Impact South Side

This past Saturday we held what is becoming an annual event at Allison Park Church, our ‘Impact’ day. This day is an awesome opportunity to serve a community in which we are planting a church.  With the launch of LifeStone Church in just a couple weeks, this year’s Impact community was South Side.  This day really hits one of our big values in church planting, which is serving the community. Not only does it teach the new church plant this value, but it allows individuals from APC to be physically involved in this exciting process of launching a church.

This year in South Side, we had numerous projects and were planning for close to 250 volunteers to blitz the community.  With the large amounts of rain we ended up receiving that day, we did cancel a good number of our projects, but God was faithful!  We still had almost 140 people walking the streets paying parking meters for people, picking up trash all over the South Side, planting flowers in local parks, repairing homes for senior citizens, and more! It is incredible to see how God could use even a portion of what was planned to still make a big impact in this community!

I talked to a number of people from the community that were so amazed at the number of people that came all the way to South Side just to serve and bless the community. With all the work that was done this day, the Kingdom of God was visible and tangible. It wasn’t just about a sermon on Sunday, but service on Saturday.  I believe this is the greatest expression of the gospel…serving with no strings attached.

A big thank you to all of you that weathered the storm that day and came out to serve!! LifeStone Church and South Side residents will be forever grateful for the hard work you put into this great day!

MCM Update: LifeStone Church

Finishing up my recent blog series on our MCM church plants, we’ll look at LifeStone Church, which will be launching this June in the South Side.

The American Serbian Club before LifeStone's first preview service in South Side

God’s hand has really brought this whole team together over the last couple years as He called Jack & Jamie Thomas to move to Pittsburgh this past July to launch this church. They had only a small handful of people committed, but they now have close to 40 on the team!  Although the church has not launched yet, God has done some amazing things already through LifeStone in South Side.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Last October, LifeStone set out to hold their first Harvest Party in the community for the kids and families that live in South Side.  They set their goals high as they hoped to see 100-150 people come out for this first big outreach.  Little did they know, God has bigger things planned, as they had over 250 people show up for this first major outreach!
  • As LifeStone began the process to plant, one of the initial things to identify in a community is a Sunday morning meeting space to hold services in.  This proved to be a more difficult task then originally thought.  For months Jack scoured South Side looking for a building in the right location and price range.  One after another, the doors were closing.  In fact, as we approached their first two preview services, we still did not have a building identified.  Then, just at the right moment, God opened the door for LifeStone to meet in the American Serbian Club just off the main street in South Side. It has ended up being the perfect building in the right location with plenty of meeting space!  God’s timing was perfect, as usual!!
  • Just a few short weeks ago, LifeStone held their first Easter Egg Hunt in South Side.  Although this is a common event in most communities, South Side hadn’t had a community Easter Egg hunt in almost 20 years.  As they promoted and prepared for this big Easter outreach, it started to become apparent that this wasn’t g
    LifeStone's first Easter Egg Hunt in South Side a few weeks ago.

    oing to be just another little outreach.  Although they planned for 300 at this Easter Egg Hunt, they had over 600 show up, coming from all over South Side and even some surrounding communities!

As LifeStone prepares to launch in just a month and a half, please continue to keep Jack, Jamie and the team in your prayers!  Launching a church is not a simple thing at all, but we know that when God’s favor rests upon it, He will build His Church and nothing will prevail against it!!

Coming in 2010: New Church Plant in South Side

In addition to the church plant being launched this fall by Pittsburgh City Outreach, the MCM Network will be planting LifeStone Church in the South Side community of Pittsburgh. Jack and Jamie Thomas moved to Pittsburgh last year to plant this church and they have seen God do some amazing things already.  Their small Neighborhood Group has now grown and transitioned into a good-sized launch team, and in fact they have their first ‘Practice Service’ this Sunday.

To give you some perspective of where LifeStone is in the scope of planting, here are the different stages we utilize for our MCM church plants:

  • Neighborhood Group: We start a small outreach group in a potential community that meets weekly and goes through a curriculum that equips group members for evangelism.  In addition to the weekly meetings, they also do an outreach/service project each month.  The goal is to simply serve the needs of the community and be a blessing to those within the community.
  • Launch/Street Team: As the Neighborhood Group grows and it becomes apparent a church plant is not only possible but purposed by God, we connect the group with a church planter and the month before we start monthly ‘Preview Services’ we transition the Neighborhood Group into a Launch Team, or Street Team.  This team now divides into different ministry teams for the purpose of the services (hospitality, kid’s, security, worship, tech, etc.).
  • Preview Services: Usually 4-5 months prior to the Grand Opening of the new church plant, we will begin holding monthly preview services.  These services serve multiple purposes:
    • To give the various ministry teams the ability to work out their processes and systems for the sake of excellence at the Grand Opening.
    • To provide opportunity to build momentum in the church & community toward the launch.
    • To give the team leaders opportunity to build their teams bigger, which in turn establishes a bigger base from which a larger launch is possible.
  • Grand Opening/Launch: This is an exciting day when the church officially goes public with weekly services.  At this point, the church may not have all the bells and whistles of an established church, but they are doing one thing well: providing a weekly worship service that not only is done with excellence but is impacting the spiritual climate of that community.

If you are, or have been, part of a church plant.  Are there other stages you utilized or you would add?

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