Last week we were in the middle of our fourth monthly gathering at Crave cafe, when one of our team led us all through a prayer time after the worship. James invited us all to get into small groups around our tables and to either pray for a) each other, or b) our church plant.
For the next five minutes I was blown away. I listened gratefully as the room buzzed with the prayers and petitions of people praying for us and/or each other. It's sometimes hard to know how "planting a church" is going, it can be quite immeasurable. But in this moment of planting Central Vineyard, this moment of a room buzzing with prayers, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. We are witnesses to a great thing; Christ is building this church and there is no turning back now.
At times we're feeling like grown-ups already. We've had great things to celebrate such as a couple in our leadership team having their first baby and friends who have been in a season of being prodigals who have given their lives back to Christ. We've also had some hard and painful things to go through already as well. What was it that Paul said in Romans 12? "Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who are weeping." Yeah, we are getting that one.
Now, a word on what's next. On July 5th we are being released and sent from our sending church, Shore Vineyard. On that Sunday we will be prayed out and commissioned as a team, and from that Sunday onwards we'll be looking to turn up the heat on Central Vineyard church plant and get it ready for the spring months of 2015 to launch it publicly and properly. We'll be planning to start gathering regularly together (rather than just our once-a-month) and making our preparations to become a fully-operating commissioned Vineyard church. It's all very, very exciting.
And now, a word of thanks to some people. For those who are praying with and for us, thank you. We are feeling very loved and led by the Father, Son and Spirit in all of this, and we know it's because of people like yourselves who are praying. For those who are financially giving to us, thank you. You gift is helping us to do church and bless people around us as we need to. For those who are inviting people and sending people our way, thank you for believing in us and what we are doing to trust your friends and family with us.
We look forward to what is going to happen over the winter as we take the steps of planning for the spring – the season of new life, quite literally. Our new life being the intended launch of our church community and playing our part in the loving and serving of Auckland city.