In early 2019 we set plans, as a leadership team, to launch one new Mariners congregation in Orange County each year for the next five years. Orange County is filled with 3.2M people spread out through 34 cities, and we believe Jesus loves each person and each city. We were in early stages of launching a new church launch, and then it was CoVid.
While at first it seemed that the plans for launching a new church would be slowed, God used the pandemic to do more than we could ask or imagine. In July 2020 we started having small gatherings outside in alleyways, hotel gathering places, and courtyards of coffee shops throughout Orange County. We called the approach “Mariners in the Neighborhood,” and at first it was a few televisions, tents, amazing hosts, and amazing volunteers. In those gatherings God formed community, brought people to Himself, and raised up new leaders. As the gatherings kept growing, kid’s ministry, programming for teenagers, discipleship groups, live worship, and local outreach opportunities were added.
God used the pandemic to help us in launching a new church — four of them! My heart is so full as I write this. I am so proud of our team and so thankful to be able to see a new church in those amazing cities.
5 Leadership Reminders When Launching a New Church
1. God has gifted His people.
God’s people are amazing. I am blown away by the volunteers at these four new congregations and how gifted they are caring for others, how passionate they are to serve, and how skilled they are leading others. God has gifted His people to serve others, to steward His grace, and it is beautiful when it happens.