Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”—Matthew 28:18-20

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?—Romans 10:13-15

Our purpose:

Community Church exists to help people discover life in Jesus and grow as His followers.

Commitment #6:

To be community-minded, serving as a regional center of help and hope.                                                                                                —Community Church Purpose and Commitments.

This past Sunday was an especially sweet one at Community Church.  In both services, the room was full of people singing God’s praises from their hearts.  Pastor Rick preached a powerful sermon about the love of God for all people, and what it means for us to be ambassadors of that love in a world of brokenness and sin.

After that, we took some time to lay out the vision for a church plant in Herlong that will open its doors this fall.  I told the story of how God has been working in the hearts of the staff and elders over the last year and a half, and all of the open doors that have confirmed that this is indeed something He is doing.  It’s more than I can repeat here, and if you missed it, I’d encourage you to visit our YouTube channel and watch the message to get the full story.

As I explained, the financial need for this undertaking is actually quite modest: a budget of $2000 per month for the first 16 months, beginning in September and continuing through 2024, to cover renting the space, mileage reimbursements, and supplies for children’s and youth ministry.  We distributed pledge cards and asked people to consider making a gift.  We also talked about the other needs (volunteers, etc.) that will be a key part of bringing this vision to life.

Let me tell you what has happened since (and keep in mind that as I write this, it’s only Tuesday, about 48 hours after the original announcement was made):  At this point, we’ve received $19,000 in gifts and pledges, over half the total need.  Yesterday I had an offer for a space to rent in Herlong should our first option not work out.  But then later in the day we finally received the contract for the county-owned building we’re hoping to use that we’ve been waiting on for several weeks.  I was reminded that a church in Reno has a portable sound system they’re willing to let us have if we need it.  More options have surfaced for people to be a part of the preaching rotation.  I’m being told stories of people who have been praying for individuals in Herlong who need Christ.  I’m hearing about believers in that community who are already looking forward to being a part of Herlong Community Church.

The outpouring of support has been incredible.  It’s yet another confirmation that God is up to something, and in His kindness He’s allowing Community Church to be a part of it.  I’m as excited for this as I have been for anything I’ve done in 15 years of pastoral ministry.

At the same time, it’s also clear that the real work is just beginning.  There is a long (and growing) list of things we need to figure out before we launch in the fall.  We need to recruit and train volunteers for children’s ministry (both for Sunday morning and Awana).  We need worship leaders, ushers, and greeters.  We have to figure out how to coordinate the preaching schedule, with preachers coming from three or four different churches.  There are questions about building access, promotion and communication, and much more.  It’s going to be a busy summer.

But there is something much more important than all of those details.  Even as we work on things like finances, volunteers, and logistics, we’re keeping in mind the real purpose of all this: God has placed a burden on our hearts for a community that needs a Gospel-centered, Bible-preaching church.  South Lassen County is full of people who need to discover new life in Jesus.  It’s an area with a lot of need, and not a lot of hope, and God has called us to be a center of help and hope for our region.  The people of Herlong and Doyle need to experience the love and joy and peace and freedom that are found only in Christ.  They need to experience the sweetness of genuine worship and grace-oriented preaching that we take for granted.  We have been richly blessed, so how can we fail to respond when He opens the door for us to be a blessing?

This summer, please be praying for south Lassen County, and for Herlong Community Church.  Pray for God to raise up all the right people, meet all the needs, and take care of all the details.  But more than that, pray for people to receive the gift of eternal life, to be adopted into God’s family, redeemed and restored and set free. Pray for lives to be transformed, for families to be healed, for addictions to be defeated.  Pray for the light of Jesus Christ to shine brightly, and for hope to conquer sin and despair.  Pray that God will do great things, and that He will reveal to you your part to play in what He’s doing.  And stay tuned for more details as we continue to discover His vision for this exciting season in our church.

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