From my college days, as an immature and overly-zealous theologian, to the beginning of 2018, entrenched as the Teaching Pastor of BLDG 28, my favorite book of the Bible was Paul’s letter to the Romans. As an unabashedly Reformed fellow, how could it not be? But as the weight of betrayal and the darkness of suffering invaded my life two years ago, my love for Romans did not diminish but my appreciation for the Psalms blossomed. The Psalms are theologically rich, yet undeniably practical. On repetitive display is both the unrivaled might and the unyielding mercy of God. Confidence in, reliance upon, trust for, and worship of the Lord are common motifs. These are hymns of vision and hope; songs that remind us, in this fractured existence, that there is a Divine path forward and that victory has been accomplished through the One that all Psalms testify to and direct us toward: Christ Jesus. In the past two years I have bathed myself almost daily in the Psalter; and in those two years this hymnbook has become my favorite collection in Scripture. In times of despair, anguish, or trial I turn to the Psalms. And when I am filled with hope and renewed in confidence I move with the Psalms as my fuel. In this Divine confidence I currently find myself: brimming with excitement that spills over in hope for the future of our church and the continued rolling out of God’s kingdom in Clearwater and around this world. This thrill and expectation has personal ramifications which I would be more than happy to share one-on-one over a cup of Joe, but it has intensely pastoral – and therefore church-wide – implications as well that I am stoked to share with you here.
Just over a year ago I penned a blog declaring my hope for the future movement of BLDG 28. Many of you responded to that post expressing your enthusiastic anticipation for the materialization of that vision. Since that time each of those declared hopes have experienced movement, some coming to full completion while others continue to be a work in progress. We have seen Confessors of Christ planted in Kissimmee, BLDG 28 outreach broaden with souls impacted eternally as a result, our Kids Wing expanded, our internship rolled out, twenty-two souls follow Jesus in baptism, two mission endeavors embarked upon through our church, and our Thursday worship gathering launched (which the movement of God through has been nothing short of miraculous). To capture the words of Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, “Aslan (Jesus) is on the move and the deep magic of the White Witch (evil itself) is weakening.” God is moving. The kingdom is advancing. Souls are being renewed. There is much to be thrilled over. For us here at BLDG 28, this is taking shape in multiple ways, a few of which I’ll let you in on below…
A Hunger to Explore and be Transformed by the Scripture
There are myriads of competing voices in our day. Preferences and opinions are strong. People dislike a church or move on to another for reasons far from Biblical. However, I am increasingly encouraged, in the midst of a spiritually collapsed culture, by the obvious hunger for the word of God that I am witnessing and hearing of throughout our church. Young people are taking Scripture seriously and gathering on their own to unpack its pages. Excitement continues to build around our journey through the powerful narrative of Exodus. Scripture journals sold out at our resource table three times in the past month. Yes, there will always be immaturity, discord, and Biblical illiteracy among some in the church, but I am supremely encouraged by the Scriptural desire and maturation that is taking place.
The Gospel Movement of Confessors of Christ, Local Church, and Grace Church
Over the past year we have commissioned, supported, and help to govern Confessors of Christ Church in Kissimmee. The church – in a very difficult and transient area – has continued to grow and Gospel fruit is being produced. Just two Sunday evenings ago I had the privilege of preaching at Confessors one year anniversary and celebrating God’s faithfulness to them. We have also partnered in prayer, coaching, and support of Local Church St Pete and Grace Church Miami, both of which launched in January of this year, and both of which are being sustained and are growing by God’s grace. We truly thank God for each of these churches and value our continued partnership in the Gospel. You will be hearing more about each of these church plants this fall.
The Relaunch of our Internship
After unveiling our ministry internship last year we retooled and relaunched the program this August. The Internship Program is the foremost organized means by which we are endeavoring to raise up future leaders within our church. For the next year four individuals have committed to serve, observe, and learn under our staff so that they can better serve BLDG 28. I am extremely grateful for each of these individuals and have already enjoyed so much my time caring for and instructing them.
The Formalized Development of Teachers and Leaders
Over the past two years there has been much discussion about the need for a formalized pipe-line of leadership development. Finally, this summer, we made the move to begin creating that pipeline. The internship is a portion of this, but additionally we have launched a preaching/teaching class to see those desiring to teach the Gospel better equipped, and a couple Wednesdays back we hosted our first Leadership Developmental Training for more than two dozen leaders.
The Commissioning of a Missionary to Indonesia
If you have not had the chance to converse with Erin King then you have missed out on a remarkable blessing. Erin is one of our covenant members, is just 20 years old, and has sensed God’s calling upon her life to serve the people of Indonesia with the Gospel. As a church, we heard from Erin at all of our gatherings last weekend, and we are excited to partner with her in prayer and support as her sending church as she deploys in October.
Creating a Planting Track
Over the past several months our staff has been privileged to host numerous pastors and planters on Thursday evenings and then to mentor and provide instruction for the development of their churches following our gathering. Currently we are formalizing this process so that we can better serve other Gospel-centered churches in the upcoming months and years.
Releasing a Podcast
This project has been in the works for months but, God willing, we will be releasing a podcast late this fall or early in 2020 that will deal with legit Christianity in the throws of a progressive culture. We know you will enjoy laughing and learning with us through this unique platform.
Yes, Jesus is on the move and the deep magic is weakening before the rolling tide of His kingdom. I am thrilled to see this movement and humbled to be a part of it with you all.