“Would you do it that way again?” a church planter recently asked me in a meeting. “Mostly, yes,” I replied.
The purpose of the meeting was to talk about some of the scaffolding we’ve created for our parishioners in the first few years of planting a church in and for Englewood. These conversations are always a little strange for me because I’m by no means an expert on church planting. I’ve read a lot, listened a lot, and have something to show for the work we’ve been doing over the past few years; but frankly, I’m far from knowing all the answers about planting a church. All I have is our story. It is yet to be determined if our story is replicable or transferable to another community in Denver or elsewhere. Our story is our story and a beautiful one at that. No, I wouldn’t really change anything about it if I went back to do it all over again.
One of the tenants of our church from the beginning has been this UP-IN-OUT-GRACE paradigm. We believe that a well-rounded, active, healthy follower of the way of Jesus moves UP toward God, IN toward themselves and each other, and OUT towards their community. All of this swims around in this ocean of grace that God has lavished on us. When we put this paradigm into a triangle-shaped diagram with a trajectory at each point, I usually say, “Grace is the triangle itself.”
We spent our first year establishing rhythms and values that help us move UP toward God in both corporate and personal environments. We spent our second year establishing rhythms and values that help us more IN towards each other and ourselves. This year, our third, we’re developing rhythms and values that help us move OUT toward Englewood and the other places we live and work. The church planter I was meeting with asked me if I’d do it that way again and, on the whole, I would. I think this is the way of Jesus for our church and it’s been beautiful to watch it unfold well beyond the wall of our little building.
Throughout the brief history of our church, we have spent the month of October remembering who we are and who we are becoming. We take a look at each of these rhythms and values and pick up practices or perspectives that help them take deeper root in our lives. It’s always an important time to clarify who we are and to set a trajectory for who we are becoming.
I highly recommend trying to be present for this entire series if you’re able. Five consecutive Sundays is totally doable and I think you’ll be glad you committed to it. I also think this is a great series to invite friends, family, and co-workers to. We will cover a lot of ground and reiterate some important components of our church that will help people get to know us.
I hope you’ll follow along either in person or the podcast!