Exactly one month from today, I will be sitting next to my wife, Patty, at the AMC Baton Rouge 16 and the opening welcome video will go dark as our worship director, Joel D’Aubin, will lead the first sounds everyone will hear from The Purpose Community Church Worship Band.
And then around 10:35, the lights will come up after the trailer for the message series and I will be facing them—you. Those who will be in attendance at the very first public service of The Purpose Community Church.
I can close my eyes and see it now. I’m showing you my membership card to T.O.C.A. (you’ll have to show up to know what that is!) and telling you about that. I’m teaching on Ecclesiastes 3:1-11. I’m showing you what the Lord has been burning into my life since we’ve moved on January 20. Our worship band starts back up and the point of the day is allowed to resonate in our hearts.
It seems appropriate that on this day—at this moment—one month before that wonderful day arrives, that I reflect on where we have been and where we have come. Because I’ve seen a miracle.
On September 17, 2012, the Lord changed our lives. He called me and Patty to leave our friends (who are more like family) and a church we dearly loved and watched come alive in ministry, Escalon Covenant Church in Escalon, California to move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to start a life-giving church “like you’ve never seen before.”
I remember wrestling through the ramifications of telling our leaders at Escalon Covenant Church about this. Knowing what the Lord has called you to do is a far cry from actually saying goodbye and stepping out in faith.
Those weren’t just “church members”. They were fellow warriors, co-laborers…family. Our children called some of them “Aunt” and “Uncle”. “Grammy” and “Grandy”. With open hearts, they had stepped into the distance between our biological family (all in the south) and ministry in California.
Yet in the miracle of the working of the Holy Spirit, they became partners in this journey, just as they were when we were among them.
We prayed for our house to sell; it needed to sell high. Not because we wanted to come to Baton Rouge and buy a big house, but because we felt led for me to devote myself “full time” to starting The Purpose. This meant one thing: the profit from our house was (and still is!) my salary. It sold high—far higher than anyone apart from God Himself could have imagined.
When we started raising the needed $138,500 budget for launch, we had $0. Now, through the generosity of the Lord’s people (including our church planting network, the Association of Related Churches), The Purpose Community Church has $109,042.
A very complex move occurred without a hitch.
We knew one person in Baton Rouge…well, Patty knew one person from high school (note: we’re both a long way from being in High School). Today, we have an incredible Launch Team doing the impossible: starting a church one month from today.
Watching the Lord take us from a plane leaving Baton Rouge on September 17, 2012 to standing on the precipice of the final month before September 21, 2014 at 10AM, I’m overwhelmed with excitement and awe. That the Creator of the Universe has chosen us to expand His Kingdom in this great city is an honor.
Our faith has stretched.
Our patience has extended.
Our love has deepened.
Our vision has enlarged.
Our reality is so far from what we could see one year ago.
And to think…the streams of vision given while sitting on a plane leaving Baton Rouge after a weekend getaway in September 2012 is coalescing. One month from today.
Hey Joel, I’m rejoicing with you, Patty and the team, as you anticipate and prepare for your September 21 launch. I pray God’s blessings on all of you. I’m asking our gracious Papa to give you wisdom, strength and discernment, as you reflect and honor our Savior, proclaim truth, serve and shepherd people, and watch God work across the city of Baton Rouge. Keep lookin’ up!
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