The following video features Jeff Vanderstelt, VP of Acts29 Network, and Soma Communities, the church that Jeff planted and pastors. It beautifully captures and expresses what the church is called to believe in, to be committed to, and how the wonderful gospel expresses itself in the lives of believers in their different contexts. This will give you a good idea of the church plant in Silver Spring, as the vision is very similar.
Praying that God would form and grow our church to be one marked by great love, humble obedience, deep intimacy, and broken-hearted compassion for the lost. All for the sake of His name.
Twenty Eleven. It’s been quite the year but I’m not sure how it’s already mid-October. I feel the time has been going super fast and super slow at the same time. I recently turned 27. To be honest, I stopped caring about my age around 23 so when people ask me how old I am, my default thought response is 23. I’m thankful when Lisa is by my side because I often turn to her with, “Hold up. Am I 26? 27?” TGFL.
One huge blessing this year was the opportunity and privilege to join and commit to a brand new church plant in Silver Spring, MD, which will officially launch next year sometime. This is something that has been on my heart for a few years and while it was a rocky, unexpected, and difficult road to get to this point, I cannot help but be deeply humbled by God’s grace through it all and the sovereign orchestration by his loving, maestro hands. Connecting with the lead planter/pastor and his family has been a great joy. Extremely grateful for them and other new relationships that are developing. Lisa and I will be part of the core team that will be forming over the next few months. Please pray for the church and the community.
Though I’m certainly excited about this church planting thing as a whole, I think, more specifically, the discipleship I’ve been receiving has been the greatest benefit as I’m continually reminded and taught of Christ as the source of life. A continual turning of my heart back to the gospel. Feasting on Jesus which leads to faithful obedience and not the other way around. Thinking deeply about our (all Christians!) call as missionaries for the lost and unsaved. Shifting my perspective of ministry from program-driven to relational and incarnational. The interesting thing is, as I keep my eyes on Christ and am being shaped, I find myself not wanting to do just church-y activity but more obedient activity. I find these obedient calls to expose me of my weaknesses but showing off Christ as I depend on him. I find them to be unexpected and unusual, more during the week and not just simply at church. I find them to demand the death of my pride and life but revealing the glory of God and his resurrection power. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s freeing. I am continually reminding myself to first keep my eyes on Christ to feast on Him and what He has done. Indicatives first, then imperatives. Too often in the past I’ve focused on the imperatives without the indicatives. That’s a dead end street, friends.
By the way, I gave
a the girl a ring this year. On a boat. She didn’t throw it overboard, so it went well. I find it amusing that I gave up my independent life as a bachelor on Independence Day. She is that special. I’m looking forward to married life. I intentionally put in the title, marriage planning and not wedding planning. Wedding planning definitely requires a good amount of work and produces some stress but it’ll get done, one way or another. I think the more important ‘work’ has been marriage planning. It’s been the pursuit of maturation as a godly man and preparation for union with a woman that has made this marriage thing more real to me than emailing and calling wedding vendors and the like. To love as Christ loved the Church. What a call God gives to Men. I recall my pastor confessing to me how his treatment of his wife is directly related to and directly flows from his relationship with the Father. Once again, gospel truth (indicatives) leading to humble obedience (imperatives). Just wanting to feast on Jesus.
Jesus. That’s who all these things are about and for.