1 Corinthians 12
This is a short interview video with Pastor Tony of IDC and Stephan Pues of Nordstern Church in Frankfurt, Germany. Nordstern is IDC’s partner church plant in the Redeemer City to City network (redeemercitytocity.com). In this video Stephan gives an overview of Nordstern and several prayer requests for the church and city. You can read more about Nordstern here and here.
Harvest Church, Part II: God Plants the Seed
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:5
Brothers and sisters of Imago Dei,
Thank you so much for your prayer and support for Harvest Church. We would like to give you a brief update on our church planting journey.
Back in July we were commissioned and sent out from you guys as the core team to plant Harvest Church (how special was that!). God had just opened the doors in a miraculous way for the plant in Cary, and this summer we got to see Him be no less active in uniting and preparing us for the mission.
We met for the last couple months on Sunday evenings to share a meal, have an informal worship service, and to have relevant teaching/training in regard to the plant. Largely speaking, this was the season dedicated to forming the DNA of Harvest Church. We traveled together through Ephesians, gazing at the awesome grace of God in saving us in Christ, forming us as a people in Christ, and sending us on His mission for the glory of Christ. We caught God’s heartbeat for His church in general, and also dove deeply into what we felt God has called Harvest Church to specifically—how we are to function in practice within our overall philosophy of community and mission centralized on the gospel.
Because we had two very different groups trying to unite for the church plant (the young crew from Imago and the older crew from North Cary), we were a bit unsure how things were going to go. But of course, if God can unite Jew and Gentile, He can also take this motley group and unite us. And that He did! This has been one of the sweetest, unexpected blessings of the plant. These older folks have become dads and moms, and granddads and grandmoms to us. And we have become their sons and daughters and grandchildren. Truly awesome! We feel united in such a way at this point that it defies explanation apart from God’s handiwork.
A third component to the summer, in addition to the teaching and relational aspects, was getting the property ready for launch. While we have been blown away with the provision of a facility, we also believed there was a need for a major renovation and general update. This involved a massive clean and purge, the knocking out of walls, new paint everywhere, some new flooring, and a completely revamped sanctuary. We have been especially blessed with the generous donations of time and money from many folks to help with the cause—and it has paid off! We could not be any more pleased!
That would also express our sentiment toward God for the whole summer season of preparing to plant. God has shown us again and again just how faithful and good He is as He continues to work and build his church in spite of our weakness.
On November 9, 2014 the seed of Harvest Church officially went into the ground. Glory to God! It was a wonderful day. Many of you were able to join us, making it extra special! Several folks came up from Georgia, as well as family and friends from around the Raleigh/Cary area. We had over a hundred hearts with us in worship! It was simply a beautiful and glorious morning! This was also our time of covenant signing for the core team. With the witness of those present, all 25 of us signed together to covenant as the first members of Harvest Church.
We eagerly anticipate all that God has in store for us. We thank you for setting such a worthy example for us to imitate. How often have we thought, “Hmmm, what would Imago Dei do?” WWID. Just kidding, but seriously. Your love for Jesus, His people, and His mission is deep in our souls. It has shaped us, and is now influencing all that we do for Christ through Harvest Church.
If you could, please continue to pray for us. We realize that the most fragile time in the life of any plant is when its just coming out of the ground, not to mention the fact that we have a real enemy bent on our destruction. We trust God is sovereign, but He has also sovereignly united Himself with the prayers of His people.
So if you would, please pray for us in these specific ways:
- God’s glory and His will above all things
- Jesus to be the Hero of everything
- The presence of the Holy Spirit (for individuals and in corporate gatherings)
- Our community groups and their leaders (for existing ones and for new ones to be formed)
- Wisdom in shepherding folks with illnesses and disabilities
- God to send someone to help lead us in musical worship
- Direction for local and international missions (places and people to pour into long term)
We thank you so much! And look forward to continued partnership in the gospel! We love you!
For more information, or if you would like to support us financially, please visit our website at www.harvestchurchcary.com. Also, feel free to email Matthew (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Drew (email@example.com).
Equip Fall 2014 blog:
Greetings Imago Dei Church! We’re excited to announce that we are about to begin our third year of our Equip training program. Equip is a discipleship training time that allows the Elders to get to know and begin equipping future leaders for roles that will take the gospel all over the world, and also to identify future Aspire interns. We will be developing a two-year curriculum with content including The Gospel, The Church, Missions, and Ethics—hitting on all of them each semester.
Equip typically meets four times over the course of a semester on Saturday mornings at a new time, from 8:15am-9:45am. Through this program, the church seeks to equip and train any aspiring church planters, pastors, missionaries (anyone involved in Going), growth group leaders, church planting teams, or anyone wanting futher equipping.
This fall, Equip will hold its first meeting on September 13th at the new 8:15-9:45 time slot at the IDC Building. Typically, we watch/listen to a sermon, or read an article, and interact with Scripture on our own time and then having come prepared, discuss the content with teaching and/or small groups.
For our September 13th meeting we will discuss:
The Gospel – Gospel Appropriation
Tim Keller, audio sermon: “Preaching the Gospel” (40 min.) http://theresurgence.com/2006/07/11/preaching-the-gospel
John Piper, audio clip: “The Morning I Heard the Voice of God” (11 min.)
Scripture: Galatians 2:11-14; 3:13
Here a few questions that will help you add to any discussion or your own growth:
• Give a brief summary of the content.
• Agreements? Disagreements?
• Why would IDC leadership want us to learn this?
• What are some implications for your future ministry (whatever context God has you in)?
• What will this look like in the life of the church (particularly IDC)?
Here are the tentative dates for this fall’s Equip meetings
• September 13th
• October 18th
• November 8th
• November 22nd
Covenant members and prospective members—be on the lookout for the content of each meeting. We will likely make it available through multiple channels, including a link on the website. If you are unsure about it, email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. Also, childcare will be provided upon request (at least a week in advance by emailing email@example.com) for children under age10. We look forward to growing alongside you. Grace and peace.
5 Networks. 5 People. 5 Tasks.
“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Lk 5:4)
This week we’re starting a series of sermons on reaching our city with the Gospel of Jesus, through network evangelism. The goal of the series is to encourage, equip, and inspire you to be more faithful at spreading the good news. Please know that we don’t intend to guilt trip you each week into doing something you hate doing. This series is actually designed to help you get started, taking small steps, in this important endeavor. We simply want to do more in this area than we are currently doing, and we think we have a biblical and faithful strategy for improvement. Further, we just don’t want this to be a series of sermons. The aim is to create a mindset, or a way of life, that helps you live with gospel intentionality.
(Our normal preaching pattern is to work through books of the Bible every Sunday, but the elders believe that this short series is very needed for our congregation at this time. Also realize that we will be expounding a text every week in the 555 series, just not from one book alone…. Starting in January, the plan is to go verse by verse through the book of Acts. We’re prepared to spend a year or more studying this book, and we’re eager to do it).
Typical approaches to evangelism in the past have either involved crusade evangelism, or cold-call evangelism (door-to-door visitation). While not depreciating these strategies, we believe that an approach that takes into account those in our networks has real potential for effectiveness, and also has a historical legacy behind it. For the early church grew, in large measure, through a web of relationships.
In Tim Keller’s Church Planting Manual, he recommends this approach and says the following:
There must be an atmosphere of expectation that every member will always have 2 to 4 people in the incubator, a force-field in which people are being prayed for, given literature, brought to church or other events.
We have added to Keller’s idea just a bit, and tried to think of five particular networks. Think about 2-5 people in each network. Think about praying, giving literature, inviting, serving, and actually speaking the gospel.
By giving you some tangible ways to interact with those in your network, we think everyone can be involved. You can at least pray for those in your networks. Surely, you can give a book or a Bible to someone in your networks. Perhaps you can give an invitor card to someone in your network, right? Hopefully, you can do all of this in the normal rhythm of your life. One may not have to necessarily add a new activity to an already busy schedule. This is a challenge to simply identify the people you see and know, and to live with gospel intentionality among them everyday.
So again, here’s the plan: 5 Networks. 5 people in those networks (as a goal). 5 tasks.
1. Familial Network: Family you have
2. Vocational Network: People you work with
3. Commercial Network: Businesses you frequent
4. Geographical Network: Neighbors you see
5. Relational Network: Friends you make (not necessarily neighbors). These can be cultivated through recreation or missional endeavors.
(Note: Not everyone will have the same amount of people in the networks. That’s fine. Think about identifying more people in the other networks).
1. Pray for Them
2. Serve Them
3. Give Gospel-Centered Literature to Them
4. Invite Them
5. Speak the Gospel to Them
Below is our tentative sermon schedule. (Some of these texts are very tentative at this point). After the first sermon, we will spend two weeks on each of the 5 tasks.
1. Let Down Your Nets (Luke 5:1-11) [Sept 14] 2. Task #1: Pray for Them …. That They May Be Saved (Rom 9:1-3; 10:1-21) [Sept 21] 3. Task #1: Pray for Them … Because God Answers Prayer (James 5:16-18; 1 Kings 18:36-40) [Sept 28] 4. Task #2: Serve Them … With the Father’s Mercy (Luke 6:27-36) [Oct 5] 5. Task #2: Serve Them …. With Genuine Neighbor Love (Luke 10:25-37) [Oct 12] 6. Task #3: Give Gospel-Centered Literature to Them … Because Truth Matters (Col 2:6-23) [Oct 19] 7. Task #3: Give Gospel Centered Literature to Them …. As You Contend for the Faith (Jude 1:1-4) [Oct 26] 8. Task #4: Invite Them … To Your Parties and to Jesus’ Party (Luke 14:12-24 Part 1) [Nov 2] 9. Task #4: Invite Them … To Your Parties and to Jesus’ Party (Luke 14:12-24 Part 2) [Nov 9] 10. Task #5: Speak the Gospel to Them … Following the Pattern of Jesus (John 4) [Nov 16] 11. Task #5: Speak the Gospel to Them … As Christ’s Ambassador (2 Cor 5:11-21) [Nov 23]
As an added feature, our goal is to have a testimony each week, who is living out this vision in practical and encouraging ways. We will also be having a special time of prayer on the weekend of Sept 26-27. But please begin praying now. May the Lord add to our number daily those who are being saved (Acts 2:47).