That is the question we’ve heard again and again since we made the announcement of our upcoming relocation for the purpose of planting churches. Some people haven’t heard of “church planting” others have heard of it but have no idea what it means practically.
To put it simply, we are going to be missionaries in the Burleson/south Fort Worth area.
Rachel, the Wellsbrothers and I have accepted this calling after A LOT of prayer, discussions, wrestling, debating, waiting, thinking, talking, studying, researching and more praying. I’ve felt a calling in this direction for quite some time and I believe that God has used our time here in southern Louisiana to prepare us for precisely what we are about to do.
But some people still wonder what it means to “be missionaries.” At the most basic level it means that we are looking to introduce people to Jesus and call them to join us as we seek to follow him as disciples. We’re prayerfully hoping to start neighborhood Bible studies, house churches, worship gatherings and new churches in general.
More specifically we’ll be partnering with Christ Journey, a 3 year-old church planting church in Burleson (www.christjourneylife.com). Initially, I will be assisting CJ in the area of spiritual formation; working with the intentional processes of evangelism and discipleship – of inviting people to this journey with Christ and assisting them as they become and mature as followers.
We believe that becoming a fully integrated, committed and participatory member of the body is a process rather than solely an immediate event. My role will be to evaluate and cultivate this process, and to both encourage and challenge our community as we continue to journey together. Some of the aspects of this process currently include 3 to 4 person Formation Groups, the 10 week Foundations course, as well as the Marvelous Light and City on a Hill retreats.
Formative events such as these are an important part of a faith community. However, I intend to focus the majority of my time on relationships, even when in the context of events or activities. I want to invest in people more than programs. We’ve already had the opportunity to begin getting to know a few folks from Christ Journey. Thanks to an internet workgroup blog, I get to collaborate with worship planning. We also recently began reading and discussing a book together.
Christ Journey is also preparing to launch a second worship gathering. As this becomes a reality, Chris Chappotin, the Lead Minister/Pastor at Christ Journey will take the leadership role in one service and I in the other. Our prayer and goal is that this will serve as the foundation for the first church plant of Christ Journey.
Since we've already begun collaborating together on worship planning, Chris and I intend to continue working together (and with others) to study, discuss and plan the worship experiences at CJ. I am excited that this approach will allow us to continue to work in community rather than isolation, yet also provides us with opportunity for nourishment - we both will have a worship gathering where we can participate not as someone "in charge."
We'll also focus on developing leadership and launching new house churches and worship gatherings as part of our dream to see the gospel advancing into new communities all over the south Forth Worth area.
For some, the term “house church” is a bit ambiguous and may even have a different meaning than our context. A house church is basically a gathering of several families, usually in someone’s home, for a time of teaching, worship, fellowship and encouragement. House churches are an intentional component of Christ Journey, and a primary source of discipleship and spiritual formation for our community. This is not the same as individual families staying home on Sunday and declaring that they are having “house church.”
Okay, so here’s the deal.
We, like most missionaries, are raising support for this ministry. While we were not offered a salary from Christ Journey (though CJ is handling our funds as they come in) we are very excited and have already begun working in faith.
This means that my family and I are looking for partners willing to support us on a monthly basis, annually or even with a special donation. Donations can be made to Christ Journey on our behalf, which means that they are eligible for tax write-offs. If you (or someone you know) would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me – we should have information packets available very soon and, as anyone who knows me will testify, it won’t be hard to coerce me into talking at length about our calling and what we need.
Thanks to everyone who has already served as encouragers and prayer partners. We are extremely grateful to those who have already begun supporting us and we would also like to thank in advance those of you whom the Lord is currently preparing to join us as financial supporters.
For those who are interested, donations can be mailed to:
Christ Journey Church
P.O. Box 3283
Burleson, TX 76097
(checks can be earmarked "Wells family support" or something similar)