What we’ve been doing and learning
It’s been a great two months since our last update. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to be involved in conversations with people God has sent our way. Nothing beats the thrill of opening up the Word of God with someone and watching the Spirit of God light up his or her eyes with understanding. Elizabeth continues to regularly offer biblical counseling out of our home, and both of us have met with a couple of individuals who came to our church requesting financial assistance. Listening to their stories, and sharing the love of God is both humbling and motivating.
We’ve also enjoyed some family time together at local pools and parks, and earlier in June we had a relaxing extended weekend with Elizabeth’s family at a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains here in North Carolina. Elijah and Anna really enjoyed their time with their grands and great-grands.
We were also able to serve in a week long Back Yard Bible Club in an underprivileged part of town, where we played with the kids in the community, shared the Gospel, and taught them Bible lessons. Through this, we made contact with a grandmother who brought her grandchildren to club. We followed up with her with prayer in her home, and God has developed this relationship into a weekly Bible study. She, her friend, and sister, all of whom do not attend church, have shown enthusiasm for this to be held in her apartment. Please pray for D’s frail health, and pray for a further opening of her apartment complex to the light of the Gospel.
Where we are going
The last time we wrote all of you, Elizabeth and I requested ongoing prayer support for deciding between our two target cities, Pittsburgh or Chicago. We want to thank everyone who prayed for us to have God-directed clarity and passion for one city above the other. God answered prayers with a firm confidence and finality which Elizabeth and I honestly did not anticipate.
In Pittsburgh, we sensed a definite need for additional church planting, and were encouraged to meet a group of pastors there organizing efforts to spread the Gospel. The trip to Chicago in May, however, impacted us even more deeply. God used our nine days in the city to reignite our hearts for the multi-ethnic diversity and unique Gospel needs there. Through a handful of like-minded pastors in various neighborhoods, He introduced us to opportunities in the South Side and West Side, which we had never previously thought possible. We yearn to hear the praises of God’s people in these neighborhoods, some of which currently possess minimal Gospel presence and much hurt. We love Chicago. We want to watch God regenerate a new group of believers in this city. And we want to praise His reconciling work across class lines and skin tones as we witness the creation of one new humanity, united in Christ.
What is next
Our next steps include church planting assessments by the TCC elders, the formation of a planting team, and finalizing our vision and strategy for spreading the truth of the Gospel in the context of our specific neighborhood. We fly to Chicago again next week to speak with additional pastors and planters, visit various neighborhoods on the South and West Side, and attend the Legacy Conference, a discipleship training event whose aim is to impact urban youth.
In addition to all of this, we will soon be actively raising financial support for the new church. Please be watching for a more detailed letter explaining how you can join our work with your financial giving within the next two weeks.
How you can pray
- Humility and wisdom, which are necessary ingredients for knowing when to take a break from the planning and priorities and simply trust God’s movement.
- Mindfulness and attentiveness to one another’s needs within our family
- Camaraderie, unity, and trust among our future team
Craig, Elizabeth, Elijah, and Anna