My heart is full of gratitude today, in spite of the fact that the swell of my existential ocean is rising and I see a line of breakers bearing down on me.  On behalf of the people of Blanchard Alliance Church–despite incredible opposition, in the midst of a bankrupt culture and a horrendous recession–by God’s power and grace, Blanchard Alliance Church has established a healthy, expectant second campus in Warrenville.  It’s already been five years since our original launch in April of 2006!

We’re a little tired of the waves crashing in, mind you, but we haven’t lost hope–it’s hard work to do great things for God! 

Sure, our leaders (including myself) have made plenty of mistakes along the way–we’re far from perfect–but, in spite of all that, look what God has graciously done among us!  We now have 120 adults attending regularly (half whom are parents!) and around 80 kids from newbies to high school students.  Over 80 percent (!) of our parents have faithfully served in childcare for the last five years, choosing to miss worship services for the greater good of blessing others at Warrenville.

Sure, we have a $900,000 debt load remaining on our property and building–but we have paid more than $3 million off already–UNBELIEVABLE–all in the midst of a brutal recession!

We have experienced multiple leadership changes (which caused significant anxiety and uncertainty about our future…).  We’re moving more and more toward fully integrating our families together in worship services–encouraging our amazing children to lift their voices in praise of our great God during our gatherings.

Even better, a significant number of people, both kids and adults, have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior since our launch (may this never stop, but GROW). We are getting a clearer sense of what it means to be Christ in the community of Warrenville (including tomorrow’s National Day of Prayer Gathering at the gazebo outside City Hall at 11:30, as well as CareFest at Johnson Elementary on the 15th)  I have a growing sense of anticipation as God births a renewed commitment to prayer at the Warrenville campus–it’s been a beautiful thing to watch people being prayed for regularly during our worship services.  Their eager expectancy testifies to our belief that God is mightily present to heal and restore us as God’s people serve together in unity.

I’m thankful for our leaders who have kept their commitment to rotate the teaching team between our two campuses, instead of defaulting to satellite messages.  It’s not always been pretty or perfect, but we’re learning.  I don’t have the stats, but I know we lost a significant percentage of our original launch team within the first two years of Warrenville’s establishment. Birthing a second site hasn’t been easy but I have great affection and gratitude for those of you who’ve hung on to ride out the waves!

While we haven’t done the greatest job of keeping our Wheaton campus fully engaged and informed on the good things that have been happening in Warrenville, I bless our Wheaton campus for having the courage to step out in faith by launching Warrenville in the first place!  So what’s a crumbling Wheaton parking lot in light of that?  Sure, it will cost money to fix,

but as long as we remember that we are the capacity and God is the supply, we’ll be fine.  Obstacles are good for our faith.  So let’s keep wading into the water, staring down the waves coming at us, setting our chins firmly forward and dive right into those breakers!  Bring it on.  God is on our side. 

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea–the LORD on high is mighty. Psalm 93:4 (NIV)

God loves the Church and will never abandon us in the deep end.  We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!

What about you, Warrenville-ites?  You’ve read my song of encouragement to us all at Blanchard today (and I could say SO MUCH MORE…) What encouragement would you speak to your church in these days?

How has God been with you at Warrenville these past five years?

How is God growing your expectancy for our future?

I invite you to share your story as a comment to this post.