I have been celebrating and dreaming about the miracles all over the country in regards to the growth of Christ’s Bride, the church.
From the early days of Willowcreek (http://www.willowcreek.com/)
..to the incredible story of Saddleback church ( http://www.saddleback.com/flash/default.htm)
…and how God used Rick Warren (http://www.rickwarren.com/).
To today and the likes of Andy Stanley (http://www.northpoint.org) ,
Ed Young (http://cp.blogs.com/),
Erwin McManus (http://erwinmcmanus.com/),
Mark Driscoll (http://theresurgence.com/)
The list goes on and on.
Lately I have been blown away by what God has done down in Anderson, S.C. at New Spring Church through His servant, Perry Noble (http://www.perrynoble.com). There are approximately 170,000 people in the area (not exactly Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas or Atlanta people). We’re talking 170,000 people! Yet Newspring is only a little under 8 years old and has around 7,000 people a week at 4 weekend services! At this rate half the county will be touched by Newspring before they know it!
And I’ve rejoiced at what the Lord has done through (http://southbrookchurch.com) in an area notoriously saturated with religiosity but very little real life change. So-called mega churches just don’t seem to make it here. Nevermind a Saddleback story, we can’t even see a Mini Me version of it!
But around seven years ago a fledgling group of us prayed that God would use us to bring that kind of life change and excitement to this area.
And who were we? Just ordinary Christ followers who desperately wanted to see God out of the box in North Carolina. We’d already tried once (crash and burn — wasn’t pretty) and Southbrook was going to be the all or nothing, do or die trying attempt to follow.
So the journey began — just a few people, NO MONEY, NO BACKING, NO MOTHER CHURCH, NO SISTER CHURCH, not even a STEP SISTER CHURCH THRICE REMOVED! And what’s more, this group was led by an ordinary screw up who didn’t even know there were books about church growth and church planting teams and sponcers and, yada, yada, yada. I just knew God said ‘do it’ and knew I better listen!
So, what’s all this got to do with “how you look at things?”
Just this. Today I was thanking God for something I’ve missed up until now…
GOD IS ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS!
There is a movement underway at Southbrook that can only point to God!
We can’t say it was the money — there was none.
We can’t say it was the sponcership — couldn’t get any.
We can’t say it was the music — I used to lead it (enough said)
We can’t say it was the preaching — you can stop laughing now (not nice).
We can’t point to all the churches in town who welcomed us with open arms — let’s not even go there. I would have felt more welcomed from a teaming pool of Piranha waiting just below a hungry gathering of gators all looking up at me hanging on for dear life to a used piece of dental floss!
We can’t point to a ‘crack team’ of professional church planters who knew exactly what they were doing and had the entire journey mapped out. Hello McFly, I wasn’t even sure what church planting was. I used to think it had something to do with joining religion and agriculture together to reach the farming community!
What I did know was that God put a time (The Fall of 1999) and a place (Weddington, NC — population 9,200) on my heart and He gave me a burning desire to show people how awesome church could really be!
And what a ride it’s been!
Which brings me to the point. I laughed to myself today when I thought of how often I used to insist of our people that we put “Charlotte” on all our web stuff, addresses, signs, etc. instead of Weddington or Wesley Chapel (where we’re actually located — population – 3,900).
“Who’s ever heard of Wesley Chapel?! We can’t tell people Southbrook is in Wesley Chapel (I’m not exactly sure what my logic was, but there you have it) they will not even come visit. We might as well say we’re located on Mars!
But I overlooked one VERY IMPORTANT THING!
If a church reaches over 3,000 people in an area of 1.2 million people, who gets the glory?
If a church reaches 3,000 people and sees more than 400 people give their lives to Christ in 3 and a half months in a town of 3,900 and an entire county of only 175,000 who gets the glory then?
GOD. And no one else. period.
I’ve been praying that God would use Southbrook in a mighty way.
Today God said, “open your eyes!”
It’s all in how you look at things.
P.S. If you are part of this amazing ride, tell us how you found out about Southbrook Church and post it as a comment after my previous blog. Just click here, http://www.robsingleton.net/?p=257 and post your answer. I will share the results in a couple weeks. We need at least a hundred families to respond to get any real data.