Below the Waterline

If you visit New York City and have a day to spare, take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The views of Manhattan and Brooklyn are spectacular. The bridge is an engineering marvel. When it was built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Several controversies surrounded the landmark during its construction in the late 1800s.

As the foundations on the Brooklyn side soared 100 feet into the air, on the Manhattan side, nothing was visible. People grumbled. Charges of fraud and deceit filled the newspapers. Long before Twitter and Facebook, the public outcry grew to a roar. Finally, the Chief Engineer addressed the furor.


While the public pushed for results they could see, the most difficult, daring, and creative work of the bridge was unseen. It was happening below the water line.   Imagine if the engineers responded to public pressure. Imagine if they sped up the process to create something visible before creating something solid. Would the bridge still stand today?

When new churches begin, much of the creative and hard work happens below the waterline - before launch Sunday. Once the lead planter is selected, many prayerful months are spent finding a location, securing funding, and gathering a core team.   Plans are made and often readjusted. Relationships are built. The foundations set during this time affect who the church will become, and how they will express the gospel in their city.

Several of our projects are working below the waterline, doing the visionary work to build a new Christian community in their city. Will you commit to pray for them this month?


Louis and Yolandi Scheepers are gathering people in Cape Town, South Africa to launch Pro Deo Church. 50 people have attended their vision meetings. A man who attended told Louis, "I'm always skeptical of churches, and I've never felt welcome. Tonight, I feel like I belong."


Femi and Tosin Osunnuyi in Lagos, Nigeria are busy training leaders. 42 adults and 17 children have been attending the core group meetings. They are already looking for larger meeting space! Femi’s Biblical teaching is shaping lives. Three marriages have been restored. One woman has been able to forgive a hurt she had held for years. Two men have been challenged to live generously. The work happening in Lagos is building a solid foundation for the future.


Kenneth and Shanika Hart have relocated to the Central Harlem neighborhood where they will plant a new church. Locals have already dubbed him “Pastor K.” Kenny is excited to be back in the neighborhood where he grew up. He is intentionally building relationships with people in Central Harlem.

The Orlando Project is working towards launch in December! Greg Marksberry and the team are excited for their public worship services to begin. Over the last couple of months, the church has uniquely used a truck as the neighborhood “bookmobile.” Because their neighborhood does not have a library, they are making the bookmobile available to serve the people of Lake Nona. It is equipped with books, iPads, screens and other tools.


Etienne, leader of The Paris Project, has been investing in relationships in their new neighborhood. He is intentionally getting to know everyone in their building, and the owners of all the shops on their street. New staff members Joe and Anne-Sophie Tandy have joined the team.

What is being built in these projects, and the unseen work happening right now, will influence lives and neighborhoods with the truth of the gospel. Your prayers and support and essential in giving them a firm foundation into the future.

Miami Retreat

1 David McCullough, The Great Bridge

Subscribe to Orchard Group's Prayer Newsletter

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson