Monthly Archives: July 2012

Calling – “The Spectrum”

     Hillary and I are sitting in a common area inside Trinity,  interviewing with leadership of the church when David Sherwood, the Sr. Pastor of the church, asks me where I am on the spectrum.  He says,

Some guys know they are not called to start a new church.  That is the last thing they would want to do.  This is one end of the spectrum.  At the other end are guys who sense that they must start a new church.  Leading a church plant is the burning passion of their heart.  Jarrett, where do you think you are on that spectrum?

This question drew out an answer I didn’t expect, or even know was within me.  Going into this interview, I knew I was not at the “never start a church” end of the spectrum, but I was also fairly certain I wasn’t at the “must start a church” end either. But then I began to explain myself to David, (and to myself)

For a while I’ve looked at church planting as an essential aspect of the church’s mission in this world.  Most of the churches I have been involved with have been involved with starting new churches.  I see the incredible need for the multiplication of healthy churches and believe that overall Hillary and I are equipped to participate in church planting.   I wouldn’t think of myself on the “burning passion” end of the spectrum because I have, God willing, thirty plus years of ministry ahead of me.  However, if you were to fast forward to the end of my “career” and I had never been involved in church planting, I would be unfaithful to God’s calling on my life.  So, in a sense I am at the “I must start a church” end of the spectrum even, but I don’t know if now is the time.

As I’ve looked back on this conversation there is a verse from the book of Proverbs that comes to mind, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”  This conversation, along with a few others, were pivotal in God leading us to this church planting fellowship.  Seeing God use so many people to lead us on this path has been both exciting and encouraging.

What’s in a name

The name for our website and blog originate in piece of writing from October of 2011.  We had been in transition for almost a year at that point and opportunities for the “next thing” continued to emerge and then come apart.  I remember writing the first pieces of this on the edge of a grocery bag.

We have different understandings of the edge
the point of no return.
We’ve crossed it a few times these weeks.  

But I never find a yawning chasm,
just a hidden path, deeper
into the shadow of the valley. 

This poem is part of a conversation with God where I feel like he is pushing us towards a yawning chasm.  There is no room to shift or side step only a frightening edge, but when my foot falls I do not topple but step somehow onto an unseen path.  But this path does not lead away from or around the ravine behind me, but right into it.  Thus, there is a mix of both hope and trepidation.  We hope because there is a path but we are tempted to fear because it leads downward into the valley.

Fast forward six months and we know more of the path – a church planting fellowship, Providence, RI, and then beyond.  But it is all the more clear that our path continues through the valley.   Church planting in New England is hard and we anticipate a journey that will continue to be shaped by uncertainty and suffering.  We are committed to this path and see how God is leading the way.   So we continue into the valley knowing that Jesus will be present and will work there.  In this blog we want to talk about the path in the valley, telling God’s story which is completely real yet full of hope.

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