Let’s sing a love song to Julie and Jerome in honor of their one-year anniversary as pastors for Ridge Ave.!
Of course they did not plant the church by themselves, but leaders are important and we don’t have that many of them. At least we don’t have that many leaders who will disrupt their entire lives with the difficulties of serving us—sometimes herding us like cats instead of sheep! There are not that many church planters, period. There are, especially, not that many rookies who will take on the daunting assignment of forming a dynamic duo to form a congregation to form the next church Jesus is creating. We have those leaders in Julie and Jerome. So here is my nomination for the love song by Gladys Knight and the Pips. I suppose Julie and Jerome are singing it to one another right now. But the main line for us, their admirers, is: “Did we ever tell you you’re our heroes?” I hope so.
Thank you Julie and Jerome and Circle of Hope Ridge Ave—from me and all of us!
Jerome and Julie, you are brave, faithful people who have weathered storms inside and out to lead us to form our latest congregation! You made it through the first year! You made an ambitious plan. You built up the constituents, made hundreds of new connections, and included new individuals and families. Julie did her first baptism. Jerome planted a new cell. You made good speeches! You and your core team organized a new Sunday meeting and all the teams that means—and you found a place to hold it. You all multiplied cells. You held a BGX, an egg hunt and the amazing Fern Hill Park event. You incorporated new covenant members. You built it. You did all of this while nurturing young families, renegotiating life with your spouses and moving through the doubts and surprises of doing something brand new to you. I think we could go on. Thanks again.
Julie recently said the congregation really did start out like a baby and now it is walking.
We are ready to start in a whole new way. We are so ambitious and optimistic that we always expect to hit the ground running! As it turns out, we were actually a baby ad had to crawl before we could walk. And maybe the baby has some attachment issues, since the mother’s milk was not that plentiful! But that kid is walking now! It’s going to keep being challenging but we’ve got you—and God has REALLY got you, right there in his/her arms. Julie and Jerome, this post is mainly for you because you have been starting in a whole new way, too. You persevered and learned so much! You are ready to fly, now that you see how this thing works and see how YOU work a lot better, too, as a team and as individuals! Thank you for sharing your gifts, your truth, your love and, most of all, your faith. It took faith to get this far. The next leg of the journey will be full of joy even as the challenges pile up: more challenge, more grace, more joy.