Catching Fire in St. Petersburg
Category : St. Petersburg
Greetings from downtown St. Petersburg!
There are two ways to build a fire. The first way is to buy lighter fluid, pour it on the wood and watch it light up quickly. The second way is to slowly gather kindling. Then, you use that kindling to start a small fire that grows incrementally. The first method is easier, but you run the risk of the wood not catching. The second method is slower, but you have a better chance of building a sustainable fire.
Church planting is exactly like this. You can start with a bang. Spend huge amounts of money on advertising and attract a big crowd and hope it catches. The second way is to slowly gather the people that God puts in your path. At City Church, we have intentionally chosen the second of these two methods.
This means that as we grow towards critical mass, self-support, and becoming our own particular church that we are choosing a slower method. As I visited with a number of friends this past month, I was grateful for the way that so many of you keep up and pray for us! The question that I got asked the most was, “are you averaging 50 yet?” The answer is, in short, no. But that is because it is not something that happens quickly. We don’t just want 50 people for the sake of having 50 people. We want to see Jesus Kingdom grow by seeing people who do not believe in Jesus come to know and love him. We want to see christians who are new to the area become a part of the mission that we are on.This is slower, but it sets us up to be a church that won’t fizzle in the long run.
Would you pray for patience and fruit for us at City Church? Pray that we would be patient as we grow slowly. But also pray that we would see fruit by inviting our friends, neighbors, and co-workers to experience the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus.
Here are some other ways to pray for City Church and the Woodalls this month:
- Pray for our core group. I was so grateful to be able to leave the church for a weekend this month. We had a guest preacher from Reformed University Fellowship. But other than that, the people of City Church took care of every single detail of the church. It is comforting as a planter to know that the church doesn’t just rely on you to exist.
- Pray for me. This month has been tough as I have had a number of minor health things stack up. I have had an infected tooth (requiring 2 root canals and a crown), a stomach bug the hit part of the family, and allergies that turned into a mild case of bronchitis. Pray that all of this will be behind me as of my root canal/crown work tomorrow.
- Pray for Angie. She got to get away for an overnight retreat with several other church planting wives from our presbytery. I was grateful for the rest that gave her.
- Conner continues to be so helpful! In so many ways his personality reminds us of Angie!
- Pray for Owen too. Just as much as Conner resembles Angie, Owen is 100% my son! His love for people never ceases to amaze me.
- Elliot is growing into his own! It is so fun to see his personality come out more and more. I think he is the most verbal of any of our kids, and that is saying something!
- Pray for the gospel to continue to go out in the city of St. Petersburg. Pray that Jesus would draw people to himself as we lift him up, both Sunday’s and throughout the week.
Thank you so much for your love, financial support, and prayers. You are all a part of what God is doing in downtown St. Petersburg!
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. – Philippians 1:3-5
Justin, Angie, Conner, Owen, and Elliot