It occurred to me this morning that there are lots of readers of The Reformed Pastor who have been praying for the launch of my church plant, Redeemer EPC, and that I really should give you an update on how things went last weekend. So here it is, and thanks to all of you for your prayers. I believe they were answered with an outpouring of grace from the Lord.
It was really a launch weekend, and started on Holy Saturday with an Easter egg hunt at the elementary school. We had nearly perfect weather, and a turnout of 56 children in all, only nine of which were members of Redeemer mission team households. So 47 kids and their parents came for a first-time event, to a church meeting in a public school that they’d never been to before, and I think they had a wonderful time. My wife told the story of Passion Week and Easter, and to all appearances the children ate it up. We had lots of opportunity to interact with the parents as well. They then sallied forth to find the 600 eggs we’d spread around the schoolyard. Everything went off without a hitch–it was amazing to me (and a testimony to my wife’s organizational skills and the dedication of our team) that we were able to pull off something like this with nary a problem. Maryanne then spent all afternoon and into the evening making greeting cards to send to the families that joined us for the hunt. I’d like to think that getting a home-made card with a handwritten message conveyed to the participants how happy we were to meet them and how much we’d like to see them again.
Easter Sunday worship likewise went as well as we could have hope. We have 101 in attendance, many of whom came in response to personal invitations, many of whom came as a result of our advertising (though we don’t know exactly how many there were of the latter, we know there were a good many people there who weren’t connected in any way to either the mission team or our mother church, Faith EPC), and all of whom came because of a prompting, acknowledged or not, from the Lord. The music was excellent, the hospitality warm and genuine, and the atmosphere electric with the sense that the Holy Spirit was at work. I believe the sermon accomplished what I set out to do, which was answer the question, “Did Jesus really rise from the dead, and what difference does it make?” (That subject is the first in a series I’m doing on the most frequent questions that people ask as they are exploring the Christian faith; our advertising was based on the catch-phrase “Got Questions? There ARE Answers!”) We’ve been contacting those who attended and left contact information this week, and getting some interesting responses, all positive so far. We’ll see this coming Sunday how many return to explore further questions, and perhaps get to know us a little better.
All together, it was a marvelous weekend, one in which we saw the Lord at work among us, and one that has got us energized for what He’s going to do in the future. It was a lot of work, but unquestionably a labor of love on everyone’s part. All I can say is, praise God from whom all blessings flow!