Incubation to Incarnation

For the past ten days, the live feed of April, a pregnant giraffe, has captured the attention of 40 million people around the world. 40 million! Perhaps you’ve seen the news pop up on TV or in your Facebook feed. Funny enough, not much has happened (no sign of a baby as of this writing). It’s been a global exercise in waiting.

The excitement surrounding a birth is understandable. Orchard Group experiences that thrill frequently, although the waiting is of a different sort. Incubation is a fitting description for the pre-launch phase of a new church. This stage of growth (often unseen by most) is foundational in establishing a healthy community for years to come.

At The Gathering in Harlem, men and women are packing out an art studio to study the Bible together, pray, and build community. The church plans to hold launch services in the fall. Right now lead planter Kenneth Hart is building a team of people committed to growing closer to God and each other. This pre-launch phase is exciting, but much of the work is happening behind the scenes.

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The Lagos team, meanwhile, is celebrating a healthy “birth.” City Church launched last month in Nigeria! (If you missed the announcement, you can read it here.)

Leaders from partner churches gathered together in Lagos last month to offer support and encouragement to City Church and lead planter Femi Osunnuyi. Lagos is a rapidly growing city and an important cultural and economic center in West Africa. Femi and his team are starting a church that “Loves God, loves people, and loves Lagos” through its worship, biblical learning, and service to the community. They are already reaching three neighborhoods with community groups.

While City Church has just experienced a “birth," Epiphany Church is now growing into a healthy, vibrant expression of the gospel in Brooklyn.

In March, Epiphany Church celebrated their first birthday. The place was packed with standing room only! Epiphany’s attendance continues to grow, as do their roots in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The church is committed to joining Jesus in the work he is already doing in Brooklyn. There are 2.6 million people in Brooklyn alone. This means there is much work to do!

As Kenneth Hart recently said, “The growth of God's kingdom is not dependent on who we are but on who HE is! Which means that God is not limited by our ability but by our obedience.” Many thanks to all of you who are obedient to the Great Commission’s imperative to “make disciples of all nations.” From incubation to incarnation, your support helps make new churches possible!

Please keep The Gathering, City Church, and Epiphany Church and their leaders in your prayers as they do important work to establish growing, healthy, and vibrant communities centered on Jesus.

Each church is a collection of changed lives and hearts growing closer to Jesus. We’re telling some of their stories on our social media pages under the hashtag #PeopleMatterToGod.

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Jamie Larson