My time with this community of faith has been such a blessing, that I am excited that this new (ad)venture will be a fulfillment of my ministry and development received while with FPC.
This spring I went through a grueling church planting assessment process and when they asked what responsibilities were at my current position I told them I was the “Pastor of Evangelism and Administration.” They took a slight double-take at that wacky combo, and then said–“well that basically is the job of a church planter to gather new believers and to organize them.”
Ever since my first worship experience with Warehouse242, a church plant in charlotte, 15 years ago: I felt God’s clear voice telling me that “this is what ministry can be like.” That had put a yearning in my heart to help plant a church as a means to reach out to those who have not yet connected with Jesus. Coupled with my Young Life experience, I love meeting “people where they are.” Then God placed me in two churches who both are over 190 years old. Those experiences helped to shape me for this new season.
Last fall, I began to have conversations with an emerging group of Presbyterians called ECO, and this helped me to see a vehicle to plant a church through. As the conversations grew, I became more and more convinced that this is what God wanted of us. And at a conference in November, Lindsay elbowed me and said: “This is what you’ve always wanted to do, why don’t we just do it.” Her willingness to jump in helped to release me of the anxiety.
Feeling the call, and finding a vehicle to support me, it wasn’t until I joined a bunch of men out in the gloom at 5:30 in the morning in Charlotte to workout that God revealed to me the Gospel need. F3 and getting lead the 3rdF efforts helped to solidify for me that there is a vital mission field here in Charlotte–to those Southparkians and Ballanytonians (don’t worry no one else but me finds this funny)–and that God was calling me to be a missionary here in town.
The Lord opened my eyes to Acts 18:7 where it says that Paul left the synagogue in order to go next door to Titius Justus, a worshipper of God. (a Greek name if ever there was one). This passage helped solidify this sense of movement away from the structures and out onto the streets in order to engage men and women of Charlotte where they live, work and play.
As I step off the campus of FPC on June 30th into this new season of ministry, I am thankful that God will allow me to serve my 4th congregation in Charlotte, that my wife is two steps out in front of me excited about this opportunity, and that friends at FPC, around town and around the country will be praying and supporting us as we go forward. The support and prayers given by Pen, the staff of FPC and the congregation have helped to confirm that we are following God’s will.
Since I will need an excuse for my coffee fix, I’d love to talk personally with folks about this change, but also realized via inside jokes on Social Media, that I had not shared this exciting news with everyone. Also as shepherd without a flock, I imagine I will be posting more ramblings here, on Twitter (@wbbarry), on F3Nation.com, while also seeking to connect with people who might help pray this community into formation.
(e) wbbarry at mac dot com