Church Highlight: Christ Fellowship
Your name: Greg LaughlinYour spouse and children’s names: Adrienne Laughlin, Isaiah, Autumn, Seth, Jack Name of all members on your church planting team: James Journigan, Chi Elmore Name of your church plant:Christ Fellowship ChurchLocation of church plant: Tri-cities of Virginia (Colonial Heights, Petersburg, Hopewell) Date church was planted: 1/1/2014 Name of partnering church(es): Crossway Church, Faith Mountain Baptist Church
What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city? Having grown up in Colonial Heights, I have a deep desire to see a church started in this area that focuses on Gospel primacy in all things, a Reformed view of doctrine and church practice, and a striving towards Biblical Fellowship that results in God being glorified in and through His people. Our city is filled with people who know the message of Jesus. But, it is scarce to see that message bring Biblical change to a person’s life that results in holiness and a deep and rich love for the Triune God. This has led to either trivial church life or to an ever growing misunderstanding of the Christian faith, the fruit of which is becoming all the more potent. We have planted to be an outpost of the Christian faith for the broken and hurting who have been destroyed by this world or by the lack of Christian discipleship.
What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church plant so far? In the 2-3 years since we planted, we have seen God grant repentance to unbelievers and believers alike. We have seen Him begin to strengthen us as a body to walk, even if stumbling sometimes, in a manner worthy of His calling. God has given us a unity within the church and a desire to see it grow through the preaching of the Gospel. He has also sifted and pruned us in some areas where we were weak. Most of all, He has been with us, which is all we can ask.
What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church plant in the future? Over the next 2-3 years, I would hope the Lord would be pleased to increase us in number without losing the unity, love, and faithfulness that He has built into us. I would like to be able to work with other churches in the area in order to serve together more faithfully the people in the Tri-cities. I would like to see another elder trained up and serving because the need necessitates it. I would like to see our people understand the Scriptures deeply, and to such a degree, that they are as influenced by them then as they are the secular culture around them now. That the desire of our hearts would change from selfishness and comfort, to Christ and faithfulness. Most of all, I hope the Lord will be pleased to keep us, for we are prone to wander.
What advice do you have for future church planters? The mystery of God is such that He delights in taking us through suffering, hardship, and sacrifice. It is the way He saved us through Christ. It will be the way He saves you from yourself. If you are not ready for suffering, hardship, and sacrifice, you should pause and meditate on the Scriptures some more before you plant. Your emotions will lie to you. Your hopes and plans will change. Your wife will struggle. Your leaders may leave you. All of it is under the perfect sovereign will of God and is no sign that He is against you. Make sure your theology has built into you a backbone of grace that can endure suffering and hardship. Make sure you read the Scriptures through the lens of suffering, trouble, and hardship because this is how the Kingdom of God comes. So suffering and hardship are necessary, expect them.
What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog? The Pillar Network has been an amazing source of encouragement, help, and fellowship in the process of planting Christ Fellowship Church. If you are not involved, please find out a way to become involved. The Lord is doing wonderful things through it. If you are involved, do not grow weary in doing good. Christ Fellowship is a fruit of your labor. Thank You for your sacrifice and may this encourage you to sacrifice all the more.
What are your 3-4 main prayer requests? -Pray that the Lord, by His Spirit, would rescue and save many and that the Kingdom of God would come in the Tri-cities of Va. -Pray that the Lord would keep the pastors from sin and the temptation of the evil one. -Pray that the Lord would give us everything we need to be pleasing in His sight. Where we are weak, that He would show us and strengthen us. Where we are lacking, that He would provide all our needs -Pray that the Lord would make us a church deeply moved by the realities of His grace and all the benefits and blessings that we have through Christ.