For three weeks we've met to worship as Riverstone. We haven't had a big community outreach (yet). We haven't experienced a vast surge in attendance (yet). We haven't had any events to tell people about Riverstone (yet). So what happens next?
First, let me tell you what's been happening for a while now: our core group, consisting of our pastor (that's me), head deacon (Roger), treasurer (Mary), secretary (Donna), and consultant (Dennis) have been meeting weekly to address initial steps for forming a church legally. We discuss issues of incorporation (we're officially Riverstone York, Inc for tax/legal purposes as of Friday!) We talk through what it takes to have our weekly gatherings and consider other practical issues related being a church. I'm happy to go into more detail sometime, but suffice it to say, they are making sure the basic, "nuts and bolts" things are being done so we can function legally and financially as a church. They deserve a lot of credit and thanks because, aside from my position, everything is volunteer—so these folks are dedicating a lot of their personal time to this endeavor!
Over the next several weeks, we'll officially be starting our launch phase. This includes recruiting a launch team, reaching out to the community, establishing systems for follow-up with visitors and those we meet in the community, and encouraging regular attendees and visitors alike to participate in groups and be a part of the launch team themselves.
Another important aspect we're working on is expressing who we are through our statement of faith and the bylaws of our church so everybody knows what we believe and how we function.
I'm only providing the 30,000 feet view of the process. There are many details, conversations, hours of preparation and study, etc. that go into all of this. I'm establishing connections with other church planters, talking to local pastors and pastors from around the country, learning as much as I can, and praying regularly for the future of this church. It's a busy time but also an exciting time—if you have an interest in joining us on this journey, please let me know.
As I finish today's post, I want to be clear about one thing—though the things listed in the paragraphs above are important, none of them qualify as most important. Above all else, we seek to be a community where people grow closer to God and each other through a new and/or deepening relationship with Jesus.
With that as our focus, I can't wait to see what happens next.