How Do You Start a Church, Exactly?

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It was a year ago that God started stirring our hearts and turning our heads toward this crazy notion of planting a church in Manhattan. I (Jenn) have been reading through my journal lately, and here are some of the things that stood out to me:

February 18, 2015: What are you up to, God? Are you really asking us to leave our home and the place we’ve known, our church, our friends of 17 years? . . . You are my yes. So I guess there’s peace in that. You’ve got me. So now, day after day, I’m giving You my yes. I’ll wait, even though it’s hard to be patient. I’ll listen, even though sometimes it’s hard to hear. Speak to me, I’m listening. And You have my yes.

March 9, 2015: I’m ready to put my feet out in the water and walk, but there is definitely an underlying fear trying to pull me under. I guess this is where faith comes in. Maybe we won’t have this clear skywriting moment where we know Your will exactly . . . we wouldn’t need faith for that. But could You give us peace and assure us that we’re taking the right steps? And let me know if we’re not? God, You’re up to something. And I don’t want to miss a single glimpse of You.

March 17, 2015: I want to plant a church in NYC that thrives as a loving community, offering hope and peace and love and acceptance and home. I don’t know how to do that, but You do. So I’ll just keep following You, just as You said so many years ago. Who knew that would lead me here? You did. You always did.

Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do. TRUST. Over the past year, we have learned what it means to trust in God more than ever before. We are learning what it means to lean on Him completely, because without Him, we are unable. But WITH Him, we are unstoppable.

Isn’t that what Resurrection Life is all about, anyway? It’s about this God, who stepped out of His comfort, into our mess. It’s about how Jesus walked this earth, visiting towns and cities, rubbing shoulders with everyone who came into His path. It’s about how He gave up His own desires in order to do the will of the Father. It’s about dying to self, so we can be raised to life, life in Christ and life with Christ.

So how do you start a church, exactly? You start by dying. Dying to yourself, so we can follow the One who gives us life to the full.

Sign me up.

Specific ways to pray for Resurrection Life NYC:

  • The continued launch process. The preliminary launch date is set for September 18, 2016.
  • That the launch team would come together well and have providential conversations with the people God desires to be a part of this new church, both from here in NYC and from across the country.
  • God’s financial provision in the launch phase of the church plant. A venue for our preview services.
  • That we would be strong and courageous.

This article was initially published by Wesleyan Life.

Jenn Petersen is a singer/songwriter, pastor, worship leader and church planter living in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Iowa, studied songwriting with the Berklee School of Music, and is currently pursuing her MM at New York University. She has traveled extensively singing and leading worship, and her songs have been sung as far as Africa, Asia, and Australia. Her favorite role is wife to Branden and mom to their two children, Aidan & Emma.

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