Can you imagine living in a country where less than one percent of the population are Christians? We’re talking about places like Afghanistan, Somalia, Turkey, Yemen and Iran. Imagine that at every store you walk into, every restaurant you eat in and every school your children attend…you are mot likely the only Christian in the building. Imagine how odd that would feel? Imagine how sad would it be to know that almost every face you look into belongs to a person that doesn’t know Jesus?
Well, I am not talking about Somalia or Turkey or Afghanistan. I am talking about Utah County. I’m talking about this specific area we live in, the very spot where Pioneer Community Church has just opened. Utah County is .84 percent Evangelical. To put that into perspective, both Pakistan and North Korea are TWICE as Evangelical as Utah County. To say that starting a church here is difficult would be an understatement. It is a dry and rocky soil both physically and spiritually. Not many Christians come and few of those that do stay. But how can you reach those no one is reaching without going where no one is going? God knew that PCC would be planted in soil that has received little attention. He knew who He would call to serve and exactly what that would look like. I do not now what lives ahead but I know the One who does and that is all I need to know.
So…PCC is officially open! We had our very first public service on 09/10/17. (That was also the 50th anniversary of our sending church, FBCW. What a perfect anniversary present…a baby church!) We are very excited about what the future holds for this little church. Our team is not made of professionals but it made of faith, prayer and a passion to tell people about Jesus.
Hank & I lead worship, Lori works with the children and Barry preaches. We also have our four amazing kids working too in the technical areas and in children’s. It is truly a team of eight. Barry’s parents live with us for part of the year and they are currently here and will help in big ways until they head back east.
We have a website, podcast (Search for us – Pioneer Community Church, Utah), Instagram and Facebook page. We still run the diaper and formula pantry as an outreach ministry and Barry & I have officially been approved to be a part of the NAMB family. We are even listed on their website. (Fancy!)
We’ve been incredibly blessed with prayer from all over the country. We also are incredibly thankful for our home church, FBCW, and all of the dedication and time they have spent on us personally, on this church campus and on praying for the Lord to move in a big way in Utah County. We’ve been blessed by multiple teams on short term mission trips that chose to spend their time here learning about, sharing the Gospel with and falling in love with the people of Utah. We’ve had an amazing intern here for the past two summers and we plan to have him more in the future. God has provided an amazing location for us to meet in each Sunday, multiple community events for us to participate in and plenty of sweet babies that we get the privilege of helping with diapers and formula. He has been so faithful!
Will the church growth here look like it would in Florida? Can you imagine it would in Afghanistan? It won’t here either unless God wants to give us a miracle. Still, I heard a story recently that has changed my mindset and I would like to share it with you. (If you are completely anti-hunting, feel free to skip this part…)
Another church planter was frustrated and discouraged because he had been preaching in the same place for 4 years and the church had not grown past 15 people in attendance. His friend and mentor asked him if he’d ever gone hunting. “When you shoot a deer or whatever game you are hunting, you have to go find where it ran to after being shot. In order to find the animal, you follow the blood. If you keep walking and no longer see any blood what do you do? You go back to the last place you KNOW you saw blood and circle that area until you see where that blood trail leads.” The mentor asked his friend, “Where is the last place you KNOW you saw God’s calling?” The pastor said it was in the church he was preaching in. His mentor then said, “Keep circling the blood until God leads the trail somewhere else.”
We KNOW we saw God’s call to this exact place and at this exact time. So regardless of what success might look like to us or to anyone else, we will keep circling the blood until He leads the trail elsewhere. I can’t think of anyplace I’d rather be.