If you read my blog regularly, you know that my husband and I are a part of a church plant in West Palm Beach, Florida called Shoreline Church. We moved here in January to join a team of people who are passionate about reaching the region of South Florida, and our first service will be held on September 16th (10am) at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School auditorium.
Recently, I received an e-mail from a blog reader who asked: I know you guys are planting a church, but why a new church? Are there not many churches in the area already? Will you offer something new to the community that the other churches aren’t willing to be a part of?
I think her questions is a really good one.
Depending on your perspective, it’s easy to assume that there are too many churches already. Even if you drive around this area, you could count church buildings on the side of the road the way you could count grocery stores or gas stations.
But despite the number of churches in this area, and even the existence of churches with healthy, thriving communities, the statistics still show that 95% of the residents in Palm Beach County don’t go to church for one reason or another.
Part of this might be because they don’t want to go to church (for any number of reasons)…
But part of it might be because they don’t have a church they feel comfortable attending.
Ultimately, that’s why we’re here.
Our vision with Shoreline is to be a simple, life-giving church, one that reaches people of all different backgrounds and life experiences, gives them opportunities to connect with God and with their community, and which ultimately drives them to become more like Christ.
Are other churches doing this? Sure. Could we have just joined forces with those other churches? Maybe. But building a church (I’m learning) is not about constructing a building to which you invite people to come attend a service on Sunday morning. It’s about building a community of people who care for one another, and inspire each other toward growth and humility.
Each community is unique and valuable in it’s own way, and building a church really involves growing a culture of community.
We’ve been here seven months and in that short time we’ve seen that a lot of people here have a negative view of what “Christians” are like (I think you can find that many places — not just here, but here it seems to be especially pronounced). As leaders of Shoreline Church, we have a heart to reach people (specifically) who wouldn’t otherwise like church or go to church — those who have been hurt by church in the past, or who for whatever other reason haven’t felt like they’ve “fit in” in another church.
That’s the kind of community we’re trying to inspire.
Maybe you think it’s weird that we’re doing this, or maybe you applaud us. Either way, if you’re interested in knowing more, I invite you to watch our Vision Video and if for any reason God lays it on your heart to join our story, there are a couple of ways you can do that.
First, do you know anyone in the West Palm Beach area?
If you do, and we haven’t met them yet, we want to. We’ll take them to dinner or coffee. We just need their name and e-mail.
Second, you can donate to our 30/30 campaign.
In our final push to meet our fundraising goals, we’re asking that 1000 people give $30 each in order to total $30,000 in 30 days. We have until August 30th to meet our goal. To contribute $30, click HERE.
Finally, you can just care for us and pray for us.
We need it. Trust me. This has been the most challenging, eye-opening, humbling and at times even humiliating season of my life, and I have a feeling the story is just beginning. If you know me, or my husband, in real life or online, we could use your support now more than ever.
Question: What do you love about your church community? What do you feel like you’re missing?