April 2014 Update

Winter has given way to spring and the new season has brought many changes. Everything is turning green and bright with color, allergies have returned with a vengeance, and people are coming out of the hibernation that contained them through the winter. The turning of this particular season has been nothing short of a metaphor for the life of the church God has called us to plant in Franklin, TN. 

Some of you may have heard the story by now, but it is likely that many of you haven’t. Over the past two months, we have been seeking the Lord and wisdom in regards to the name we had given to our church planting journey here in Franklin. After being known as Covenant Community Church upon legal incorporation and in our initial gatherings in our neighborhood, we have decided to change the name moving forward. For more of the story, you can read an update from March here. Beginning today, we will officially be know as Sojourn Church. There were many long conversations and brainstorming sessions over church names, but we continued to return to the concept of Sojourn. The concept is derived from Scripture and we believe that it translates well into our current context. So many have moved here seeking something other than what they already have. The Nashville area is often thought of as a place where people move to chase a dream or to take a step up the corporate ladder. Our city is a stepping stone, a point along the journey for many. This is much like our walk with Christ. As Christ followers, our careers, houses, possessions, are not a destination, rather a piece of the journey. This world is not our home. We are sojourners, aliens in a foreign land. Sojourn speaks to a long journey or a temporary dwelling place. Sojourn speaks to redemption and deliverance from bondage or slavery. Life is a journey and we want ours to be marked by the hope we have in Christ, the new life he has given, and to reflect to the world the grace that he has shown each of us. For these reasons, and many more, we happy to announce the birth of Sojourn Church in Franklin, TN! Stay tuned as we will be releasing a new website in the weeks to come, along with new social media accounts. 

One of the foundations of the Christian faith is what we celebrate on Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, defeating sin and death for those who follow him, changed everything. It changed the face of history. And it changed our individual history. We were so blessed to celebrate this momentus occasion with friends and neighbors. The Lord opened the door for us to host a Resurrection celebration for our community, held on the lawn behind the Resident’s Center. We were able to promote this through the weekly community email twice, as well as two Facebook posts to the neighborhood page. People responded in an amazing way and we saw God’s grace displayed before us. After hearing from about 30 people that they would be attending, we borrowed 55 chairs from a church in Nashville. It didn’t take long for us to run out of those chairs and several rocking chairs and pool chairs. The Lord moved in a mighty way and more than 130 people joined us to the celebrate the risen Savior. Several people asked that we make this a yearly tradition, while several others mentioned that we should do this every week! Just a few days before Easter I shared with our team that we were doing all we could and that God was going to have to move for us to see the community respond. And that he did! We cannot take any credit for what happened. All the credit is His and all the glory is God’s!

We are incredibly excited for this coming weekend. Several weeks back we decided to help plan and throw a Kentucky Derby party for our neighborhood. Others have since joined the charge and we are very excited about the opportunity to get dressed up and meet some new neighbors this weekend. Please pray that the Lord would give us the opportunity to meet new people and that we would be able to continue to build relationships that have already begun. In addition to this, we are excited to spend the weekend with a couple who is considering joining us on mission here in Franklin. The husband and I worked together and also served together in ministry for two and half years. He has been a great friend to us, one we consider family. We are incredibly humbled that the Lord would answer our prayers for workers to join us, but even more so that it would be such a good friend, who is incredibly gifted. Please pray that the Lord would direct our paths as we discuss the possibility of them joining us.

In closing, please commit these things to prayer on our behalf:

  • Jana and the baby, who is dues on June 3rd. Pray for healthy, strength, and rest.

  • Favor in the community.

  • Our follow-up conversations with those interested in being a part of Sojourn Church.

  • Monthly worship gatherings. We are planning to host monthly worship services throughout the summer. 

  • Workers to join us! The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few.

  • Finances. Pray for our upcoming fundraising and for provision through new people joining our team.

I look forward to sharing many exciting things with you very soon! 

In His Grace,

Chris

March 2014 Update

As I sit and write this, I am looking out the window to seeing quarter sized snow flakes falling. I’m not talking about three or four either; it is really coming down. To put it in perspective, I can’t see across the pond that is just a few hundred yards long. Is it just me or is this absolutely crazy?!

We were blessed as a family to have been able to be with one of our partner churches, Gilliam Springs Baptist Church, for their annual missions conference in February. While it is always a joy to see so many familiar faces and catch up with those we haven’t seen in years, I am so thankful for the love and care that this church family shows our family. What an incredible weekend for hundreds of people from Gilliam Springs and surrounding churches to come together around the call that we all have to be missionaries. There were missionaries from all over the world, those working in human trafficking, and a few church planters from around the United States. I was reminded while we are there the importance of a strong prayer team to intercede for our ministry and for the work of all those representing the King around the globe. Thank you for praying for our family and for our work here in Franklin! Join me in praying for those in our lives who scattered to the ends of the earth for the sake of the gospel!

“Where does your church meet?” This is probably the most common question I hear when talking to others about Covenant. For the time being we are meeting in our house and look to move to the community center in our neighborhood in the months to come. However, the space available in the community center is not ideal long term, especially once we begin our public worship gatherings. With this in mind, and the fact that our heart has been to gather in our local elementary school for some time, I went to meet with the principal of Pearre Creek Elementary School a couple of weeks ago. We discussed how Covenant is partnering with them and a few ways we could serve the staff, students, and families of the school over the next six months. I also took this chance to ask her about the possibility of us meeting in the school, once we get to that point. We are so blessed by her response and thankful that the Lord has opened a door for us to gather for worship in our community, specifically in Pearre Creek Elementary! While many school districts and principals are closing their facilities to churches and religious group, the Lord has moved and made a way for us to gather here. Join us in praising him for this blessing!

Do you ever feel like you have really done something well, just to find out that you missed something right in front of your face? Oh, it’s just me? No, I didn’t think so. When we first felt the Lord leading us to this neighborhood, I spent a great deal of time researching and studying the area and connecting with churches that were serving the community. Before deciding to name our church Covenant Community Church, we searched online for churches using the same or similar names, even to the point of searching the businesses registered with the State of Tennessee. This search did not reveal any information that would cause any hesitation in naming the church Covenant Community. However, we recently discovered a church in our community with a very similar name, but very different than Covenant, and believe that it could be confusing to those in the community who may not be familiar with Covenant. With this in mind, through much prayer, wise counsel, and conversations with our leadership team, we have decided to rename Covenant Community Church. Please be in prayer for us this week as we have set Friday as a deadline for renaming the church!

I will update you soon with the new name for our church and about a couple of upcoming events we are going to be doing in our community. In the meantime, please be in prayer for three families, the Fowlers, Lawrences, and WIlsons, as we leave Wednesday for the Verge Conference in Austin, TX. This is a gathering for missional leaders and focuses around practical ways to engage in mission in every area of your life. We will be driving, so pray for safe travels as we drive there on Wednesday and Thursday, and return on Sunday.

In His Grace,

Chris