Last Sunday, we showed a great clip from the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” starring John Candy and Steve Martin. In the clip, the characters are driving at night and become disoriented enough to drive up the off ramp and head in the wrong direction down the interstate. At one point, the person driving down the right side of the road shouts, “You’re going the wrong waaaaaayyy!” To which John Candy’s character replies, “How does he know where we’re going?!?” Its a really funny scene, and it also illustrates a great point: every once in a while, we need to make sure we’re heading in the right direction, because it’s pretty easy to get off track.
For us in the Church, and especially for us at Restoration, our “right direction” is about a Kingdom mission–giving our lives away for the sake of others and for the sake of the Kingdom. This series (Incarnate) is all about that posture–how we structure what we do and who we are not to benefit ourselves primarily, but others. It’s an outward direction and focus, and it’s pretty easy to lose it and just focus on ourselves!
One of the ways we’re doing that corporately is to partner with people in other areas and plant more churches like us. Most of us have found LIFE being part of this church–we’ve seen Jesus change us and our city because we’re here. Whether it’s through our church or through Young Life, InterVarsity, etc, we’re leaving a mark! To duplicate that model elsewhere is heading in the right direction, and I wanted to encourage you with what’s going on…
1. We are actively working with two church plants right now to duplicate (in some sense) what God has done here. Matt Barber will be planting Upland Church in the Grandin area of Roanoke. Matt is a great speaker and a really solid dude I got to know at Orchard Hills. I love Matt and his vision and will hopefully continue to meet with him as he plants. In addition to that Matt, Matt Vaught is working to plant Rockbridge Community Church in Lexington, VA. Matt’s a former Young Life guy, and so our connections run deep there. He’s really stepped up to lead in an area that needs a relevant, gospel-centered church!
We are resourcing both of these churches with all the information and the strategies that we used to plant Restoration. Michelle Stephenson (our Admin) was amazing and instrumental in getting us off the ground from a logistics/admin perspective, and so she is giving some of her time to “the Matts” as they plant these churches. It’s AWESOME!! We’re also hoping to resource these churches financially in a significant ways as well!
2. The second avenue is also church-plant related, but with a twist! Jeff Lakin and I have been interested in getting a conversation going nationally about planting churches that embody the Young Life/Local Church partnership that we have forged here in the Valley. It’s not necessarily a new idea…it’s happened in a lot of places organically, and both Young Life AND the local church have benefited incredibly! It’s sort of a no-brainer to us. So, we’re working on getting that conversation to happen nationally and maybe (!?!?) become a driving force behind building structure that equips, trains, and sends church planters to plant churches that formally partner with an area Young Life–either creating a new area or simply bolstering the existing one. Every area YL needs a local church that champions it, and a healthy, thriving local church needs a missionary force in the schools. Again, this is a no-brainer!
At any rate, I know this is long, but I wanted to make sure you all get a glimpse of what God is doing behind the scenes in just two ways we are continuing to give outwardly and follow Jesus together.