Dear New Hope family and friends,
On Sunday night September 18 we had a blessed and sweet time with about 50 of you who gathered in our home to hear what the Lord’s been saying to us about our future and that of New Hope Peninsula Church. The love in the room was wonderful as it has always been at our church and we were able to share our sense of God’s leading at this time.I write this note to share what we talked about that night with those of you who weren’t able to attend.Here’s the gist:
BOTTOM LINE: We aren’t ready to start back into leading New Hope right now. There are three basic reasons:
1) PHYSICAL RECOUPERATION AND EXHAUSTION: My brain is still recovering from the effects of the bike accident and seven years of church planting have left us exhausted. God’s process of restoring us needs more time.
2) PASTORING MY OWN HOME BETTER: I feel God’s clear calling to be a become a better “pastor” to own household; and I feel strongly that taking the time now to get this right will make us more fruitful for Him for the next 20-30 years. For the last two decades we’ve been in demanding pastoral roles, raising babies, planting churches, etc., and have therefore had limited bandwidth to give to the “church” that meets in our home. God’s tenderly showed us that we need a bit longer in a season where we focus on bringing our best to our marriage, our kids, and to how we are managing our time, mo ney, the pace of life, etc.
3) RETHINKING OUR MODEL OF MINISTRY AND OUR CALLING: Our experience of New Hope was that about 50% of it was pure “Holy Spirit magic”;people meeting Jesus, miracles happening, life transformation, expressing His love to the needy outside our church, authentically loving Him and each other as a family together, etc. But another 50% reality is that we never got “over the hump” in terms of the human horsepower and finances necessary to sustain it. More importantly, both we and the board sensed that there were some different things we were supposed to be d oing to get the love of God to more of those outside of existing churches –but it was hard for us to discern and implement those things while we were full-time running the church week to week. We believe that if God wants a New Hope: Book 2, He will speak to us about this 50% of things “new and different” that He would see us be and do.
Our belief is that if God’s agenda for us during the sabbatical had only been one of these three things (physical healing OR pastoring our household better OR working on the model of ministry) three months would have been enough time. But given that He’s working on all these areas, three months wasn’t long enough to finish the process. So in essence while we don’t feel God’s released us from a call to His work in this area, we also don’t feel He’s said it’s time yet to step back in. Our plan is to reach out to you again after Christmas with what we are feeling led to do at that time.
OUR“ASK” OF YOU:
As your pastors we, therefore, want each of you to find churches this Fall to be your “spiritual watering holes” as our process runs its course. That’s not being disloyal to us – in fact it would be a gift, because we want to see that “He who began the good work in You sees it through to completion.”
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS MANY OF YOU HAVE ASKED:
- Many of you have asked how we are making it financially. The answer is that a number of you have continued tithing to the church to sustain us with salary and health insurance.That has held true thru till now and would last till mid-October if no other money came in. Some have expressed a strong desire to “see the Pierce’s thru” till the end of the year financially. Any of you desiring to contribute can do so by mailing checks in to the P.O. Box or by giving via the website (info on both is at www.NewHopePeninsula.org )
Lastly, we love you guys and sharing life in Him with you over the last 7 years has been one of the greatest joys and privileges we’ve ever known. As we wait for Him to reveal His plans for the future we do so with full anticipation of his care and love for you and for us.
Much love in Him,
Ben and Christy Pierce