A Seed Sprouts
Jessica and I have spent the better part of a decade praying about, getting training, and seeking resources to plant a church in California’s North Bay. Every step of the journey was mixed with both excitement and challenges and there were certainly seasons where it felt like we’d never get this thing off the ground. But by the never-ending grace of God, 2018 became the year that the seed of vision for this church plant finally sprouted!
In October 2017, we finished up our season serving and incubating with Anthem Church in Marin County and made the full-time transition to building a Core Team of people who would share our passion and vision to plant The Parish Church in Petaluma. Many church plants start with a Core Team of people they move with to the area they’re going to plant in, but our journey started a little differently. We were faced with the challenge of starting from scratch by praying, casting vision, and trusting the Lord to send people that would partner with us.
For the last quarter of 2017 and the beginning quarter of 2018 we did just that. And by the grace of God we began to meet new people who had the desire to start a new church in Petaluma just like we did. Just like God had planted a vision in our hearts, he had been planting one in theirs. We started dreaming about what it would look like to be a gospel-centered family practicing the way of Jesus for the renewal of the city. And that dream started to take shape and others started joining the Core Team.
The Core Team formed our first Missional Community and started gathering together on Sunday Mornings (along with our weekly ‘Family Meal’) around March and it soon became obvious that we needed to launch a more public-friendly Sunday Service to broaden the net of influence we might have in our city. We all knew that we didn’t want to impede our vision that church is an identity rather than an activity (we “are” the church — we don’t “go to” church) but also realized that people in our city were expecting a larger, more formal service that wasn’t in a living room.
And so we prayed and sought the Lord on what that might look like and when it should happen. Through a lot of amazing circumstances, we launched our Sunday Services (we call them Sunday Gatherings) at Meadow School on September 9, 2018. In an effort to put our rhythms where our values are, we decided to gather corporately the first three Sundays of every month. Every fourth and the occasional fifth Sunday we scatter out into our city and take the liturgy into living rooms, restaurants, or parks. It’s been an incredible season.
We’ve seen growth from a Core Team of 20 people at our first Sunday Gathering to attendance of 40 people at our last Sunday Gathering on December 16! Though this isn’t everything, it is an important thing. It’s increased our influence and the amount of conversations we’re having with people who are both searching and looking to get plugged into a gospel-centered church! It’s increased the awareness of who we are and who we’re trying to be in Christ — and that has created prime opportunities to share the gospel!
Heading Into 2019
We’re heading fast into 2019 with excitement, anticipation, and joy. We’ve got plans to multiply our inaugural MC into two or three new ones, bring on new faces to our team, and continue to see growth. We’re even trying to raise funds to bring in a worship leader.
We have a vision for the church to raise $2,000/mo for a potential leader, for them to raise $2,000 outside on their own, and then for them to earn $1,000-$2,000/mo via the marketplace. This will allow them to work 2/3 time for the church helping lead us liturgically at Sunday Gatherings and pastorally throughout the week. Will you join us praying that the Lord would bring the right person AND help us raise the necessary funds?
We’re also hoping to host a few events in our city that put Jesus and his gospel in the spotlight in ways that our city can and will engage with. All of this is so that we can continue to grow as a gospel-centered family practicing the way of Jesus for the renewal of the city.
Help Us Do It
We’ve only made it this far because of the wonderful, gracious, and sovereign hand of God. We’ve asked him for audacious things all along the way and we’re not slowing down. He has powerfully used so many of you to accomplish that purpose. Will you join us in praying that the Lord would help us raise the funds necessary to grow into 2019? Tithing has steadily increased, but like any startup (church or business), we rely on outside funding as we journey towards being self-sustaining. In order to bring a 2/3 time worship leader, we’ll need charitable donations from faithful, kingdom-minded people both inside and outside of The Parish Church.
For those that have financially supported us for so long, we thank you from the depths of our hearts. You have sustained us and helped breath life into us through every step of this journey. We’d love for you to continue along this journey with us with the full-knowledge that you are a vital part in what the Lord is doing in Petaluma by planting and rooting The Parish Church.
If you’re hearing about The Parish Church for the first time and/or have been looking for ways to partner with a gospel-centered work, would you prayerfully consider partnering with us financially either through a one-time, year-end donation or an ongoing monthly donation? All donations are tax-deductible.