As Kellie and I are just starting off in our journey to plant a church I felt compelled to write out the key steps over the past decade that led us to this decision. This is Part 13 . . . and I title this segment “Laying Out a Fleece.” I’ll be writing the other parts over the upcoming weeks.
In Part 12, I shared how we felt God calling us to launch Thursday Nights at Redemption Church on May 6, 2010, and how that date ended up not being just a random date on the calendar. In addition, we felt God telling us May 6th was not only going to be the launch of Thursday Nights but it would also be the unofficial launch of our church plant — that this 8-week special event would lay the foundation of a new church.
While we felt God telling us that, and believed we heard Him very clearly, we still wanted some additional confirmation. After all, the implications were huge if we went ahead and planted a church. One biggie is I would quit working at Kensington Church which meant I would lose a steady paycheck and my health insurance. And with baby #3 on the way, this made us want to be extra sure not only that God was calling us to plant a church but also the timing of it.
So a few days before May 6, Kellie and I got on our knees (literally) and prayed asking God to give us confirmation of our calling and the timing of it. We used Gideon as our example. For those not familiar with the story, Gideon felt God asking him to do something crazy so he asked God to make it perfectly clear by laying out a fleece. (Take a minute and read Judges 6:36-40).
So we prayed to God asking Him to confirm our call to plant a church. Just like in Gideon’s story, we knew God didn’t have to confirm it. He didn’t have to do anything we asked. But we felt compelled to pray so we did. We said: “God, we feel you are calling us to plant a church, and we feel you told us May 6, 2010 is the unofficial launch of it. But the stakes are high so we want to be sure. So would you confirm this call? We are going to lay out a ‘fleece’ like Gideon and ask that you prompt people we know and people we don’t know to come up to us on Thursday nights and encourage us to plant a church.” And we didn’t tell anyone on the planet what we prayed.
So that was the fleece we laid out there. And God was gracious enough to answer our prayer…not just once, but over and over. On May 6th someone came up to Kellie and said, “If you and Dan ever plant a church, I’m ‘all in.’” The following Thursday a different person came up to me and asked, “Have you ever thought about planting a church?” That same night another person told Kellie, “Thursday Nights have been awesome. You should plant a church.” This same thing happened week after week on Thursday nights. In all, we estimate between 6 and 10 people talked to either Kellie or me about planting a church during the 8 weeks we did Thursday Nights at Redemption Church.
God was gracious enough to confirm our call. So we knew we were about to get out of the swimming pool and into the ocean. And I have a very cool story about that which I’ll share in Part 14. Stay tuned.
***Note: Join us on Sunday October 17th at 6:00pm. This will be the first-ever “preview service” of The Eastside Vineyard Church. We’ll have a time of worship, an in-depth Bible message, communion, and an opportunity to receive 1-on-1 prayer. I’ll be preaching and can’t wait! It will be held at Heritage Church in Sterling Heights. (Heritage Church is located at 44625 Schoenherr Rd, 1 block south of M-59 — across the street from Lakeside Mall. If you’re an ‘eastsider’ it’s where the old AMC theatre used to be.)***