In no particular order, here a few reflections on what’s been going on with the Mercy Street Reformed Church Plant in the Denver area:
1. In four out of the past five Lord’s Days I have had the privilege of preaching in four different RCUS churches and Carole and I have been blessed by the warm and welcoming fellowship along the spiritual health of each congregation.
On the 17th of June we were in Rock Springs, WY, on the 1st of July we were in Colorado Springs, on the 8th of July we were in Limon, CO, and this past Lord’s Day we were in Greeley Colorado, and again, in each instance the time spent with our brothers and sisters in Christ was both edifying and encouraging. To know that many other souls are supporting our work here (especially by way of consistent prayer) means more to us than we can express, and so thank you all!
2. By my count (and I’m probably forgetting some) we have made personal, face-to-face contact with twenty-five souls with whom we have invited to either attend our Bible studies and/or to meet together personally so as to discuss the things of the Lord.
On top of that we have also been informed (mainly by other RCUS congregants) of approximately twenty more souls who are either moving to the Denver area soon, or who are already here and given their present church situation may be interested in joining us as we begin to grow.
To give you a general flavor of what some of those face-to-face visits look like as well as some of the results, the first one that I’ll share has to do with the neighbor directly across the hallway from us (a single man named Jim) who recently told me that he grew up attending church but was bullied there as a young man (even held down in the pews by some after the service and punched) and so he didn’t want anything more to do with the church. I told him that I was sad to hear that and that if he was ever interested in coming to one of our Bible studies he wouldn’t be bullied but only loved.
Last Tuesday evening after our weekly Bible study ended Jim was sitting on a bench outside of our apartment where he met, and had a short visit with, some of our core-group members. An hour or so later I went out to sit with him on the bench and he asked me, “What time is your Bible Study?” After answering him he said that he would like to come next time we have it. Of course that’s only a small step in the right direction, but it is a good step nonetheless and one that we’re all very thankful for.
Another meeting that Carole and I had was with a woman (named Barb) who lives in a nearby apartment building as she was out walking her dog. After some casual conversation (mainly about dogs) I was able to tell her that I was a pastor and that we were here in Denver to start a church plant in the RCUS and we then invited her to attend one of our Bible studies. Barb then proceeded to tell us that she was once “born-again” but then became Jewish “Not religiously, but only ethnically,” which, in case you were wondering, I have no idea what that means. Besides that she also told us (in a very friendly way) that she was not interested in coming to our Bible study, but she did think that it was a good work that we were involved with.
Please keep Jim, and Barb, and the other souls that we have either met or have heard about in your prayers.
3. Besides our core-group Bible Study which we have on Tuesday evenings, we were able this past Thursday morning to begin having a different Bible Study in which we’re considering the Book of Ecclesiastes. At this point there are only four of us in attendance but hey, it’s a start, and we pray that the Lord might be pleased to bless it both spiritually and numerically.
4. Finally, as we continue in the work of Mercy Street Reformed Church we are often encouraged by these words of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 27:
Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. The almighty, everywhere-present power of God, whereby, as it were, by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.
Whether we’re hoping to plant a church or simply make it through another day, those words are a blessed summary and reminder of what God’s Word teaches us concerning His providence in our lives.