Dear Restoration Church,
Thank you for sharing your questions with us regarding our sense of call to plant deep and wide. We have received fantastic questions through the email@example.com email address. We have been collecting the questions into groups so that we can respond to them as we move through our discernment and determine more specifics.
We are writing today to share an initial set of questions and answers. This is the first of many sets of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) that we will be sharing with you along this journey.
We are working with our ministry teams to discern how we can live into this calling in a faith-filled and responsible manner. We have received questions about the financial aspects and we anticipate that we will have more concrete answers in the next couple of weeks as our Session finalizes our Restoration church budget for 2019, including the mission support for the church plant in Ashland.
We continue to ask for your prayers as we step out in trust toward what we believe God has been showing us for years and is now calling us to do.
Jeff Lee and Jon Gibson
Psalm 145:18 - The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Planting Deep – Jeff Lee
What does planting deep mean?
I believe that God is calling Restoration Church to plant deep in our community. The core of our God-given mission is to multiply deeper relationships in Christ and we will be recommitting to this mission together. We live in an increasingly disconnected and hurting world where people are searching for a place to belong. We have the opportunity to plant deep through getting back to the basics of loving one another well as a church family and sharing that love with our hurting community.
Planting deep includes a recommitment to growing in our faith in Christ and in our relationships with one another. We will be creating a well-defined plan for every person to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ and have clear opportunities to engage their heart (small groups), minds (classes), and hands (serving) in this transformational process together. We will experience the fruit of this renewed, shared life together and seek to bless our community and reach others for Christ in the process. To help facilitate this, we will be seeking a fixed, dedicated space to serve as a home where we can focus more of our time, energy and gifts on experiencing God’s restoration for us and our community. We will have more specifics on the timeline and process for this search in the weeks ahead.
Do we plan to buy land and a building?
Our Session has shared that we will be seeking to have a dedicated full time home by April 2020 to be used by our congregation and our community. Our current office space lease ends in April 2020 and we have selected that target date for our transition. Our first step will be to locate a rented or leased space to serve as a home and home base for Restoration Church. The vision for this space will be shaped by our unique strengths as a church family and specific ways that we can experience restoration and share this restoration with our hurting community.
We will not be in a financial position to purchase land and a church building as this first step but we will be seeking God’s provision and leading for this in the future.
Planting Wide – Jon Gibson
What does planting wide mean?
Since Restoration Church began back in 2013, our leadership has had a vision of expanding the kingdom of God. Our vision team at the time had a vision of Restoration Church eventually seeking to expand from Mechanicsville into the Ashland area as well as the Virginia Center Commons area.
Over the course of the past 5 years, we have had some challenges that have taken us away from this vision, but we never felt God telling us that the vision was dead. Instead, we saw God just telling us to wait until the time was right.
Planting wide is really a fulfillment of the vision that God gave our leadership. We have discerned that God is calling us to develop and start a missional incarnational community within the Ashland area to seek to do kingdom work in that area and to begin to see how God will fulfill this vision that he gave to us at the beginning.
Is this a church split?
No. Jeff and Jon along with our elders have been praying about the most effective way for us to move forward as a church. Since Restoration’s inception in 2013, our leadership has had the vision of expanding out to plant additional churches, specifically in the Ashland area and the Virginia Center Commons area. Jeff and Jon have remained united in spirit and purpose with seeking to engage as many people as possible with the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Our churches will continue to seek ways to support one another in our kingdom work.
What is the plan for who will go to the Ashland church plant?
The plan is for a launch team to be formed out of Restoration (comprised of approximately ten families) that will be committing to the initial startup of the church plant.
Will this be a separate church or a campus of Restoration?
The plan is for this to eventually be a separate church from Restoration with strong connections through our denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), and through the relationships that have been forged at Restoration over the years. Restoration will be supporting the church plant through the process financially as a mission partner. The EPC provides a process and support for starting a mission church. We have not only the support of the EPC but of our sister church on the far west end, Hope Church, as well. We will be determining just what that support looks like financially and otherwise and will additionally be working with other church planting resources to establish this church plant in Ashland.