Some church vegetation begin at Easter after delays in COVID-19 …… | Information reporting
"Somebody asked me the other day how I feel about planting a church this weekend," said Derrick DeLain, senior pastor of the Proclamation Church, during a phone call this morning. "I'm hyped, but as it is when you prepare to play in a big game you almost feel like you're going to throw up too. We're looking forward to it, and we're ready – hey, does it matter to you off to wait a second? "
As he pulled into the church parking lot, he spotted a man named David, with whom he was friends. David lives with other men in a nearby house halfway to battle drug addiction.
"Hey David! How are you brother? "he called." See you on Sunday? Hopefully. Yeah, bring her here. "Back on the call, DeLain explained how relationships with David and others were built as they walked around the church property.
Such spontaneous service opportunities have become indispensable in the past year for pastors in general and church planters like DeLain in particular.
COVID-19 threw countless plans out the window and made executives of all kinds adapt.
For example, the official start of the Proclamation Church takes place this Sunday at Easter. However, the original launch should be earlier this year. When the number of positive COVID-19 cases increased around Thanksgiving, those plans were changed. Instead, a possible “soft launch” began in January, which consisted of the Proclamation Church and invited guests from the congregation.
Due to changing precautionary measures for pandemics, churches hold services ten times more often at Easter than at Easter at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. Some churches have remained in their ward due to health guidelines or reservations and will meet for the first time on the Sunday of the Resurrection. And for some new churches like the Proclamation, this week is not only the first time since the pandemic began, but also the first time they have gathered in the open air.
Church planting can be a strenuous and unpredictable process during normal times. The pandemic made it even more difficult.
After six years pastoring the Summit Church campus in Durham, North Carolina, DeLain felt compelled to start a church through The Summit in the Nashville area. So his family and others moved as the core team that would make up the Proclamation Church. Along the way, they met Glenwood Baptist Church, a graying congregation that wanted to increase its presence in the area.
Last August, he and other members of the core team met Glenwood Baptist. “I put in a plan for resuscitation that she and we merged into the Proclamation Church. I've talked about strategies in discipleship, evangelism, and other areas of ministry, ”he said.
The Glenwood leaders agreed, and that conversation lasted all autumn. Sundays were reserved for both groups to meet for worship.
"We wanted to create healthy DNA and structure with healthy systems," explained DeLain. "Let's build a relationship and get to know each other so we can trust each other."
According to Matt Maestas, a Kansas City-based church planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board for the SEND network, church plantings have grown different in both their locations and their starting approaches. Easter is a popular starting point, but it's definitely not the only one.
"I encourage church planters to also find times that reflect a 'normal' start for a ward's calendar," he noted.
This includes the beginning of the school year, the calendar year in January or the beginning of summer. The last option, he pointed out, can be used to gain momentum through events like Vacation Bible School or sports camps.
In 2020, Maestas watched church planters either pause their startup for six months or more, or continue their startup in a virtual context. "It was really different, from church to church, from city to city – even within a city," he commented.
That was the case before the pandemic, but discussions about security and masks were as lively in new churches as in established ones. Faced with these challenges, Maestas praised the pastors' general response to COVID-19 from pastors in all situations, not just those he knows personally.
“If you compare this leadership response from the churches to that of government, business and education, our church leaders have kicked them out of the park. They switched gears and made changes to interact with their people in a meaningful way, ”he said.
Image: Courtesy Proclamation Church / Facebook / Baptist Press
At the Proclamation Church, plans to delay the first launch were already being discussed when a longtime member of Glenwood Baptist died of COVID-19. This led to an official decision to delay, not only because of obvious concerns about the spread of the virus, but also because of its impact on older adults who want to personally return to their church family.
As with many church plants, the average age of the proclamation is younger. But DeLain wants older adults to feel safe and have a place to share their spiritual gifts. These age differences have been his intent all along.
"We have prayed that older people, some spiritually gray hair, would be in our church," he said. “We want some Titus 2 women and men who were near the block. When we first met with Glenwood, we felt that it was God who answered our wish for it. "
Since January, the Proclamation Church has held two preview services every Sunday in the 350-seat shrine formerly known as Glenwood Baptist Church. With social distancing and wearing masks, around 115 participated. During the week, the Church gathers in family groups, a practice that began last fall.
On the way halfway down the house this morning, David recognized DeLain and responded with a "What's the matter, Rev.? Yes, I've spoken to the others and we could show up on Sunday."
DeLain is encouraged by the advances the proclamation has already established in the community. "Hopefully these people will get to know Jesus halfway through," he said. COVID-19 has taken a toll on people in many ways, he added, not just physically but also mentally as it has affected the economy and relationships.
“When people ask me if I should plant a church this weekend, I say that God has done something so far and He's still going to move,” DeLain said. "After all, he loves his church a lot more than we do and will take care of it."