Thursday, December 14, 2006

First Steps (Part 2)

This post is the second in the "Steps" series. It's the "follow up" post to this one: First Steps

When we first arrived in the Alliance, Texas area, it was a place full of promise. There were new neighborhoods being built everywhere, and just a glance at a master plan for the area made it clear that this was the place to be. It was shaping up to be the fastest growing area in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

But when we started the church there were far more cow pastures than neighborhoods here. The neighborhoods were in the works, but the population was still pretty slim.

The "Alliance, Texas" area itself was more of a concept than a reality at that time, consisting of a master planned land development project by the Perot family (Yes, that Perot family .) And as such, it loosely included the towns of Keller, Roanoke, Haslet, Justin, Westlake, Northlake, Trophy Club and North Fort Worth within what is sometimes referred to as the "Alliance, Texas Corridor." A brilliant development with big business appeal, Perot's company, Hillwood, aimed at the big boys first. Retail and housing developments followed.

The heart of this development was the Alliance Airport, located about a mile or so away from the Texas Motor Speedway. When we discovered a building near the Airport that we could rent for worship services, we were excited. We would be able to meet in the dead center of the Alliance, Texas area. [Of course we didn't know at the time that it really was the "dead" center, but - more about that later.] Yes, one location to rule them all...:-D

Our last Sunday at the Church we were leaving was in October. I was free to begin recruiting team members around this time. One couple said, "Yes" right away. Another couple called us up and came on board a few weeks later. In November, another couple was on board. We had our first public worship service in January...

Yeah. About 2 months from Team to Start.

...It wasn't very pretty.

Of course, to most church planters today (myself included), starting public services this soon in the process would generally be considered insanity. But, start them we did. Not "despising the small beginnings," we basically hit the ground running and didn't stop running for four years.

And on a personal level, I knew that this was where God wanted me to be - planting a church, learning to risk, caring about people, becoming a servant, making sacrifices, working through challenges, creatively solving problems, becoming fully dependent on Him and working through my understanding of what church could and should be.

Today, the Alliance, Texas area is everything that was predicted about it in those early days. It is truly a booming area, adding new neighborhoods and retail environments at an amazing pace. There are people everywhere. For reaching that "boom" of population, however, we were probably about 3 years too early.

But I am certain that God wanted us here, nonetheless. When we didn't draw the crowds we had hoped for early on, I knew it was going to be tough, but hey. That's just part of the deal. What worthwhile endeavor isn't challenging?

Now it would be very easy for me to "pick apart" every decision at every turn and challenge we experienced along the way and spend a ridiculous amount of time over-analyzing why our church plant has drawn to a close after four years, but doing so would be tedious and unproductive. Instead, I'll be focusing on the things that I have learned and that will be helpful for the future. I'll throw in a few "behind the scenes" stories along the way.

The next post in this series will provide a basic "time line" of the journey of Compass Church.

...And what an exciting, difficult, powerful, frustrating and wonderful journey it has been...


Gary Lamb said...

Great stuff dude. Somehow I lose your blog and somehow refound it today. I hate to hear about the church shutting down but keep up with these stories as they are gold for church planters to learn by.

Great point about arriving to the area to early. I tell guys that all the time.

Johnny Leckie said...

Hey thanks, Gary.

There are more stories and "lessons learned" on the way. Not all of them sound this glum. :)

But in case you missed it, this blog is now being continued at