Where we are
We are now in month five of our transition from Chicago to downtown Raleigh, NC, and we are settling in at Treasuring Christ Church. Acclimating into a new culture has proven a challenge for all of us. Elijah misses his snowy winters; we both miss our neighborhood grocery stores and the ethnic diversity of our home city. In the midst of our sometimes-not-so-graceful adjustments, God has graced us with many things for which we are grateful. Elijah loves his new house and has been enjoying his new surroundings. He has also been making new friends, despite his fear of new people. We praise God for our small group leaders here, who have been over-the-top in welcoming Elijah and Anna and seeking gentle ways to introduce them to other kids in the church. Anna loves her brother and laughs whenever she spots him dancing or goofing around. We are growing relationships with other men and women in the church and have already experienced mutual edification and sharpening.
What have we been up to?
Our first few months here are strategically designed for us to integrate into the TCC family while taking a break from leadership responsibilities. We have been encouraged to jump into areas of service where we can utilize our gifting. Elizabeth has been given the opportunity to use her interest in design to produce TCC’s weekly bulletin as well as other flyers and publications. She has also been given the responsibility of benevolence interviews, meeting with those in the local community who contact our church for financial assistance. Craig recently began his second semester in Emerge, a ministry leadership study, which is deepening his understanding of the Gospel through interaction with the other men in this group. He has also been immersing himself in the DNA of the city of Raleigh by attending neighborhood meetings, talking to neighbors, and interacting with local police.
What about the church plant?
The official planting residency has not yet commenced, but is scheduled to begin in September. Meanwhile, we have been praying and researching which northern city would be most strategic for us to target as Craig and Pastor Sean also determine which areas of Craig’s ministry leadership need to be most developed. One area Craig desires to develop is biblical counseling, and so part of his future training here will include enrolling in courses with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation or the Association of Biblical Counselors. This will be a great benefit for Craig to strengthen his ability to apply Scripture to broken lives.
What is God teaching us?
I, Craig, have recently been contemplating the profound way in which the Gospel satisfies the solitary longing of our hearts. Whether we are seeking supreme pleasure and joy in food, or fantasizing in our music about the heart-gripping romance outside of our reach, our hearts’ pursuit is the same. We want more, and we want it because what we’ve previously experienced just isn’t enough. However, our hearts cannot be satisfied by the escape of more, whether we attempt to content it with a credit card, a love song, or an unending meal. Jesus pointed clearly to the only thing that will fulfill our desire for more: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). The pursuit of the depths of God’s unadulterated love realized through His reign provides the only bottomless source of contentment. This is why we are training here in Raleigh, and why we want to spread Jesus in a northern urban context where the fruitless pursuit of more is so complexly rooted.
How can you partner with us?
We continue to need your partnership in several ways.
- We need your prayers. We need discernment in growing our relationships both within TCC and with others who may join our church planting team. We need godly wisdom as we make financial preparations for a new church. Finally, we need Spirit-directed compassion and practical insight in selecting the most strategic city for the new church.
- We need your financial consideration. We are still not yet officially raising support. However, we need you to prayerfully consider what, if any, financial help you can give in the future. Craig’s full-time job is scheduled to end in September of this year, at which time we will be transitioning to part-time work for an employer and part-time support from those of you who can joyfully give. Once we transition to support-raising over the course of the next several months, we will provide more detailed information regarding specific financial needs and a residency/planting timeline.
- We need your friendship and your presence. We need you to consider what part God might have you play in this new church in the future. What impact could you make if you were to relocate to a city where the Gospel is not prevalent? Pray that God might give you a heart to join such a work.
We are humbled when we consider the love each of you have for us and we are grateful for your friendship!
Craig, Elizabeth, Elijah, and Anna