When we moved to Vegas to start Verve, we decided to live here a year before we “officially” started the church and began having weekly church services. Most church planting experts believe that living in a place for 6 months is ideal before the “grand opening” but we had our reasons.
One is that we wanted to really know the people and culture here. The Bible says we should become “like” the people we are trying to share God with, so that they will understand and respond to our message. But how can we do that if we don’t know those people and haven’t lived amongst them.
But the other big reason is that we wanted to give some credibility to our gospel. Today’s reading (1 Thessalonians 1) shows the need for this, where Paul (a church planter) writes to people in Thessalonica (where he had started a church):because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. One of the things Robb (who is on staff with Verve and leading our community service organization, The Verve Foundation) likes to say is, “We will not speak where we have not served.” Seems like Paul had a similar attitude. He didn’t just come with words, he came with power, with conviction, and with a life that matched his message.
Oh, that we all (especially we all – church planters) would follow that example…