ve started new locations in four other areas of Kansas City. As I paused to remember, it made me thankful for this church God led Sharon and I to when we first arrived in KC in 1993. (More nostalgia. Is this the kind of thing you do when you’re about to turn 55?)
I am thankful for a church that is willing to take risks for the sake of the gospel.
One of the greatest temptations churches face as they age is to turn inward and forget the gospel calls us to “go” and reach others with the good news of the gospel. By God’s grace, and His frequent nudges into places of risk and discomfort, Christ Community has fought the gravitational pull to comfort and ease, and the entrepreneurial spirit of our founders is alive and well.
In early 2006, this entrepreneurial spirit was clear as a group of individuals met together for eight months to determine if a multisite strategy is one we would want to utilize as we sought to continue the work of multiplying churches. At the end of our time together, this group of thoughtful leaders (Brian Doerr, Nathan Miller, Heidi & Jeff Pankewich, Char Pardo, Kevin Rauckman, Kelly Steddom, Ralph Stewart, and Warren Traynor) summed up their beliefs in an email to the Elder Leadership Team, with these two closing sentences:
It is with full confidence that we recommend to you our belief that CCC should proceed with plans for beginning a multi-site campus. We believe that we are a healthy church that is learning more and more what it means to be apprentices of Christ, and that starting another site would impact more people in the KC metro area and the world to embrace what it means to journey with Christ.
Thank God for for a church family that is willing to take risks to reach others with the good news the advent season so clearly declares.
I am thankful for pioneers who have courageously stepped out with bold faith.
Each location of Christ Community began when a group of individuals (too many to list here or this could start to read like the first chapter of Numbers) believed that beginning a church would help them grow as followers of Christ, help them reach their neighbors with the good news of Christ, and help them care for the city they love. These faithful pioneers took bold steps of faith and said “yes, I’ll go” before anything existed.
Before there was a music style they liked.
Before there was anything for their children.
Before they knew who they would sit next to on Sunday morning.
Before they knew if it would even “work.”
I know Sharon and I join together with so many in Christ Community who are thankful for those who took these steps of faith before we ever arrived. Our family has been greatly shaped by your selfless, courageous, and generous steps of faith. I pray we continue to be a place filled with individuals who boldly “go” for the good of others.
I am thankful that there’s still work to do.
Although it’s easy to take it for granted and miss the joy of the work God has called us to, I hope that I never stop being amazed that we have a part to play as He builds His church. He wants to use me. He wants to use you.
Yesterday at the Olathe Campus, Pastor Nathan reflected on all God has done in the last ten years and said “just think what He may do in the next ten years?” I don’t think there’s any way we could have predicted the way He would use our efforts for His purposes, but we know He’s called us to the work of multiplying churches, multiplying disciples, and multiplying leaders.
While it is healthy to reflect on the past and give thanks, may we never become complacent. May we never turn inward. May we always be attentive to where God wants us to go tomorrow. May He find us faithful as we seek to faithfully and courageously follow Him as He builds His church.