If you received our most recent newsletter, you know that we are ecstatic to be bringing on our new Church Planting Resident: Justin Chappell, along with his wife Caitlyn! They will be moving out here late summer (2017), and Justin will be officially starting a 3-year residency at The Table in either September or October, with the goal of subsequently planting in Longmont. We've communicated VERY little about this so far because this has been an on-and-off conversation for a few months now, and we didn't want to get our collective hopes up before we knew it was going to happen. Because of that relative silence, and because you may or may not be familiar with what a "church planting residency" is, here is a quick FAQ and overview of what all this means for us...
Q1 :: What is church planting residency? What will be Justin's role at The Table?
The purpose of a residency is to develop an already-experienced pastor with the opportunity to 1) develop in those leadership skills and abilities unique to church planting, 2) familiarize with a local cultural context and community, and 3) discern the specifics of location, vision and strategy ahead of actually planting. This gives a potential planter a community support system and the opportunity to learn (and fail!) before everything is on the line (much like an incubator for startups and entrepreneurs in Boulder). The specifics of his role are largely TBD, but will be built around his leadership development needs (primarily) and The Table's ministry needs (secondarily).
Q2 :: We aren't even a year old yet! Why are we doing this so early?
You're right, it is VERY early! I have literally never even heard of a plant as young as The Table bringing on their first resident, so you are not wrong about that (then again, a LOT of what we do has never been tried before)! The opportunity for a resident to jump in on a church plant at this very early stage is INVALUABLE as it is RARE. The biggest reason is this: we didn't go out looking for this opportunity, it just kind of... happened. God quite miraculously opened several doors at the same time. Within the span of just a few months, 1) we've had an unexpected number of families from Longmont connect to The Table, 2) Justin and Caitlyn fell in love with Longmont, 3) our presbytery approved us to host a residency, and 4) we were given a significant grant to help fund it (the last two of which happened only 24 hours apart!). Yes, we are still a little in shock over how quickly and powerfully God has moved in all this.
Q3 :: Why will the residency take 3 years? That seems really slow...
This timeline gives Justin and Caitlyn the chance to be fully immersed and part of the City of Longmont, and it gives us the chance to be more fully established to send them with people and resources. Also, during the last year of his residency (pending approval) he will be functionally planting the new church as a ramp up into launch, so it's really more like a 2 year residency and a very well-supported onramp into launch.
Q4 :: Wait... you said "pending approval," does that mean there's a chance he may not plant?
Correct. The residency is also an evaluation process to make sure the potential planter is called and equipped to plant. This is not intended to be an additional hoop to jump through, but to be a discerning process for the host church (us) and the prospective planter's family - after all, it's a huge stress and one of the hardest things you can do in ministry even when you ARE clearly called! All that said, if we didn't think Justin and Caitlyn were a good fit or had that potential, we wouldn't have invited them here! (Have I mentioned how excited we are?)
Q5 :: What has The Table financially committed to Justin?
As an Acts 29 Member Church, we have committed to giving a portion of our internal giving to church planting (to a few different sources, more than half of which can be designated in support as we choose). Between that and the aforementioned grant we were given for the purpose of hosting a resident, we're able to give Justin a significant head start on his fundraising. Very very little of what we've committed is above or beyond those two factors (hence, "miraculous"). The rest of his financial need is up to him to raise from outside The Table. This is both necessary because we are not even remotely self-sustaining yet, and the ability to fundraise is a vital skill every planter needs to learn and practice (i.e. it's part of his leadership training and development). If you're at The Table and want to support their work, start/increase/continue your giving to The Table as your home church!
Q6 :: What does this mean for me if I live in Longmont?
For now, absolutely nothing... well, except that you'll be getting a couple amazing new neighbors! For all the reasons mentioned above, don't start making plans or worrying about who is going with them or who is staying at The Table (either way, 100% voluntary). Three years is a long time (we're not even one year old!), and when the time comes, we'll talk more specifically and help you both discern and follow God's calling on your life - whether that's staying here or being sent!
Q7 :: How can I help or be a part of all this?
The same way you can be a part of what God is doing at The Table - continue to Know God, Love People, and Cultivate Beauty (our Mission). The more established and mature we are as a church, the more we will be able to bless Justin and Caitlyn when we send them with people and resources to plant in Longmont. In other words.. Pray! If you're not in a Community Group, join one! If you are, but haven't invited your neighbors, what are you waiting for! If you're not serving on Sunday morning, step up and help out with Table Kids, run slides, and/or contribute your musical skills! If you're not giving sacrificially, prayerfully do so!
In other words, generously give of your time, treasure, and talents for the good of your church family.
Q8 :: (Insert Question Here)
If you have any other questions not covered here, let us know! For a church as young as The Table, everything is new, so we know there will be many more questions along the way.