I got a B.A. in reformed theology and a M.Div. in internaitonal church planting. I spent three years planting house churches in Bangladesh. Church planting at home shouldn't be too hard, right?
Wrong. I'm resolved that church planting is difficult, regardless of "who," "to whom," and "where." The specific difficulties change; we're not plaged by two month long monsoon seasons in North Carolina, but people are vastly less relational, and that can be more devasting than any monsoon for gospel friendships.
I've learned that people who raise their own support to obey God's call are remarkable. We served overseas with the International Mission Board (IMB), and since the board raises support on behalf of its missionaries, we were never personally burdened or blessed by that process, until now. Despite returning stateside, our call to foreign missions has only strengthened, so we're walking the path of faith funded ministry, and right now it seems like climbing a mountain.
I've learned that Christianity in America is thriving. If that's not your experience, follow me. Of course, I've noticed that the majority of Sunday morning services haven't changed in forty years; not in content, attendence numbers, nor diversity, but I'm refering to that beautiful remnant who keep these sleepy churches breathing. The ones who shine, despite the rain; the ones who volunteer, the ones who set out twice as many chairs every week, because they know God can fill them. The ones who ask to pray for you, then pray for you on the spot, and then bring it up the next time y'all meet to see what God has done. This past year, God's gathered this beautiful remnant around me and I'm resolved that no matter what happens to America, the faith of her Christian community will deepen and thrive.
Finally, I've learned that technology is less helpful than it appears. The irony of typing that out on this $1000 computer that's wirelessly connected to a multi-billion coaxial cable/fibre optic gobal information network does not esape me.