Last Sunday, I was the guest speaker for the English service at a Chicagoland church. I arrived early and the Spanish service was still going on, so I sat outside and talked with the music minister. While we were talking, a man entered the building. It was obvious from the way he was looking around and the questions he asked that he was new to the church. I asked, “Is this your first time here?” He said, “I was here about 30 years ago for my grandmother’s birthday party.”
We went downstairs for a cup of coffee and then sat around a table talking. He told us about growing up in the neighborhood, his family, his past work and church experience. When the music minister left to finish the Spanish service, my new friend looked at me and said, “My wife and I are having problems. I thought that maybe I can find some help from God.” I know he opened up because we had listened to him. I prayed with him, assured him that God cared for him and then introduced him to several people in the church who were coming in for the next service.
This experience was a good reminder of why we start new churches. There are people like my new friend in every town, village and city of Chicagoland. People who want to know if God is real and if his church has support, encouragement and answers for their hurts and questions. I want to start churches across this region that will reach out and minister to people like my new friend.
After the service, I watched this man interact with several people from the church. I watched them talk with him and laugh with him. My hope: that he discovered that God cares and that his family is here to help, that this was the first step forward of many for him. I was grateful for the church planting reminder on Sunday.