December 24, 2014
Christmas greetings from our home to yours!
Christ has radically changed our lives since the day we came to know Him personally, and especially these last few years! That’s why the celebration of His birth is so important to us. Of course, we celebrate the birthdays of our loved ones and we rightfully make a big deal of them. However, Christ is not only a “loved One,” He is also our Savior and Lord! Yet, we have come to realize that many people in our country have no idea of the importance of Christ’s birth to them personally.
That’s a major reason this year’s celebration of Christ’s birth has added significance to us. It will probably be the last Christmas we will spend in Elizabethton, Tennessee; Lisa’s home since birth and my home since 1976. But more importantly it will mark the beginning of a major adjustment in our service for Christ. Not only will we be moving 1,500 miles away, we will be leaving a wonderful ministry with our beloved church family of 26 years. We gladly make these adjustments so we can make disciples and plant a new church in the under-reached community of Mead, Colorado. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of these people have little or no contact with Christ-followers or the gospel. So the need there is great, and we are confident that God has called and prepared us to meet that need, but everything about this change will take us way out of our comfort zone.
A significant component of the new challenges we are facing revolves around building a support network for this new ministry. Because there is no church there to support us yet, we are tasked to raise up a team of prayer partners, financial partners, ministry partners and church partners. Our home church will be sending us and supporting us, along with some limited support from the North American Mission Board, yet we will still be responsible to raise up dozens of prayer partners and an additional $2,000 per month or so for our living expenses. We are also expected to bring together a church planting team to help us begin this new church. These team members will either move to Colorado to work with us, or we will recruit them from Colorado when we get there. With these significant expectations, and a host of unknown challenges, you can see why we need you to become one of dozens of committed prayer partners who will lift us up in daily prayer! If you are willing to pray for us, or to explore any of these opportunities to partner with us in this church planting ministry, please go to our website www.makelovegrow.co and click on the “Partner with Us” button. It will only take a minute to fill out the form and it will let us know your interest(s).
We are trusting God to pull everything together in His perfect time! Because we have already experienced so many “divine appointments,” we know God is going before us! Stepping out in faith for God to continue to bring together our support network, I plan to resign my position as pastor in January, and we plan to make the move to Colorado in February! (Ugh!) Once there we will spend the first several months dividing our time between helping a nearby church planting team get through a crucial growth phase, and starting Bible studies in homes in the Mead area. These small Bible study groups will form the foundation for our public worship gatherings when we begin them in the months ahead.
We are in the process of putting our home of 21 years up for sale, along with any other non-essential belongings. We haven’t found a home out there yet so we are preparing to rent an apartment in nearby Longmont until ours sells and a suitable and affordable home comes on the market in Mead. Rather than go on any longer, please get in touch with us! We would love to answer any and all questions you may have! You can email us through our website, or call us on our cell phones: Bruce, 423-571-8100 or Lisa, 423-571-2659.
Thanks for your prayers, and have blessed Christmas!
Bruce & Lisa