Some of you may know that in addition to my duties as Pastor of Executive Ministries at Left Hand, I’m starting a new organization to launch new, inclusive worshipping communities across the United States (plus a few scattered elsewhere). I’m taking the knowledge of church planting I gained in helping to start Left Hand and sharing it with other church planters.
I’m joined in this new organization, Launchpad Partners, by a few friends and fellow church planters. Colby Martin is a pastor in San Diego, and author of the popular book, Unclobber, about his journey of becoming affirming. Jen Fisher was an associate pastor at Forefront Brooklyn, one of Left Hand’s financially sponsoring churches. She is now in seminary in Indianapolis. And yes, working with two Jen’s (Fisher and Jepsen) can get confusing.
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to facilitate a cohort of three potential church planters who started with Launchpad a few months ago. It’s a group filled with beautiful, experienced leaders who have been barred from leadership positions in other churches for being either gay or a woman. Those other churches are missing out on some powerful people! The three hail from California, South Carolina and Texas — a wonderful mix of backgrounds and locations!
Our guest expert on Wednesday was Left Hand’s own Jen Jepsen. We heard from Jen about her story and journey to starting Left Hand, and learned how she built Left Hand’s community by simply emailing her friends to join her for monthly dinners. Jen and Eric have hosted 28 dinners and hundreds of hungry souls since! The dinners have become core to what we do at Left Hand!
Jen ended our time together by encouraging our three discerners what they could do to build their communities:
Your resources are what will determine what you can do to build community. For me, I had a 1965 brick ranch with an acre yard. My resources were my home, a functional kitchen, a big dining room table and a large back yard. That doesn’t mean you all have that. What are your resources that you can utilize without sacrificing yourself too much? Who are the people who are flanking you? Look at those things — building your new community doesn’t have to look like how I did it. Honor yourself, honor your bandwidth, honor your resources.
These words were a powerful reminder to me to keep it simple and use what I’ve already got. I tend to over-engineer solutions to simple problems and Jen’s words reminded me that sometimes the simple solutions are exactly what brings most impact.
I hope you’re planning on joining us this evening for our next community dinner! If you’re not on the list, email Jen for details and directions to her 1965 brick ranch. See you there.