Today is quite a special day, because as I write this, it's been exactly one year since I finished working at Shore Vineyards. It's been 365 days since I sat down at my dinner table on the morning of September 1st 2014 and realised I didn't have my old job to go to, because my future was now as a church planter. It was a future of the unknown if I'm being completely honest.
A lot has happened since then. Back then it was just Gab, a couple of friends and myself who were beginning to pray and dream about (what would become) Central Vineyard. We would get together around our dinner table or meet on the couches in our lounge. It was quite manageable.
Fast forward to the Sunday night just been: I'm nervously watching people go forward to the communion table because judging by my maths, the 50 or so cups that we had setup wouldn't be enough. What a good problem to have... (Thanks to those in our team who caught me eye and held back.)
This pre-launch period that we are in at the moment is some of the most exciting days I have had leading church. My continual prayer for God to "send workers for the harvest" are being answered. Terrific people who want to give this a go are showing up and putting their hands to work. Our team is working well together, growing in love for each other and sharing our lives more and more with each month that goes by. Our venue in Mt Eden is getting some great comments from those coming along. There's something about being in an old church, but doing it in a new way that has always been appealing to me. I love the sense of standing on the shoulders of great work already done by generations of saints in our city. Although we don't know if we'll be staying there when we launch this church into weekly gatherings, it sure is a great place to be at the present moment.
We're tasting God's presence as we worship and minister, we're seeing community slowly form as strangers become friends and family, and my favourite thing is watching people excited about playing their part and using their gifts.
We have one more pre-launch gathering scheduled in for this month on Sunday, September 27th. Depending on what we sense the Lord is leading us in, and how things go this month, we might hit the "launch" button in October, or we might loop in this pre-launch phase for a little longer. Whatever we do, we'll be letting people know during September, so stay tuned.
Please keep praying for us – hold us in your hearts and ask God to give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to believe for what He is leading us in.