Hope Church. It’s happening. We’ve been praying and preparing for months. We’ve seen God move in our congregation and experienced his power and presence on our leadership team. We’ve felt the support of prayer and financial gifts from people all over the country, and especially from the leadership of our denomination. There’s still so much work to do, but ready or not, by the power of God we’re launching Hope Church on Sunday, September 27th.

Hope Church launches on Sunday, September 27th, 10AM, at 75 E. Schrock Rd. in Westerville.
I’m excited. I’m really, really excited. Church planting is one of the most thrilling vocations on the planet. We get to start on the ground floor of a brand new body of Christ. In our case, we get to see the fruit borne from the marriage of two congregations. We get to see God move in unique and profound ways in the lives of people who have not known him or have been far from him.

Our family has been through hell and back. We’ve discovered the power of the hope that we have in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus has conquered death, and through his resurrection, we have a living hope for our own resurrection, and for eternal life. We’ve learned that, no matter what happens in this life, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is displayed in Jesus. He is alive, and the hope that he offers is a hope of life beyond death, a life that is more powerful death and that cannot be stained by sin or disease. This is why we’re called Hope Church.


What the Book is About

Simple Church offers a strategy for churches to simplify their disciple-making processes, thereby increasing the effectiveness with which they advance God’s kingdom. The book is based on a significant research project done through LifeWay Christian Resources. Over 500 churches responded to a comprehensive survey, with roughly half of respondents considered “growing, vibrant” churches, and the other half being churches that have either plateaued or are experiencing decline. The churches surveyed varied significantly in size, location, style, and ministry focus. Not all vibrant churches were large, and not all plateaued churches were small.

The research revealed that vibrant churches have a significant statistical relationship to simplicity in their approach to ministry and disciple-making. This does not mean, however, that these churches don’t have much to offer, or do things the easy way. In the words of the authors, “simple is basic, uncomplicated, and fundamental.” (p. 16) A simple church is not a shallow church; it is a church that has a clear process for helping people become committed disciples of Jesus Christ.

To have a simple church, you must design a simple discipleship process. This process must be clear. It must move people toward maturity. It must be integrated fully into your church, and you must get rid of the clutter around it.-Simple Church
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To realize that one is complete in Christ is sure proof against the dangers of immature Christianity – the constant search for spiritual novelties, the unnecessary anxieties and fears over status or requirements, the pride over small ‘achievements’ – which threaten Christians in the modern world no less than in the ancient world.

N.T. Wright, Colossians and Philemon (p. 45)

Naming a church is an odd process. It’s both extremely important and not important at all at the same time. Does it really matter what the church is called? Yes, it does. But, seriously, does it? Well, no.

When I planted Ember Church, I had the name picked out years before we actually even started taking the planting process seriously. The name was tied to the idea, even defining it. I could not have planted a church by any other name. But Ember’s time has passed, and now God has a new church for me to have a hand in leading. And that church has a name, too.

Hope Church.*

Christianity speaks to each of the core longings of human beings: the need to be known, the need to be loved, the need to belong, the need to be forgiven, and the need to have a hope that transcends death. The hope we have as Christians is unique in this world because it is not of this world, though it is for this world. Our hope is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that hope not only rescues us from the fear of death, but gives us confidence to live each day with faith and love.

A mature community cultivates a lifestyle of love in the midst of market-style exchanges, a lifestyle of joy in the midst of manufactured desire, peace in the midst of fragmentation, patience in the midst of productivity, kindness in the midst of self-sufficiency, goodness in the midst of self-help, faithfulness in the midst of impermanence, gentleness in the midst of aggression, and self-control in the midst of addiction.

J.R. Woodward, Creating a Missional Culture (p. 31)
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