Exponential 2023 Trip
Two updates in the same month? I know, crazy, right? I just got back from Exponential 2023 late last night and wanted to write down an update while it is all fresh in my mind. This was the first time I could publicly write “Foundry Church” on my name tag!
If you’re not familiar with Exponential, it is a gathering of church leaders for the purpose of training in multiplication and church planting. There are main sessions that include times of teaching and worship, and there are dozens of workshops to choose from that offer specific training.
I chose the discipleship track of workshops. Before going into the conference, my prayer was that I would get a better grasp on a disciple-making model for our church. My main takeaway is that before I can focus on a disciple-making model, we need to have a definition of a disciple. Our definition of a disciple is someone who follows Jesus, is changed by Jesus and is on mission with Jesus. Beginning with the end in mind will now allow us to focus on a pathway to achieving this.
Beyond the aspects of learning—and arguably more importantly—there were several “God moments” this week. As you may know, revival started breaking out at Asbury University and is spreading. The sense of anticipation was thick as we gathered 5,000+ church leaders together to exchange ideas and worship God together. However, one of the worship leaders, Aaron, shared with us a word he had received from God. He said that although there was a great sense of expectation of revival, he felt God telling him that revival was not meant from this room or this gathering, but rather it is meant for each church represented to take home and then seeing it spread like wildfire.
I was able to attend the Exponential conference because our Eastern PA District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance went together. There were 12 of us all staying in the same house for the week, sharing vehicles, groceries and other expenses. I am so thankful for each guy that went along, the relationships built and experiences shared. Among our small group were at least two other significant “God moments” that I would prefer not to put in writing for the privacy of others. I also received a prophetic word from a guy in our group after asking for prayer.
By far my biggest takeaway from this conference is that God loves us. He wants us to love him and be about doing His mission, but more than anything we can do for God, He loves us. As one of my brothers from our group said, “It’s easy to forget how much God loves you.” If it’s been a while since you’ve pondered that concept, the feeling can be overwhelming!
This is the second year in a row that I’ve had the privilege of attending Exponential. I feel very tired. I missed my family terribly, but I feel encouraged and more equipped to make disciples who make disciples, and plant churches that plant churches. Join with me in praying that we continue to see a movement of God throughout our country and worldwide!
Church Planting Update: March 2023
Greetings from Berwick and Danville!
So much has happened since my last update. We’re excited to bring you all up to speed! Our family has been living in Berwick for over two years now. We’re loving being in town while having the space to raise our family and animals. Our roots seem to be growing deeper in our community.
Throughout the Fall and Winter, Iron Mill Church began to transition many of my Danville-focused leadership responsibilities to other well-equipped leaders at Iron Mill Church. My time and energy have also been shifting towards Berwick. Instead of being in the office at Iron Mill two days per week, we have transitioned to only one day per week.
Small group at our home
We started a small group meeting in our home last Fall, and beginning in January, we transitioned to a study that is not connected with Iron Mill Church, which has allowed non-Iron Mill attendees to join our group as well. We’re currently studying the book of Acts. What better book to study in preparation for beginning a church than the book about the beginning of THE Church!
We have a name!
We will be Foundry Church! The American Car and Foundry was a large industry in Berwick for decades. They primarily manufactured rail cars until WW2, when they also made tanks for the U.S. military that were sent to Germany. The American Car and Foundry continued to operate until the 1960’s when it was finally closed. The American Car and Foundry is a large part of Berwick’s heritage. We also feel that the theme of metal working ties in great with Iron Mill’s theme.
We have a location, vision, and values!
We’ve chosen a location to worship! We’re still working on signing all the paperwork. The location is downtown Berwick with parking and the rent price is within our budget. Our vision is also becoming more clear. We’re focusing on restoration of individuals, families and our community. We’ve also developed our core values: 1. We believe in a simple church: we want to invite people to corporate worship, small group and serving. Our desire is that we would not have “all the programs” at our church but instead, our people would feel empowered to join other community organizations to fill needs. 2. We believe in a “go” mentality: just like Jesus went from heaven to earth to reach us, we want to have the same mindset of going to others. We don’t want to expect others to come to us to be ministered to; rather, we want to go to people to do ministry and ultimately share the gospel. 3. We believe that the gospel is best conveyed in community: life done together brings us closer to Christ.
We have leaders! But still need more!
We’ve started to gather our core leadership team. Our leadership needs include children’s ministry leader, worship music leader, outreach team leader, youth leader, deacons, elders, technology leader, financial advisor, etc. Some of these roles will need to be filled before launching and others may be filled as we continue to progress after our launch date.
Want to pray for specific dates? Or join us!?
There are a couple of future dates to keep in mind. On March 19, after Iron Mill’s regular service, we’ll be having a question-and-answer lunch time. We’ll be discussing our vision and values and answering anyone’s questions. We’re inviting folks from Iron Mill who are interested in joining our launch team, folks who may be on the fence, and people who would like to get more specific information to join us in prayer. On May 21, Iron Mill will be commissioning us and our whole launch team to be planted in Berwick! If you’re considering coming to an Iron Mill event, we would love to have you join us for this time! Also, if you’re planning to join our church plant in Berwick, we would love to have you join us for this date as our sending church will be praying for the Holy Spirit to empower our whole congregation to share the gospel and make disciples in Berwick.
Changes in giving financially!
Lastly, our residency program at Iron Mill will officially conclude at the end of April. In collaboration with Iron Mill and our District leadership, we have developed a budget for the church plant’s first year. We will be on our new budget beginning May 1. This means that all expenses will be paid for out of this new checking account beginning May 1, 2023. If you have been financially supporting us in the greenhouse program, we greatly appreciate your generosity! I am asking if you would consider continuing to partner with us. We have a goal of seeing $28,000 come from individuals’ giving between May and December. This figure also includes giving from people attending our church. If you have given in the past or are currently giving, we would ask that you now give to the “Berwick Church Plant.” You can give online at https://ironmillchurch.churchcenter.com/giving and then choose “Berwick Church Plant” from the dropdown menu. You can also send checks made out to Iron Mill Church with “Berwick Church Plant” marked on the memo line. Their address is 2 Church Hill Rd, Danville PA 17821. The money received in this new account will go towards Foundry Church’s general funds rather than my salary specifically, as it had been previously with the greenhouse program. Beginning in May, we’ll have our own online giving portal that will be connected to our own website, and we’ll also have a mailing address to send checks directly to Foundry Church. If you have questions about giving, please let me know!
Would you pray for us?
We ask that you pray for more leaders to join our core team, for physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health for the launch team, for the power of the Holy Spirit to be manifested through boldness, healings, signs and wonders (Acts 4:29-30), and for people to come to know Jesus in the Berwick area.
Thank you for your continued interest, support, and encouragement to us in our church planting journey!
Serving Jesus with you,
Iron Mill Church
Church Planting Resident
End of Summer Update 2022
Greetings from Berwick and Danville!
We are approximately one year away from launching a church in Berwick, PA! Our family has been loving being in the Berwick community. God has been kind to allow us to use our home to host gatherings, neighbors and friends while doing the rest of life, too! Sam and the kids are fully involved in the school year. We just finished Fall Ball (through Berwick’s Little League program) and summer is officially over.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to step into some more leadership roles at Iron Mill Church. These areas included preaching more frequently, helping the prayer team and general pastoral care needs. I was also asked to develop the sermon series for the months of September and October. The series is called “What the World Needs Now,” and it focuses on the greatest commandment of loving God and the second like it, loving others. Each week, we’re talking about different aspects of how this commandment shapes the way we live our lives. You can watch and listen to these sermons here: https://ironmillchurch.com/sermons/series/what-the-world-needs-now/
We made an exciting step towards launching a church by launching a community group meeting in our home! We started meeting mid-September, and this small group of people is meeting once a week in our home, sharing a meal, talking about the Bible, applying it to our lives and praying for one another.
Our lead pastor, Jason, and I have been meeting more regularly with our District’s leadership to talk about the timeline for church planting in Berwick. We have mapped out a rough timeline for milestones we would like to see within the next year. It’s both exciting and nerve-racking to look at this list. We’re trusting God to continue to open these doors!
I was also asked to perform a marriage ceremony (pictured at right). I love weddings! Although I had previously done one other wedding, this was my first “official” wedding. I was so excited to be a part of the Bride and Groom’s special day.
Through this past year, I had the opportunity to oversee the youth ministry at Iron Mill. The Christian & Ministry Alliance denomination held a youth conference, called LIFE Conference, in July in Orlando, FL. I had the opportunity to take our group on this trip (pictured at left), joining over 5000 other teens in worship, teaching, and fun!
Being part of our Eastern PA district has been great for networking and support. Our district is also broken down into smaller regions. I was asked to be part of the prayer team for our region. My role is connecting with a few other pastors in our region to pray for their specific needs.
If you have prayed or given financially, you have played a part in our church planting process! THANK YOU! We would ask that you continue to pray for God’s guidance as we build relationships in Berwick and look forward to planting a church in Berwick. We are still looking for more financial partners. If you are interested in supporting our church plant financially, you can send checks made out to Iron Mill Church with “Iron Mill Greenhouse” marked on the memo line. The address is 2 Church Hill Rd, Danville PA 17821. You can also give online at https://ironmillchurch.com/give/ by choosing “Iron Mill Greenhouse” in the drop-down menu instead of “General.”
Thank you for your generosity! We are excited to see how God will continue to work over the next year as we look ahead to planting a church in Berwick!
Serving Jesus with you,