The other day Don Johnson asked me to say something more about the church we're starting. So I want to thank him for the set-up.
After returning from Guam we looked at several communities in the Phoenix area where we might settle in and work on starting a new congregation. We decided that Laveen would be a good spot because --
a. There were people praying for someone to come start a Covenant church there.
b. There are a few families very interested in starting a new church.
c. It's an area even more under-churched than the rest of Arizona. I'm guessing that there are 25,000-30,000 people living in the community (all the demographics are outdated because the area has grown so fast). And there are only perhaps 10 congregations in the village. (Laveen is a "village' in the city of Phoenix.) All but one or two meet in school buildings.
d. There is a good mix of people in the area and we feel called to work at the crossroads where several cultural and ethinic groups meet. I mentioned the other day that Laveen still has some active agricultural roots. It's suburban in appeance. But the mix of people is more urban. It has a nice soft buzz to it.
e. We can afford to buy a house there. Because there is no conference funding for another church plant at this point we're going to try to start out bi-vocationally. Being in a place were we can buy a house outright eliminates a house payment and allows us to focus more time and energy on the church.
f. We have lots of family and friends in the metro-Phoenix area -- and are already finding that we can draw on these connections.
We expect to spend the next 12 months tiling the soil -- getting to know the community, connecting with people, telling the story, and developing a launch team. The goal at this point is to "go public" (so to speak) in the fall of 2010.
There is an initial shell of a website at MasterPieceChurch.org with a little more information.