Our daughter is launched!
I still remember clearly the day almost 13 years ago when we drove our firstborn, Rachel, over to Whitworth College (it was “College,” not “University,” at that time) to begin her post-Gig Harbor life. And I remember vividly the moment when all parents were told, “OK, it’s time to leave. Say your goodbyes…and go. They will be fine.” We stood in the parking lot and said our teary goodbyes…and off we went. And our daughter was well and truly launched. In fact, Rachel has never returned for more than a week or two since. And we couldn’t be prouder of her.
In a couple weeks, we are going to launch another Chapel Hill daughter: Kitsap House. Our first “daughter” church! One of the dreams of our “Beyond These Walls” initiative (where we paid off over $5 million in debt and redirected our mortgage payments…$500,000 a year…to gospel causes beyond our walls) was to become a church-planting church. Research suggests church-planting is one of the most effective forms of evangelism.
Pastor Megan Hackman, who was an Associate on our staff, began to feel a call to Port Orchard. Almost five years ago exactly, she went on a prayer walk through that town, seeking to discern if it might be the place God was calling Chapel Hill to plant our first daughter church. She discerned that it was, and our Session agreed. Megan devoted more and more of her time to that effort. Soon, Pastor Larry joined her.
Fast forward five years, that seed of an idea has bloomed into a vibrant, healthy growing new church called Kitsap House. So healthy and so vibrant, in fact, that it’s time to kick them out of the Chapel Hill nest.
On February 5 at 10:00 am at the RAWW Athletics Community Center in Port Orchard, Kitsap House’s worship service will host a representative group from our presbytery to celebrate the church plant’s “particularization”. That’s a fancy word that means they are leaving home and launching on their own. No longer will they be tied to our Session. We are no longer managing their finances. They will elect their own session, and they will become an independent, recognized congregation within our presbytery. Woo hoo!
This is a really big deal. Something to be proud of. Something your regular, faithful, generous giving has made possible. And something to be celebrated with great vigor! And we will.
BUT…this is not the end. Only the beginning. We’ve always said that Kitsap House was the “first of, not a one-off”. We are now supporting three other church plants through your generosity, one of them in Spokane. In fact, Kitsap House beat us to the punch by pledging 5% of their income to the Spokane work, a commitment to church planting that they intend to maintain for the life of their congregation.
If you feel a little swell of pride, I don’t blame you. I do, too. (I trust it is not sinful pride…just good old “parent” pride.) Very, very, very few churches ever plant another church. Even if you can’t physically be there on February 5, we hope you are as ecstatic as we are and celebrate wherever you find yourselves. If you haven’t had the chance to be in person with them, make it a point to visit once this spring! They, too, meet with terrific regularity! Until then, here is a short video message from Pastor Megan.