Making disciples who make disciples
In March we launched 3 new Oaks Communities. These are the primary way we are seeking to make disciples. We've defined a disciple as someone who is pursuing rhythms of being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and joining what Jesus is doing.
These communities seek to do this by practices of growing in grace & pursuing change as a family on mission.
We have ~45 people connected to these groups on a regular basis and dozens more relationally being discipled through these Communities in our neighborhood.
We also have 30 adults who are beginning our new process to become members of The Oaks and to go "all in" to make disciples with us!
Weekly Vision & Worship Gatherings
Since February 10th we have been gathering weekly each Sunday night at 5pm for worship, prayer, and equipping.
We are spending all of 2019 in a Vision Series called Life on Mission where we are slowly unpacking our 10 Convictions as a church. We have already had 3 other leaders preach! We are deeply thankful for the leaders God is raising up here.
We began in the basement of our partner church, Denver Christian Bible Church (who is graciously renting their space to us). By God's grace, we kept growing each week and had to move upstairs in their main gathering space in March. We are so grateful to have a semi-permanent home already with plenty of room to grow.
Easter weekend marks a turning point for our community as we will begin the next phase of transitioning this weekly time a little away from "core team development" and to being much more intentional to create a welcoming space to invite people who are not yet following Jesus to explore life with Jesus and with us at their own pace.
We will "officially" launch more publicly to our neighborhood this August.
We love that our church family is made up of singles, young married couples, and families. We want to be a church that takes seriously the responsibility and the privilege of seeing the next generation enjoy Jesus and live for the joy of others.
We have ~15 kiddos (and a few babies on the way!!!) already part of our community & the neighborhood where God has called us is full of families! We are using the New City Catechisms as a simple way of spiritual formation for all ages and as our primary resource for equipping parents & caregivers as the primary disciple makers in the home.
We hosted two other church planters and their churches for our Good Friday Gathering. These two men have become dear friends and I am so grateful for their churches. Will you pause to pray for Josh Cook (left) from Dwell Church and Kevin Hasseneck (right) from Calvary Wellspring?
Each year Send Network hosts 2 church planter assessment retreats for the Front Range. If you've been following our journey, you'll remember Cayla & I were assessed almost 3 years ago. I am a huge believer in this process and so grateful for how God has used it in our life. It's really fun to now get to be part of these as God calls more people to explore church planter in our region.
This month I was humbled to serve as an assessor to help these 12 couples discern God's calling to church planting!
The Oaks Church is praying we would be able to plant our first church within our first 3 years. We're asking God to raise up a church planting resident to begin to be developed soon!
Will you please pray with us toward that end?
Since February I have been part of a cohort with The Send Network being developed in areas essential to planting healthy churches that last! Here we are working through an exercise on developing a clear mission, values, measurables, and strategy.
Through our partnership with The Send Network, we have access to a Leadership Development Pipeline called "Multiply." The Oaks will be taking some strategic leaders & potential church planters or global sent ones through this! I have been helping develop video training content for this curriculum. Last month we worked on equipping people to understand culture to be able to better speak the gospel.
Send Network regularly gathers planters & pastors from our city together for brotherhood, encouragement, and equipping. Here leading missiologist Brad Brisco came to town to train us on the missionary nature of the Church. And a few of us got to enjoy a Nuggets game together! So grateful for the friendships of these guys!
Strategic ways to pray this Summer
1 | LoveDenver Initiative
We will be welcoming 6 interns to our city for all of June & July and 8 week long teams from partner churches coming from out of town to help us serve our neighborhood.
This summer will be full to say the least!
Teams will be meeting needs of our partner organizations & schools, prayer walking our neighborhood, helping start & serve an apartment ministry serving refugee families, helping refugees with paperwork & physical needs, hosting block parties and outdoor movie nights, people group mapping & demographic surveys, sharing the gospel, and a lot more! Please be in prayer that God would begin preparing the soil for our neighbors to see and hear the gospel, for these awesome people as they serve, and for ongoing relationships to form through all this work by our church members! Also, pray for favor with our city and school systems to be able to obtain needed permits and that the way we serve our community these upcoming weeks would create ongoing relationships.
2 | Hospitality & Transformation
Our local mission strategy is simple. The acronym 'B.L.E.S.S.' helps us remember how God has called us to bless our neighborhood. Please pray for our people to be faithful to step into these simple, everyday rhythms and that we would see our first baptisms this year from our friends beginning to follow Jesus!
:: Begin with prayer to awaken to God's heart for the people around us and for sensitivity to join Him where He is already at work.
:: Listen to people & follow the Spirit's leading.
:: Eat with people as a way of opening up our lives and welcoming others as Jesus has welcomed us.
:: Show up consistently to serve and be a faithful presence in the everyday stuff of life.
:: Share the good news about Jesus by weaving threads of the gospel into everyday conversations.
3 | Multiplication
God has been so incredibly kind to us to send us people who want to do whatever it takes to make disciples in our neighborhood and among all nations. Growing by addition is a beautiful thing and we're so thankful for the growth we've seen the last two months, but to be faithful to Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations, we must stay sacrificially committed to leveraging addition growth for the sake of multiplication. Even if The Oaks became one of the fastest growing churches in North America (and we are FAR from that), we would still only barely make a dent in the lostness and need of Denver ALONE, not to mention the need among unreached peoples and places around the globe.
Pray we would...
:: Multiply disciples & communities in our neighborhood. Our faith goal is to see our 3 Communities multiplied to 6 Communities by the end of 2019.
:: Multiply leaders & churches in our city. We are asking God, that by the end of 2019, we will have 1 church planting resident and 1 global sent one in our pipeline to be equipped and sent out from our church in the next 2 years.
:: Multiply kingdom initiatives. We are asking God to give us wisdom in how to invest our resources in Kingdom work. The Spirit is opening doors for partnerships in exciting things around the world and we are trusting God to continue to provide resources & clarity to know how to focus our efforts.