When three new churches held their inaugural worship services September 18, it was an answer to prayer, said IBSA’s Van Kicklighter.
“The Church Planting Team regularly prays Luke 10:2 (or Matthew 9), where Jesus acknowledges ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few’ and then challenges us to ‘pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,’” said Kicklighter, associate executive director for church planting.
“As we have prayed, God has blessed us with a season where he has provided ‘laborers.’”
NET Community Church in Staunton, Collinsville Community Church, and City of Joy Fellowship Church in East St. Louis held their launch services on September 18—with no coordination between the churches and no specific reason for all choosing the same day. “Other than that God led each planter independently to choose this date for launch,” said Church Planting Strategist Eddie Pullen—“unbelievable.”
Derrick Taylor, pastor at NET, said 176 people attended his church’s service, and several signed up to serve in various areas of ministry. Many who attended had no church home or hadn’t been to church in a long time.
“Jesus was definitely made famous, and I’m certain many heard directly from the Holy Spirit,” Taylor said. “Overall, it was a beautiful day of marriage to the bride of Christ.”
David Seaton, pastor of Collinsville Community Church, also shared encouraging news from the big day. With about 105 in attendance, Seaton said the service went smoothly and people seemed very encouraged and excited about the vision of where the church is going.
And with the annual Collinsville Italian Street Fest going on the Friday and Saturday prior to launch, the timing couldn’t have been better. The church had the opportunity to be in the parade, where thousands and thousands of people lined the streets. They threw out candy and passed out over 1,500 reusable water bottles labeled with the church’s logo.
The pastor at City of Joy Fellowship Church and a Metro East St. Louis native, Kempton Turner said his congregation is praising God for the number of people who attended their launch service. Turner was sent out by Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota, where well-known author and teacher John Piper served as pastor, and where Turner served as senior high pastor.
Each of the newly launched churches is already thinking about who they can send out to plant again in the next location, Pullen said. “These three planters are godly men and they have a heart to see their communities saved.
“September 18 in the Metro region is a very special day. I am so grateful for what God is doing here and [for] the faithfulness of the planters. And I can only imagine the impact these churches will have immediately and for eternity.”