Another version of an article about Tidelands and Wellspring was released recently in Presbyterians Today Magazine. See the online version.
I feel like every day we just keep taking small steps forward and they seem to come faster as time goes on. Here are a few updates from this week:
- Grant approved! We received a $25,000 Mission Program Grant. What an answer to prayer (and a lot of hard week by our discernment team). Details here.
- Website, Facebook Page, Email (Brandon@stanwoodtidelands.org) up and running!
- Mountain View PC’s Session approved a bunch of proposals by our core team including setting up a bank account, approving Core Team members, and setting the date for our first worship gathering on Sunday, October 28 (time/place TBA)
- We had our first informational meeting last Saturday, and we have another one coming up on Thursday, October 25, 6:00 PM at the Stanwood Library
- There are some solid leads on possible spaces in the community for offices and worship gatherings. Already I’m dreaming about ways to incorporate these spaces as part of our mission in the community.
It’s official! The session of Mountain View and the Executive Board of North Puget Sound Presbytery have both approved our discernment team’s plan to start a “daughter church!” (if you want the plan details, check out the links below the picture at the top of this blog). We are calling this new faith community “Tidelands,” and it will be located in the Stanwood/Camano Island area.
This is the result of a lot of hard work and prayer by many people! It is going to be exciting to see how God uses Tidelands to advance the work of Jesus Christ in the world. The next step in the process will be to have an informational meeting in the Stanwood area on September 17 (location TBA). Also, I will be examined for ordination at the September 12 meeting of the Presbytery of North Puget Sound in order to become the “organizing pastor” of the new church. You are all invited to join us for the ordination service here at Mountain View on September 23, at 3:00 PM. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we move forward.
We’re finally done with the “Vision Statement!” It was worth the extra time to get it just right. Before you read it, here is a short description from the “Starting New Churches” handbook of what this statement is supposed to do:
Vision Statement: The second task of the team is to develop a one page description of “who” this new church is being started for and “why” it needs to be started. The temptation is to try and start a church for everyone, which usually leads to communicating clearly the love of God to no one. The vision statement will be developed after several site visits, much prayer, and significant time to reflect. It is really the discerning of the heart of God at this time.
Vision Statement: Mountain View PC New Church Development
Who are we called to reach?
- Stanwood/Camano Island, WA
- Young Families
- Busy on Sundays
- Negative Perceptions of the Church
We are called to the Stanwood/Camano Island area to establish a faith community that seeks to live their lives as followers of Jesus. Recognizing that this requires a core group whose faith is strongly established, we nevertheless feel most compelled to reach out to those who do not yet know Jesus. Specifically, God has continually placed young families on our hearts. These families, consisting of children, parents and potentially grandparents or other extended relatives, will be a core area of focus in establishing a healthy multi-generational church body.
Significant subgroups that we hope to reach include those whose family obligations and work schedules have made it difficult to be part of a worshipping community on Sunday mornings, and those whose negative perceptions of the Church or sheer lack of contact with the Church act as barriers to receiving the love of Christ. These are those to whom we may be called to present the Good News in ways that look different from what people traditionally perceive church to be. This may also require scheduling gatherings on nontraditional days (not Sunday/not only Sunday).
Why Stanwood/Camano Island?
In some respects, the Stanwood/Camano Island area is similar to other communities in Washington State and the Northwestern United States in general. There are already churches present in the community, some of them very old and established, and yet a large percentage of the population is not connected in any way with these churches. People may consider themselves quite spiritual, but they do not see the value in the Christian Church as it is often presented to them.
What may be unique about Stanwood and especially Camano Island, is that among those who identify with the Presbyterian tradition, a number of them choose to travel to neighboring communities to worship. For these reasons, and many others, we have clearly sensed God calling Mountain View Presbyterian Church to be involved in starting a new faith community in the area.
It is the very DNA of the Church to be engaged in making disciples, baptizing, and teaching people to love, obey and follow Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). And yet, so often new churches end up attracting mostly those who are already Christian and simply want a new place to worship. While we will be seeking mature believers to do the discipling, baptizing, and teaching, it will be our focus to reach those who do not yet know Jesus rather than creating a church that draws in believers from other existing churches.
Why young families?
Many young parents desire to raise their children in stable, loving families that can provide all they need to grow, even thrive in the world. But the reality is that apart from Christ, none of us have the foundation, the support, the community, the tools, or even the love sufficient to accomplish this. We have a longing to see that no family has to go without the Savior who knows and provides for all their needs.
There are many parents in this generation who didn’t grow up in a church community, or fell away from the church early in life. These people are now having children of their own who have never heard the Good News, or cannot understand its significance. In these cases, people either can’t or won’t seek the life, love and light available to them in Jesus Christ, no matter how desperately they need it. Consequently, they live lives without clear meaning or purpose. They will not seek out a church; the gospel must be taken to where they live and work!
Why people who are busy on Sunday?
For many people, family obligations often take priority and can quickly fill up a schedule. In addition, there are those who must work on Sundays in order to make a living. While we are not ruling out having Sunday gatherings, we want to reach out to and walk alongside these people who often fall through the cracks, and equip them for the life Christ intended them to live. It appears that there is room in the Stanwood/Camano Island area for a church that provides options for worship in addition to Sunday morning.
Why people who have a negative view of the Church?
We want to do everything we can for those who have simply written off the church – everything we can to help them hear the loving call of their Savior. We want to reach those who dismiss the idea of church because of inaccurate perceptions or painful past experiences, and provide an environment where individuals can go deeper in building a sense of authentic community and friendship in Jesus Christ. Establishing a new faith community with the support of Mountain View Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of North Puget Sound enables us to explore novel, nontraditional approaches needed to reach people with the love of Jesus Christ.