Nothing we do as a church is done apart from teamwork, kind of like the Pilgrims who set sail from England to North America in 1620. They had a vision for New World. But there was no way that any one of them was going to be able to see that vision become a reality. It was going to take a team. But not only would it take a team of like-minded visionaries—those visionaries would have to be willing to make sacrifices and endure uncomfortable circumstances. I suppose not everyone who could have made the journey got on board the ship. It just wasn’t for everyone. The risks would be huge; but so would be the rewards.
Sailing in the Mayflower to establish a New World is a lot like church planting. It requires a compelling vision that people buy into and say, “Yes, this must happen.” We have to believe that the vision is worth the cost. So, you need a compelling vision, but also you have to have a team to see a vision become a reality. Like a dangerous journey, church planting involves risk. There are no guarantees of success; only the thrill of the adventure and hope of enduring glory.
Creekstone is the result of a vision to see a New World established—the dream of an outpost of grace in a graceless world, where people come alive to the wonder of the gospel and live all of life in view of the cross! A world characterized by the soil of radical grace from which authentic community grows and blooms into organic mission, where those who are awakened to grace can’t help but invite others to come and see the glory of this Savior-hero named Jesus.
I want to invite you to sail with us—to become part of the “Creekstone Crew.”
If you want to sign up for the adventure of a lifetime, then there are four questions I want us to be asking over and over in order to maintain individual and community health. The key word in each question begins with a G: growing, gifts, group and giving.
The first question is, “Am I growing in grace?” Am I more aware of God’s grace than I am my guilt? Is the cross growing in significance in my understanding of the Christian life. Am I feeling more free? More secure? and more loved by God than ever before? Is Jesus’ statement from the cross, “it is finished” the motto of my life?
The second question is: “Am I using my gifts?” In other words, am I actively participating on a ministry team. We are at a point of growth that we must have all hands on deck—and thankfully we have a lot of hands around here. This is especially true if we ever go to go to a second service at some point in the future. A virtual army of volunteers will be needed to see that vision become a reality.
The third question is: “Am I actively participating in a K-Group?” Like I said, as we grow wide, we also must grow deep, and these community or home fellowship groups are going to be critical for the cohesion of our body and the health of our ministry. You can think of K-Groups like the organs of a body. When the organs are healthy, the body functions as it was designed.
But there is a fourth question, which is, “Am I giving to the vision?” As you know, financial stewardship is a faith issue. It shows that we really trust God to provide for us. Although he actually provides 100% of our needs, returning the minimum tithe reinforces in my heart that it is ultimately not my work that saves and sustains me, it is God’s work through Jesus that saves and sustains me in every way—spiritually and materially. My family moved to Dahlonega in late July of 2009 and I have never, to my knowledge, never spoken about money, and that is probably a mistake, because financial stewardship is such a major spiritual health indicator. Not to mention that team giving will be a major component for seeing Creekstone’s gospel vision fulfilled. Up to this point, we have relied on a great deal of outside financial support to see us through. But that support has come to an end. Although we are still under the supervision of our sending church, Perimeter, and one day will be an independent, separate congregation, we are now on our own financially. We have to pay for our own staff (who are the equippers of our volunteers). We pay for vision banquets. We pay to use the high school, to have an office on the square, and to purchase seemingly mundane but important things like office supplies, a photocopier, chairs, pens and paper. This past week we purchased our first new signage in over two years. And this year, because we have grown, we had to buy a moving truck, rent a storage facility, and buy worship equipment like sound boards, screens, speakers and stands. With more children, we have had to purchase nursery equipment like room dividers, toys and more cribs. And we are committed to missions beyond Creekstone. Right now, we are financially helping to support Campus Outreach locally, church planting regionally (for example, we are going to play a major role in a new church plant that we are helping to get off the ground in Ellijay, where I will be the coach for the church planter), and we also support missions globally, from Tanzania to India as we seek to establish outposts of grace around the world!
When the Mayflower departed her English port, she had provisions from the Old World. Eventually, the New World context would have to support the New World vision. The same is true with us. There is no going back. It is not time to burn the ship and live off the land. We are New World christians seeking, by grace, to establish an outpost of grace.