Installation Service

So on October 6th, I will be installed as a church planter at Grace Christian Reformed Church in Burke, VA. Two weeks later, our parent church- First Reformed Church of Cary- will commission me. Everything is about to get all official! A number of feelings swirl through my mind as I approach these dates.

First off, I was never installed as a ‘resident church planter’ back on March 1st. That means that up to this point I am sort of still installed as a pastor at Immanuel CRC in Hamilton, ON. Of course, we said our formal good-bye back in February. My work there ended although relationships and partnerships continue. Still, I have been existing as a bit of a ministry nomad. My wife will be the first one to tell you that I have been working very hard, but there has been no official out-of-the-gate-right-of-passage event yet.

So I wonder where I have been over the last few months. It’s been a mix of ministry preparation, church plant education, personal and family care, geographical orientation, financial partnership building, and relationship fostering time. We also went on vacation for a couple of weeks. I started with an exciting and ambitious residency plan, and now next week the installation service makes things real.

Coming up to the starting blocks has been hard though. The last couple of weeks have been overwhelming and scary. My mind changed in September. I shifted from resident learner to church plant foot soldier. Nagging fears have grown along with bouts of doubts. I doubt my gifts and abilities despite what has been affirmed over the last several months. Church planting takes patience, and I can be impatient. It takes people, and we do not have people. It takes blah, blah, blah…

I could continue ‘blahing’ away, of course, but that’s no fun. In fact, as someone wise has told me recently, it is quite okay to feel overwhelmed right now. It’s an overwhelming thing. We’re committed to this. I believe in it. So many wonderful and divine events, conversations, and things have happened to confirm that this is what we need to be doing. Still, it weighs on the heart.

One therapeutic process I have been going through is building the website for our new church. We have a name, vision statement, mission statement, value statements. That all will be revealed soon enough. There’s a game plan, business strategy, church planting strategy, etc. Many of the theoretical pieces are in place, and putting together the website has allowed me to piece all of it together in a package that is neat, concise, and consistent. Crafting this website has helped solidify many different elements of what makes up the Church and what that looks like in our new church in southwest Wake County.

The most therapeutic thing, of course, is continuing to rely on God’s strength for this journey ahead. God is control here. God is control. I have to remind myself of that all the time throughout the day as I imagine all of us do. God is there. The Spirit is working. Jesus is alive!

In what ways have you processed through feelings of being overwhelmed? What has been your therapeutic process that got you through to the other side?