From August 15-17, Aaron and I were privileged to take our first exploratory trip to Wilmington since we began our church planter residency at CrossWay Community Church (check out our latest video update below!). During the residency, our plan is to visit Wilmington 4-5 times with the goal of familiarizing ourselves with the city, meet people there, and try to discern specifically where in the city God would have us live and minister. For this particular trip, we simply wanted to acclimate ourselves with the city geographically. We spent a good deal of time driving around, navigating the neighborhoods of Wilmington with a good-old-fashioned map. We had a wonderful time exploring and had a handful of good conversations with some of the folks there. God really led us and blessed us!
As we stopped and talked to some of the people we encountered, one thing became very clear to us: the fields in Wilmington are white with harvest! We saw that there is great opportunity for a stronger gospel witness there. Out of the dozen or so people we spoke to in the various parts of the city, few had a solid understanding of the Christian faith, and none of them regularly attended a church. We spoke for a long time to a young man named John David who grew up in an Episcopal church. He spoke with great fondness about his childhood church experience, but now as a young twenty-something adult, he has no real exposure to the teachings of the Bible and no longer attends his church. Another young woman, Connie, occasionally attends a Roman Catholic church, but keeps her options open in exploring the various religions of the world. The more we spoke with people, the more our hearts were stirred and our desire increased that they might come to know Jesus. More and more we recognize that we are going precisely where God is leading us!
Next week, Aaron and I will return to Wilmington with Jeremy Oddy, a pastor here at CrossWay. The purpose of this second trip is to meet specifically with pastors and/or key leaders in the community. We deeply desire to partner with other churches already at work there to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the city and meet the needs of hurting people there. If you know of anyone there we could make contact with, would you do us a favor and reach out to us? We want to get to know people who are involved in the church, community, and government there with the hope of becoming better familiarized with the social and religious culture of the city. As our relationships there grow, we know that God is going to place us just where He wants us to live and minister – so these meetings are key for the mission of our future church. Also, if you know of anyone in Wilmington looking for a good church, we’d love to meet them too! Shoot us a message and we’ll reach out to them.
That reminds me: at this stage in this church plant, we are beginning to have conversations with folks who may be interested in joining our Launch Team. A church plant launch team is a group of individuals that God calls to join up with us – the pastors and our families – to go to Wilmington with us and do the work of “building” up a new Sovereign Grace Church in Wilmington. The launch team would ideally move to Wilmington about the same time we do (late Spring 2018), and would immediately begin participating with us in corporate worship, Bible study, and evangelism in the city. We’ll continue talking about the launch team in the coming months, but if you are interested in learning more about what it could mean for you to become a part of our future church, please let us know! Aaron and I would be thrilled to sit down and talk with you.
Thanks for reading this brief update. Please keep us in prayer in the coming weeks as we continue to explore the city of Wilmington. Ask God specifically to give us guidance and wisdom as we seek to meet new folks and visit the different areas of the city. Again, God is already at work in Wilmington, and we simply want to join in and participate in His mission there! Ask Him to give us eyes to see where He is moving so we can move with Him.
Thank you! Soli Deo gloria.
Check out our latest video update: