Funny thing happened on the way to church…(part 4)

So we had the people, a place of our own, the rent was cheaper…YAY!!!

Not so fast.

After a great first Sunday afternoon service there was a down turn in attendance. So we stuck it out, we thought it was great, shoot, you could still sleep late and catch a late lunch, go to service and then dinner. However that wasn’t the case. It’s interesting how people can have something instilled in their mind and nothing can change it.

Water is wet, sky is blue, Church is on Sunday mornings and not on Sunday afternoons….hmmmm

We were in a pickle, this was a known risk, but man were we wrong. Here we go again trying to fix/figure something out.

Back to prayer!

So close to the end of 2012 we talked to Pastor Josh and told him our predicament to see if we could figure something out so we could also meet Sunday mornings.

It was during this time as well where Pastor Josh and I were talking about how crazy 2012 had been for both of us how we were looking forward to 2013. We both discussed that we felt something NEEDED TO CHANGE with both our congregations. We felt a change coming, what that change was we didn’t know, but change was coming and if you know humans we don’t like change.

Ealry 2013 and we figured out a way to meet in the mornings as a church and just before the super bowl too…talk about a close one. 🙂

It was also in January of 2013 where during our weekly meetings that a conversion came up, now I can’t divulge all the info of that meeting but I can tell you the main was this…

WHAT IF OUR TWO CHURCH BODIES CAME TOGETHER AND MERGED INTO ONE?

COULD WE BE BETTER TOGETHER?

A non-denominational 1.5 years old church plant and a 50+ year old denominational church? could we come together? could we became a family community? could we really do this? Is this your will God? Could we be better together?

The conversation opened up to board our church boards thus propelling Revive Church Austin and Austin Grace Church into this dance to see could this really happen?

There were vocal opposition against this for various reasons I will not type, but trust me, it wasn’t fun.

We started this dance slow…imagine if you will two awkward 6th graders standing 3 feet away from each other and just turning circles on the dance floor.

That was us.

week to week, day to day I would go back and forth…

“Yes we could so do this!”

to

“Oh my God what have we done?!”

and the words came back to me…

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Funny thing happened on the way to church…(part 3)

So there we are…needing a miracle, needing something to happen, but nothing was happening. Nothing felt right, it was either too small, too expensive…too something. We had to move it was going against everything we were about. We didn’t plant a church just to fund a church. We planted a church to give back to the community, and staying at the school did not let us do that.

In comes in Pastor Josh Allday, he is the pastor that emailed me in late 2011, the peace and chicken grease pastor from across the street. The guy is cool, he short like me, bald like me and has a cool, there is a calm disposition about him (not like me). The church he pastors had/has multiple organizations meeting there. It’s really cool, there is a home school group, a spanish church and a 7th day Adventists church that all meeting on different days and times.

So one day I met pastor Josh at the church building to check it out. It’s a huge building! Two sanctuaries, many rooms and a gym. So as we are walking around we end up in the gym talking and I am thinking to myself…”we could totally meet in this gym”

So the conversation began to see if it would be possible for us to meet in the gym. We laughed cause if we could make work it would be such an eclectic body of believers. It almost starts like a joke, stop me if you heard it before…

“So a denominational church, a spanish church, a 7th day Adventist and a non-denominational church walk into a bar”

Haven’t heard it? No? Me neither

We made it happen, we gave concession to meet in the afternoons so there wouldn’t be a huge mess on Sunday mornings with 3 churches meeting at one time. Plus we thought “hey that’s something different, people complain church is too early, now they don’t have an excuse, they could just come to our service, plus its Austin, we do things different.”

So in the summer of 2012 our awesome partners of Revive Church donated enough funds to renovate 3 rooms in the gym area. It was going to be great, now we didn’t have to wake up real early and convert a high school gym into a church…being a mobile church is tough! So the thought of not having to do that was so so so so so so so great!

We were ready…

New location

New time

Renovated rooms

“Finally” I thought, “We got this new space, which is way cheaper than the school, which will cause us to do more in the community, we have the people, and a space to call our own without having to unload and pack up on a Sunday.”

Of course, things never goes as you think they should…they never do, there are always the challenges that we face in life. It’s these challenges that mold you to who you are.

So a new set of challenges occurred again, so by now this just get frustrating.

I remember preaching a message about storms in life. There are 3 types of people

1) those that are in a storm

2) those that just got out of a storm

3) those that are about to head into a storm

That was us

And the word came back to me…

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Funny thing happened on the way to church (part 1)…

1st blog post in months…there I said it, now let’s move on.

You ever had this vision? Like you know you were supposed to do this thing…whatever it was, you had to do it. Anyone?

In steps the Ortiz family.

In 2010, we felt a tug, a pull, a leading to step down as student pastors in San Angelo and move to Austin, TX to plant a church. So in February of 2011 it happened. We loaded up the U-haul and trekked our way to Austin. The next  months were fast and furious. We learned everything on the fly, from becoming a reg. 501c3 non-profit, gathering a launch team, raising funds, promoting the start of the new church, finding a location to have service…did I mention we had NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING?

During those months I held onto Joshua 1:9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Then it happened…the launch of Revive Church Austin in September of 2011.

I can not explain the feeling after our first service. After all the months of praying, training, raising money, all the walking placing door hangers, water bottles…we did it. With the hard hard work of a lot of people and the tremendous grace of God, Revive Church Austin was birthed.

Little did I know everything that we had gone through up until that point would be the easiest part. Over the next few months we would be tested as church plant. How do you ask? Let me briefly tell you some of what occurred:

1) our third or fourth service (I can’t remember cause I blocked it out of my memory), NO ONE SHOWED UP. It was only the launch team…yeah can not say that “it felt great”

2) I was in the hospital for a few days cause I was bleeding internally and didn’t know it. I need two blood transfusions to help me out…and let me say, I now know why vampires like blood. muuuuaaaaaah!!!

3) We started to run out of finances. We weren’t being dumb and spending money, money wasn’t coming in. The facility we met in was awesome, but way way expensive. We took a risk and during the first few months that risk looked dumb! We had until December, if our giving didn’t go up we were done for. You can imagine how this weighed heavy with the thought “Ok great you loser. You plant a church in September and you fold in December, that has to be a record or something.

4) During this time we looked at our first time guests cards, the numbers were depressing. In the first few months of Revive Church Austin we had 85 visitors. Wanna know how many we retained? 2, yup 1 and 2…that’s it.

How could this be happening, what were we doing wrong, was this a mistake? God, you gotta do something! Don’t you know one couple moved from Lubbock? And what about the two couples that moved from San Angelo? Or the couple that moved from Jarrell and stepped down from a ministry position at a different church to join us.

God what are you doing?

and the words came back to me

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Monday Mind Dump…

Haven’t done these in awhile…

  • We had a great service yesterday, it wasn’t perfect, we had a few hiccups, but Jesus was glorified and the gospel was presented. We will work out those hiccups
  • I spoke on the doctrine of hell yesterday. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was gonna be.
  • After a year of church planting experience I am still learning so much. Not that I thought I would have it all down, but man. lol
  • I’ve always heard the we are the products of our environment. Today we had our fall teacher conference. Our boy’s teacher had some great things to say but one thing she said was this…”he says he wants to play for the church and be David Crowder when he grows up”. Environment, meet your product.
  • check out the new myspace…not too shabby [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/50071857[/vimeo]
  • I never thought I could love my wife more…but oh I do.
  • I love our Revive Church Community, we are still young as a church, but they will rock your socks off with their big hearts.
  • Yesterday was good, today will be better, tomorrow will rock!

Monday Rundown…

Yesterday we as a new church had our very first Easter service, and all I can say is WOW. There is something special about “The First”. I remember the first time I held my wife’s hand, our first kiss, our first date. Firsts are normally pretty important and special and today was one of those kinda firsts.

Words can not explain the joy in my heart about today. It is amazing when you catch a glimpse of “what could be” or shall I say “what will be”. It was awesome seeing so many new people, hands lifted in worship, conversations left and right. We talked so much after service that we had to hurry up and tear down way faster than normal, but that was quite all right with me.

You see, what I am learning is that “church” doesn’t end on Sunday at 12pm. No, Church is barely starting at 12pm on a Sunday. We as a body of believers have a mission that is placed upon us…to make disciples, to proclaim the Good news of Jesus, to love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul…and the big one….TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES.

That is our mission…that is what we are called to do. While our service was Awesome…our numbers we near double, great worship, good word, the kids church was rocking, people connecting. All of that was awesome but my heart filled with joy and with a “Yes!” when I found out this:

1) We have some transplants that moved from San Angelo, Texas to join us on the plant and today we had a few visitors that live in the area but are from San Angelo. So what do they do? Well they all had an after service picnic on the lawn of the state capitol. Stinking cool!

2) Heard also that a couple who invited their neighbors to church (and they came) also enjoyed a meal after service with their family. Awesome!

3) A few families from revive headed downtown to join Austin New Church for their annually Easter service to the homeless of Austin. This is their fourth year in doing this. Every Easter Austin New Church cancels their morning service and have service with the down and out. It was so cool seeing people from all walks of life listening to music, chowing down some burgers, ice cream and watermelon. Seeing people not caring what status you hold or how much your car is worth. For that time, we were just people.

church doesn’t end on Sunday…it’s just the beginning.

Check out our special from Sunday…

 

[vimeo width=”550″ height=”300″]http://vimeo.com/39984142[/vimeo]