Church was awesome! Our children were happy and loved it. Lorah got baptised. Daniel was born. We started leading a home group, which was awesome and meant less travelling too. One day, out of the blue, Lorah asked I we could lead a youth group like I did in South Africa. When she was little a did a lot of children and youth work and even though she was young it obviously had an impact on her. I immediately responded yes. It made sense to me and if it helped her make friends at school then why not.
The Flood was born! It was a structured youth group that we help on Friday night's at our home. It started with just four girls and then they requested that the boys come along. Gulp! I was a bit nervous to add boys to the mix but agreed and the following Friday we had twelve children (one of them named Samuel Beard.... who is now our son-in-law, but that's a whole other story). From there it grew and grew until we were averaging 25 children a week in our apartment. We enjoyed cooking and eating a meal together, some open question time, games, some sort of Bible teaching and of course music as many of the children played an instrument or sang. It was amazing, we love The Flood. It wasn't long before we outgrew our home and annoyed the neighbours too much so we moved our little youth group to a local community center and continued to grow to fifty plus children. At one point we had 112 young people on our database and many of them were accepting Jesus when we shared the gospel with them. It became obvious that we needed to disciple them and although we were taking some to church with us on Sundays we simply couldn't get them all to church.
One Sunday we arranged a meeting with the pastor of our church and asked if we could set up a Sunday discipleship group rather than attend the evening services so that we could care for these young Christians. After a good discussion we left the meeting with permission to plant a church! What!! To this day I have no idea how that happened but it happened. Our pastor asked us to send him a written proposal for the church and a proposed start date. I guess he didn't expect the massive document that was emailed over to him within a week, perhaps he didn't expect us to get back to him at all. But we did and proposed a September launch date to which he agreed.
That was it, Eric and I were about to become church leaders! We worked feverishly around the clock trying to get ready for the launch. Our pastors didn't really offer any guidance or get involved at all but we knew that they were available if we needed them. One amazing man from our home group was immediately appointed the youth leader and agreed to take care of our children. Eric of course was a brilliant guitarist but other than that we didn't really have a worship team. So when we needed a singer Lorah offered to do it. She had never done anything like it in her life but knew that someone needed to step up and do it so she offered. Sam played drums so he offered and then some of the boys from our youth group quickly learned to play some guitar and bass. Within months we had a worship team.
Next was the preaching.... gulp! Eric and I had never preached yet. EVER. But we put that to the back of our mind and just got on with it. We shared the very first sermon for the launch event, Eric planned to say some things and I would say other thing and together we were hoping for a halfway decent first sermon.
The launch date was set, the band rehearsing their set list, the sermon written, promotional cards printed and the coffee and tea ordered. We were conveniently able to hire the community center where we held The Flood on Friday nights so the venue was set. We were so excited and the launch date couldn't come quick enough. Life was so good and made perfect sense to us as a family. Oh and did I mention that I was pregnant with Amy at that time, she was due in December of the same year. There was no way we could have anticipated the intense roller coaster ride we would go on from that September.
Our church was planted, our baby born and we were having the time of our life! But more about that in my next post...