I’m just going to come out and say it: we feel our weakness. The year has begun. No wait – THE year has begun. This is the year that we, Joshua Earl and Aaron Beane and our families, Lord willing, will start a brand-new church. This is big stuff, people. This is like opening a new business except we’re not selling anything and the work we will do will have eternal repercussions. We aren’t prepared, we barely know what we’re doing, and we’re moving to Wilmington in five months. No problem.
[*internal scream composed of part excitement and part fear*]
So yea, we feel our weakness! And, I think the reason we feel so very weak is that when we actually stop to look at ourselves, we realize we aren’t all that impressive.
We love people, we love Jesus, we love the Gospel. I have a little pastoral ministry experience.
But I’m not Matt Chandler. I can’t say things that insult you and get you saved at the same time.
I’m not Paul Tripp either. I can’t get up and say just one, single, mustache-muffled sentence that changes your life.
I’m just me. Joshua who? And I’m linking arms with my shorter, balder best friend and we’re moving to a city we’ve only been to a handful of times.
Oh trust me – we’re excited. We get a little cray when we think about the very first day we will worship with other saints as the new Sovereign Grace Church of Wilmington. When we talk about it we laugh and giggle like a couple of little girls on a play date, excited about the prospect of introducing Jesus the Savior to broken people.
But you see, that’s just it: we’re broken, too. We don’t have what it takes, and we are scared – albeit excited, but scared. We realize that we need others to come with us. We need people who have gifts and talents and callings that we don’t have who will leave behind all the comforts they’ve worked hard to gain, exchanging them for the extremely difficult, extremely rewarding life of helping to build a church from scratch, smack dab in the middle of a city in need. [*long inhale*]
You won’t be hammering, sawing, nailing (at least, not right away), but you will be asked to do all the things you do where you are now (like getting to know your neighbor with the goal of sharing Christ with them), except, perhaps, with greater gospel-intentionality. Church planting is hard. Yes, being a missionary is difficult work. But, God is calling people who will grab a sickle, head out to the fields of Wilmington with us, and reap the harvest Jesus has already labored for by living and dying for it (Luke 10:2).
We’re going there because God gave us a burden for the people there. Every resident of Wilmington, NC – every single one – will spend eternity somewhere. Right now there are 60,000 plus people there that don’t even belong to a church. 60,000! And that number is growing. Something like 5,000 people move to Wilmington every year; and every year, Wilmingtonians die without Christ. They need people who will come and love them, who will feed them, who will get their hands dirty to show them that Jesus is better than whatever they are chasing.
What about you? Could it be you? Could you be one of the ones God is raising up to become a part of the body of Christ that will be Sovereign Grace Church of Wilmington? If that’s you, we’re asking you to come with us.
God isn’t looking for strong people, but people like us who are weak and know it. He’s calling people who look in the mirror and aren’t all that impressed with what they see. And guys, He’s calling people who realize that the Gospel is the POWER of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes in Jesus (Romans 1:16). The power of God! Nothing else in all of Scripture is referred to as the power of God except the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ came to earth to save sinners.
And when it is spoken by weak Christians to unbelieving, broken people, the Holy Spirit takes this news and pierces their darkened souls through with the light of Christ so that they see that He is beautiful. And they believe. They believe because He is beautiful, and He is worth it, and He is worth leaving behind everything that they’ve worked for.
Yes, He is.
So, what about you? You coming?