Reflections on Our Sending Service
“Then after they fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.” (Acts 13:3)
This past Sunday night was personally one of the most meaningful services that I’ve ever been a part of, and I trust it was for others as well. More than 8 years ago I was sitting in the living room of some friends in Washington D.C. praying for a church plant in Providence, RI. We didn’t just pray for a church plant. We prayed for a church that would plant churches. More than 8 years later, this past Sunday night, Grace Harbor gathered together to send out Mount Hope Church from among us. The time in between has been an amazing ride for which I am grateful to the Lord.
To serve the Lord is a gracious privilege, period. To be used by Him in His service is grace upon grace. What God has done by His Spirit at Grace Harbor is nothing short of that. His Spirit has created something remarkable, even though at first glance there’s nothing really remarkable about us; however, beyond the surface of what someone sees on Sunday morning is genuine love for one another and for Christ. Members here have made sacrifices for one another and for Christ. People give, serve, rebuke, repent, disciple, evangelize, and they do this together for one another’s good and for God’s glory. That’s grace upon grace.
To see this same body of people commit to plant another church in the area is simply a gracious privilege from God that I can hardly put into words. And I’m so thankful for the way in which this first plant has come about.
Joel and Jen showed up at Grace Harbor shortly after Melissa and I arrived. They’ve been a part of this remarkable journey as a church. As members, they’ve lived out the covenant with us and built us up in Christ. We watched them raise support with InterVarsity at Roger Williams University in Bristol. That’s where the seeds for a church plant in Bristol were first planted. We have experienced the blessing of Joel serving us as a deacon of music. Joel took the opportunity to do our church internship with us. We rejoiced with them in the birth of Peter and Margot. We called him to serve the church as one of the pastors. In every way, they’ve been a part of this church family and we’ve been a part of theirs.
The same could be said for each member of Grace Harbor that is going out with them to plant Mount Hope Church. Each of them has been doing the work of the ministry with us. We’ve been a part of their lives. They’ve been a part of our family. Spiritual blessings abound because of them, and we will miss them.
This past Sunday night was a bittersweet parting, but mostly sweet. God has blessed us and made it clear along the way that He’s been answering prayers that were uttered in a living room in DC, and keeping a promise made through Christ to build His church (Matt. 16:18). We can trust that He heard our prayers on Sunday night, and will make the gospel thrive at Mount Hope, so that they can hold out His glory to Bristol and to the nations. May He also grant the prayer that both churches will get to experience another night like this again.
Post by Kevin McKay