Through the various stages of church planting, I have often had to dig deep and ask some tough questions. Why start another church . . . in West Michigan of all places? Where is this thing going? Now that we have some stability, have we arrived? Why isn’t there a good Mexican restaurant in Mattawan? The questions are pretty complex.
But recently, I have concluded that some of the earlier questions in church planting really should answer some of the questions that come later on in the process. We planted ReCAST Church out of the conviction that there are many in the community of Mattawan who do not worship Jesus. Further, we also noted a lack of Biblical exposition in churches in West Michigan. So I launched out into this endeavor with some sense of direction in outreach and expositional preaching.
So the answer to the early question about why another church in Mattawan has been a regular encouragement for me to stay the course. I must confess that there have been times when the ministry has been overwhelming. There have been a couple of stretches that I now look back on and can rightly call the badlands of the soul for me. Recently I have been refreshed and encouraged by people of various levels of spiritual understanding letting me know that the Word of God comes alive to them when I preach, and that makes my heart glad.
It is not foremost pride that I feel when I am commended for my style of preaching, but gratitude to God that He has granted me conviction and training in exposition. He uses me in ways that make me laugh. I am a man who struggled with significant stage fright on into my adult life. This almost tangible fear extended to even speaking to a classroom of several people in my college speech class. But one of my deepest convictions in life is now able to be expressed through God’s grace in my life in overcoming this fear and my conviction is simply this: God’s Word has the power to transform lives. I start with the text of the Bible each week, I study the text each week, I read about the text each week, I draw personal application from the text of Scripture each week, I repetitiously read the text each week, and when I get up and preach on Sunday I walk through the text each week and seek to apply it to our current culture.
I am not a polished speaker and I have tons of room to improve on my delivery. I lay an egg once in a while and am often disappointed with my limitations in communication. But I love to preach the Bible!
So when I consider the questions of where this is all going, why continue on, do I still have anything to offer, the answers to those questions all come back to outreach and preaching. God has gifted me with a passion for the lost and a passion for His Word. And as long as there is a need for both of those, I am still all in with ReCAST!