This month (specifically October 10) Prism Church turns seven years old. To that end we’re going to have an outdoor service on October 29 to celebrate our birthday and the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Hope you can join us for a church-wide 11 am service on 10/29.
I’ve described the feeling that exists just before a church plant worship service as being akin to being a child having a birthday party. You’ve invited people to come but not required they RSVP, so you’re a little nervous about whether anyone will. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of wondering if anyone will show up? Well, imagine having that feeling every week for a year and then you’ll get some idea of what it’s like being part of a church start-up team.
That night we had firm commitments to attend from only a few. On 10/10/10 there were people in attendance who are still members today at Prism: Jon & Brooke Crabb, Chris & Lori Huisken, Laurie Popham, Dean & Mindy Aguirre, Karen Gwaltney, Duncan Bohannon and of course, my family. Others still at Prism would bit by bit join during that first year.
Seven years later I still remember the feeling I had on the evening of Sunday, October 10, 2010: a sense of hope mixed with the anxiety of wondering who will come. We’d handed out several hundred promotional cards around town and a couple hundred copies of “Three Tips for Campus Survival” on the campus of Pasadena City College. When the final tally of attendees was made, there were just over 70 people there.
The vast majority who gathered for that first Prism worship service were family and friends – well-wishers who didn’t want us to flop on our opening night (there were fewer than 20 in attendance the following week). I was grateful for their presence. One attendee was a family friend who wrote feature films; he told me he was happy to come support me because over the years he had sat in some empty theaters of his own. He has since gone to be with the Lord, but I will always be thankful for Don Rhymer’s empathetic presence that evening.
It’s interesting to me that God has provided an environment at our church that is now similar to that first evening – usually a gathering filled with people who feel like family and friends. That’s what we hoped for when we started and that is what God has provided as He’s grown our church. He has connected new people through a friendly ethos and graciously moved by His Spirit to bring Gospel-driven change to our lives.
I’m as thrilled to be part of Prism Church today as I was seven years ago. In addition to how grateful I am that God has provided so wonderfully for us in so many ways, I’m also really glad that any anxiety about people showing up has ceased. Thanks for being part of what He’s doing at Prism Church!
Your Pastor & Friend,