Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year End Giving

In just a couple days we will say goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010. I just sent a special year-end giving e-newsletter to all of our financial partners. I want to ask you to pray with me for something specific. I think I felt like God directed me to pray and believe for at least one gift of more than $10,000 to come to Freedom Valley Tulsa prior to 2010.

I'm not asking you to give that gift . . . unless God is asking you to, which is another story and between you and God . . . I'm asking you to believe and pray with me for this big gift to come in through our year-end giving opportunity.

Thank you for your faithful prayers. If you would like to view the e-newsletter I sent or would like to give online, you may do that here.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Monday, December 28, 2009

9 Launch team members arriving this week!

I can hardly sit still. Nine of my favorite people in the world are arriving in Tulsa this week. On Wednesday, Jake and Shawna Lewis, Steph Rider and Evan Stoltzfoos should be pulling into town after a short 23 hours on the road! Gerry and Julie Stoltzfoos will be with them, but they are not staying, unfortunately :) The following day, Matt and Cindy Gesser and their three boys, Shade, Stone and Silas will be here! This is off the subject, but I want to prophesy over Shade right now that he will be a star football player at Union High School and beyond . . . in college and the NFL.

Ok, back to the subject. These people are the brave explorers I spoke of in the video introducing our church. By the way, you can view the full version of that video here. It's the whole story of Freedom Valley Tulsa, so far, boiled down to 14 minutes. Check it out.

And pray for those who will be on the road this week, please. There is some more "winter weather" in the forecast this week for the Tulsa area. Our team is assembling in the place God has called us to be. We're following the voice of our Creator. There's not much more exciting and fulfilling than that.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Church and the Christmas season in Tulsa

One of the big reasons I wanted to get to Tulsa prior to our originally planned Jan 1 move date was to observe how churches in this city approach the Christmas season. With the notable exception of a blizzard on Christmas Eve (more on that in a minute), it looks like Tulsa Churches see and take advantage of the Christmas opportunity to connect with people who would not otherwise attend their churches. It looked like most churches had some type of Christmas Eve service with the larger ones offering many multiple services, some even prior to Dec 24.

I braved the blizzard and went to a service/production at Church on the Move. It was nothing short of amazing. It was the most creative and enjoyable production I've ever experienced paired with the most powerful presentation of the "Christmas Story" from the bible. It was fun and challenging. I loved every second of that 90-minute program.

Back to the snow. It is early Sunday morning as I write this and it has been well over 48 hours since the last of the snow has fallen, but just about every church in the city is closed. Yeah, the roads are still bad in spots and I'm not sure I would take my family out on them today, but the thing that bothers me is that I went to the movies yesterday and the place was packed. Shows were sold out and I waited in huge lines for popcorn. Same city, same people, same roads. It just kind of makes me mad that so many churches canceled today. True that I might not take my family out today, but I would open my church and be there for whoever might brave the elements. Thousands braved it for a movie yesterday. I'm sure a few may make it to church.

Oh well, I'll have ample opportunity to put my money where my mouth is in the future.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

changes in the leadership landscape . . .

Seems like there are changes taking place in the leadership landscape in God's Kingdom. I believe that Freedom Valley Tulsa will have a significant place in that landscape if we follow God's voice and stay true to what He says to us. Read more about this here on my personal blog.

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

day with God - what if . . .

I spent yesterday doing the best I know how just connecting with my Creator. I left my computer at home and had my phone off all day. Those things helped, but I still need to practice this habit of being alone with God. I need to find a good place to be or something. Yesterday, I mostly drove around and stopped here and there. Some reflections from my time "unplugged":

  • If I'm going to lead a church well, I need to lead my family well. I've struggled so much with the inherent chaos our family has been in with selling our home, living in a temporary one and then moving cross-country. The truth is that I've done a poor job coping and I've not been a very kind person to my wife and boys. That is changing, beginning yesterday.
  • As I drove around, I found some comfort in going to and going by the places I had memories from . . . old houses I'd lived in, old schools, etc. I think I heard God tell me to stop going back to the familiar places. This time around I'm a whole new man and God is creating a whole new identity. That scares me just a little.
To be honest, I'm a little scared on a few levels. I love Tulsa, but I feel like a stranger in a strange land. My mind goes to so many "what ifs". What if . . . some of our launch team does not come to Tulsa as planned . . . I don't do a good job networking with people here . . . we don't raise enough money. So many "what ifs".

Here's one God hit me with (and I love this one). What if all that happened but I still followed His call and pulled ever closer to Him. Well, if that all happened, things will be just fine.

Transition is difficult and scary. I desperately need and love your prayers at this time. Thank you!

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Theaters of Tulsa





I toured 2 theaters today . . . Cinemark at Tulsa and Cinemark 8. The first Cinemark was beautiful, then second was not. The problem with both is lack of good kids ministry space. Cinemark at Tulsa is a slim possibility, but I doubt it will work because of the shortage of kids ministry space. It's a great looking place. Some pictures for you to enjoy :)

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

touring the theater today

This morning @ 10am (that's 11am for you East Coasters - haha) we will be taking a good look around at the Cinemark Theater on 71st St. Pictures will follow. Please pray with me that God will talk to us about that location. As of right now, I absolutely love the location, however the cost has me a little nervous . . . probably would cost us in the neighborhood of just under $1000 per week.

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

possibilities

I'm going to do some recon work on the two movie theaters in Tulsa that we're considering using for our services. There's really only one that I'm very interested in, but I want to practice what they call "due diligence" and check all my theater options. I also hope to check on business banking and cell phone options today. I'll get to finish out my day with coffee with a new friend named Ryan.

Jon and Jen arrived safely yesterday and will begin looking at homes to rent today. Heather is back on the job-hunting trail. Please keep all of us in your prayers today as we look at the possibilities God may have for us here in Tulsa.

Jake, Shawna and the Gesser family all arrive in just a few short weeks. I can't wait to have more of the team here. I've never felt such a synergy with a group of people and I want to get to work! I love this life God has set up for me to live. What an adventure!

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

update

Steps are being taken. The team is assembling in Tulsa. Heather Bryant moved into her apartment in Tulsa last night and Jon and Jen Trout are flying in today to spend a few days (I think 5) looking at places for their family to live. Just found out recently that Matt Gesser has a job in Tulsa! God is setting things up.

On my side, I secured our EIN for the church last night and I'm working through the process of getting tax exempt status in the state of OK. With a tax rate of 8.5, we can save big $ on all the equipment we will purchase this year if we can get that tax exempt status!

Just about 3 weeks until the next wave of the launch team moves to Tulsa!

Monday, December 7, 2009

update from Tulsa!

Wow, the last week has been an absolute blur . . . on a scale that I've not experienced before. I'm sitting in my living room on my second morning in Tulsa and I am finally beginning to feel some of the excitement in my spirit that I was hoping for.

Can I tell you something. Moving with 4 little boys is quite an undertaking. But, we are beginning to settle in just a bit. We now own a refrigerator and and groceries. Unfortunately, that refrigerator is too tall for the cabinet opening in our kitchen and I need to take a half-inch off the bottom of the cabinet, so if anyone is skilled with a jigsaw (and owns one) let me know. We have our washer and dryer hooked up and laundry is being washed and dried. We have a table and chairs in the kitchen, so meals don't have to be eaten on the floor. Things are slowly but surely being set up. We register Colin and Liam for school today and they start tomorrow (I hope :)

The best thing? For the first time in several days, I spent some time this morning reading God's Word. Man, that is such life to me. Just look at this :

Hebrews 4:12 - 13 - For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

I can't wait for the rest of our team to join us here in Tulsa. More updates to come

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

my final night in PA!

Driving back from Lancaster now with Jake, Shawna Daniel and Heather. We had a great night at FLCC again. Thanks to Pastor Sam Masteller and his team for having us out tonight. I love that church!

Well, this is it. Tomorrow at 9am we pull out for OK! And how about this . . . Heather Bryant is going with us tomorrow! She just had a development with her job that let her leave for Tulsa a couple weeks early. We're so glad to travel with her.

Hey, if you would not mind, could you say some prayers for our family and Heather as we travel over the next few days? We could definitely use a concerted prayer effort as we spend 3 days on the road.

Well, my next post will be from somewhere between here and there.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Monday, November 30, 2009

full - length film up on facebook!

The full-length film "Introducing Freedom Valley Tulsa" is up on my facebook page now.

It's a 15 minute story of God calling multiple generations and multiple people to Tulsa, Oklahoma to connect with the hundreds of thousands who currently do not go to church.

Please take a few minutes and check it out. If you're interested in partnering with our church, either financially or in prayer, please let me know and I'll send you a partnership card and a DVD of the film!

You can see the movie here

Jason Fitch
Lead Pastor

a vehicle!

I'm heading over to the tag agency shortly to meet a man I hardly know. He's a guy who does not even go to our church, but he's signing the title of his Jeep Cherokee over to our church today. Pretty cool. I'll be driving this Jeep down to Tulsa on Thursday and it may just tow our first church trailer and equipment around Tulsa in the months to come!

God is supplying all of our needs and I feel like we're only on the edge of the huge blessing He's got in mind!

Only 3 days until our family moves . . . not that I'm counting or excited about that :)


Jason Fitch
Lead Pastor

Sunday, November 29, 2009

great morning in Lancaster

We're on our way home from FLCC in Lancaster, Pa. Pastor Sam Masteller is building a really fantastic church here in the heart of Amish Country. I believe they have seen almost 200 people receive Christ just this year!

I showed our preview video and shared for a few minutes in each service. I will be back with part of our team on Wed night to speak at their "First Wednesday " service. Can't wait.

Probably the nicest thing about today is who I'm traveling with . . . my whole family and Shawna Lewis. My favorites!

Jason Fitch
Lead Pastor

Saturday, November 28, 2009

coming to the end . . . and the beginning

It's hard to believe that I'm sitting in my office here at Freedom Valley York Rd after so many years and all I managed to pack up is 6 small boxes. Well, I've never been much of a pack rat.

In just about a week, our family will be rolling into Tulsa and unloading our stuff into our new home. It's seemed so far away for so long, I can hardly believe it's so close now.

I feel really somber today. These past few weeks has been a time of "last" or "last for a long time" events and the time is so near to actually go. I wondered, last night, why church planters never talk or write about what a heart-wrenching process it is for a family and their extended family and friends to part ways as they venture out across the country to plant the church God has called them to. All they ever say is, "In (insert the month and year) we moved to (insert city name)."

Let this church planter tell you right now, it's a whole lot more than that. My heart is heavy today for a lot of reasons, but my spirit is still jumping for what's in store.

Jason Fitch
Lead Pastor

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Gerry!

I'm not the guy who keeps up with everyone's birthday, but I heard it was Gerry Stoltzfoos' birthday today!

Gerry, you have been a mentor to me like no one else and I think that is probably going to only increase in the years to come. You gently and patiently wait for me to figure out that many of my greatest ideas are . . . well, silly. But you let me learn it on my own. You bless me and empower me like no one else I know. Thank you so much.

Happy Birthday to my pastor, mentor and friend!

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the grind

I must confess. I am tired. I am worn out. My brain is full. I feel a little unable to solve anymore problems this minute. This limbo phase is tough for me. In the last 4 weeks we have sold a house, put a contract on a house, secured financing and insurance for said house, moved out of a house, found two homes for our cat and moved in with my parents all in the midst of a little fund-raising "tour" of churches on the weekends. In the next two weeks we need to renegotiate the selling price of our home in Tulsa (new development), find another home for our cat, secure personal health insurance, secure church liability insurance and continue the "tour". All the while, the issue with a rental car I had an accident with on our video shoot trip to Tulsa is developing and with each new development, it looks worse and worse. Here's some free advice. If you're renting a car for church business, rent it in the church's name, not your own. BIG MISTAKE!

I'm not complaining. I'm just sharing where I am as of this moment in time. I'm fine and I'll make it through. I'm thrilled to be following God and He is my source of everything. I could just use some prayers . . . and a day off :)

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Saturday, October 31, 2009

DVDs are here!

Our DVDs, "Introducing Freedom Valley Tulsa" are here . . . finally!

They contain a 15 minute film telling the story of what God has done thus far in directing us to plant Freedom Valley Tulsa!

I would love to send a free copy to anyone who is interested to see it. If you would like a copy (or more than one), just leave your name and mailing address on this post.

There is a preview for you to see on an earlier post from a few weeks back . . .

what a week!

What a week it's been . . . to catch up:


Sunday: Took a team of 4 men from our launch team to Heritage AG in Gettysburg. What a great day that was. That church was really warm and inviting. It is obvious that Pastor Jeff Wilson and his leadership team has built a solid culture of missions and reaching outside of their own church! One very cool thing was how multiple people came to me afterward wide-eyed about how much God's anointing was all over me as I spoke. Yeah, that's cool in itself, but even better was I felt completely normal. Sure, I felt like it went well, but I didn't feel anything like people reported seeing and feeling from me. The lesson there . . . God is going to operate through me (and any of us) quite independently. God does not need my consent to work through me. I just feel blessed and very humble that He would choose to.

Monday: Our POD arrived and we got about half-way loaded up

Tuesday: It rained and I was frustrated. Could not load anything up. Should have just gone to work as usual.

Wednesday: It rained again, but I learned my lesson from Tuesday. I did not attempt to load up. I just went to work as normal and it was a great day. We also moved in with my parents this day.

Thursday: With the help of Jake, Shawna, Heather, Stephanie and Daniel we got completely packed up and out of our home in Hanover.

Friday: We settled on our home in Hanover and received the biggest check I've ever had in hand yet! Too bad it's only for a couple weeks until we buy the next house :) The good news, though . . . we get to tithe off that huge sum of money. I can hardly wait to write that tithe check!

Today is Saturday and I'm just finishing up preparing to speak and present some vision at Family Worship Center in Red Lion, PA. I am believing that God will do more wonderful things there tomorrow.

Thanks so much for your prayers!

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Monday, October 19, 2009

God is building our team

God has added some awesome new people to our launch team as of late. In the last few weeks, Stephanie Rider and Evan Stoltzfoos have decided to join the team. And just this evening Josh and Bekah Ploch, with their boys Bailey and Jamie have decided to join the team. Welcome everyone!

All I can say is that I can’t even imagine what God is up to. He is assembling such a great team. God is building a serious butt-kicking church (is that ok to say?) and were going to help! How cool.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

busy weekend

Wow, this weekend was a whirlwind. God is at work in so many ways.

Yesterday, I had a great day with Jake, Derek, Evan and Matt down at NCC in DC, where Jake played on the worship team and even lead a couple songs. I loved being with those guys. We got to dream a little on the Metro train and at Ebenezers. Late night, but a great night.

This morning I had the great privilege of speaking at FVSH. You can watch the video here if you'd like. Just click on "online sermons" and find today's date. I was joined by my family, Shawna, Derek, Jason Allder and the Gessers. It was great to have the team share what God is doing in their lives with the congregation at FVSH.

We just got home from our last life group meeting. It was great, as usual. I'll really miss so many people when we're gone and the ones at our life group will be among some of those I will miss the most.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Friday, October 16, 2009

not everyone is homeless!

I was just talking online with Jake Lewis and it looks like he, Shawna and Evan have found a home. Well, a town home and it looks like a great place. Sara and I found a great place last week too. So, the first two families from our launch team scheduled to move actually have a place to move to! Great news.

I'm going to be preaching at FVSH this weekend at 11am. I'll be joined by my awesome family, Daniel St.Armand and Shawna Lewis. I'm really looking forward to being there. I believe this is my 3rd or 4th time speaking at that church this year and I like those people more every time!

The best news of all? Our church may even have a home! Last week when I was in Tulsa I saw a great movie theater (12 screens and and I-max - pictured below) in a perfect location. Surely some church would already be using such a place in such a prime location, but I checked the availability just to follow every lead. Turns out it is both available and priced pretty reasonably. There is also another theater (8 screens) nearby that is a possibility. I can hardly wait to do a visit to those sites in December when we move!

I can hardly believe God has chosen me to be part of something so exciting. Hey, the next time someone tells you being Christian is boring, tell them they are full of . . . well, tell them they're wrong!

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Monday, October 12, 2009

much needed update

Wow, so much is happening with Freedom Valley Tulsa. Where to start . . . I better just bullet the highlights . . .
  • Sara and I bought a home in Tulsa last week. Looks like we're committed :)
  • I was invited to enter the assessment process with ARC last week. That's a great step forward. I feel very positive about ARC and cannot wait to be associated with those guys on a deeper level.
  • In the last few weeks we have added 2 additional members on our launch team . . . welcome to Stephanie Rider and Evan Stoltzfoos!
  • We are building toward some very significant financial support through a network of relationships with various churches and individuals. I'm blown away at what God is doing!
  • I went yesterday with a team of four others to "The Village Church" in Bedford, PA. We had a great service there. Rich Fogal is a top notch man and leader. Any church would be lucky to have him as their pastor.
I met so many cool people in Tulsa last week. I'm back in PA this week, but my heart is still in OK. It is now less than two months until our family moves. It's getting close!

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

would you pray for us?

My wife, Sara, and I will be flying to Tulsa on Sunday. We plan to spend 5 very productive days there in preparation for launching Freedom Valley Tulsa. Our objectives for this trip are:
  • Find ourselves a home to live in.
  • Meet with an organization called ARC to explore a future relationship with them as we go toward planting the church.
  • Meet with officials from the OK Assemblies of God to discuss the church plant as well.
  • Meet with some new friends in the Tulsa area.
It's a big week, to be sure, and a big week warrants some big prayers. Could you pray for the following:
  • We would find the right house for us.
  • We would find great favor with ARC and OKAG.
  • God would strategically develop our relationships in the Tulsa area.
  • We would have smooth travel to and from.
  • Our boys would have a great week at home without us . . . and that our hearts would not ache too much being away from them.
My last trip was, quite literally, a trip from hell . . . canceled flights, faulty equipment, rental car accident . . . I believe this trip will be one where we have great favor and blessing on us.

As always, thanks for your prayers!

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

Saturday, September 26, 2009

DVD coming soon . . . preview right here!

God has done so much, up to this point, to make this church a reality and I have a growing sense of how much more He wants to do.

We just finished pre-production on a short documentary telling that story. The 15 minute film will be all replicated on DVD in a few weeks. Please let me know if you would like a copy. I believe that it tells the story of what God has done and is doing so much better than I ever could.

It is a completely original film, including the soundtrack, produced almost exclusively by people on our team. Many thanks to Shawna Lewis, Evan Stoltzfoos, Jake Lewis and Daniel St.Armand for their tireless work to turn an idea into reality.

I uploaded the 3-minute preview version for you to see for now.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor
video

Monday, September 14, 2009

the story of God calling a man

I just saw that the story of God calling me to plant the church in Tulsa was featured on CMN's blog a few days ago. Check it out here

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the gravity of what we're going toward

As I get closer to the move to Tulsa, I find my head full, with no less than one thousand thoughts per second. I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on anything lately. I just finished reading in my one-year bible this morning, but I struggled the whole time to focus. I read in the books of Isaiah, 2 Corinthians and Psalms, but in addition to those books I was thinking about opening bank accounts, budgets, setting up offices, renting meeting space, how to meet and connect with people in Tulsa, work-week structure, future staff, structures to integrate interns . . . it goes on and on. I only scratched the surface.

I would guess this is normal for a church planter. Perhaps it's normal for anyone who's in the midst of selling one home, buying another and moving their family across the country. It just feels heavy and tiresome as of late. I would greatly appreciate your prayers.

I still feel like the luckiest man on earth to be called to such a great thing as this life I live!

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dec. 28th

Its becoming a reality. Shawna and I moved out of our apartment and into her parents attic this past weekend. We packed the majority of our belongings into my parents barn for storage until we move. We scheduled the trailer and made plans for moving on December 28th. We will be in Tulsa on December 29th. We are beyond excited to make the move. God has so much in store for the people of that city and we are so excited for what God is going to do in our lives as we offer ourselves to Him.

Jake Lewis - lead worshiper

Monday, August 31, 2009

prayer creates movement!

Just a quick follow up to my blog last week about some opposition coming against our launch team . . .

In the last few days since there has been a concerted prayer effort, I've seen some big time positive movement in a couple different families! Unfortunately, the details are personal, but maybe one day I can give some specifics.

My point is to bring some praise to God today. He is moving on our behalf and I love and praise Him for that.

Please continue to pray with us and for us. Your prayers make the difference far more than our work.

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

Thursday, August 27, 2009

moment of truth

We are really blessed to have a very healthy launch team of twenty-six people. I can hardly believe God has spoken to so many families about going to Tulsa, but I know He has and I'm so grateful to lead such an awesome team.

God has really perked my ears up lately to the fact that this team is headed for a season of opposition and attack. Well, I think it's underway and I want to ask you to pray with me.

For many on the launch team, the moment of truth may have seemed to be the time they decided to come to Tulsa. However, I think this is the real moment of truth. It's close enough now that it requires action and action that is change hurts.

I am asking that you would pray specifically for financial and relationship challenges for everyone on our launch team. I am asking God that not one person be knocked off the path God has called them to. Here are the names of everyone so you can pray very specifically for them.

Jason and Jenn Allder (Kids: Aleah,Lauryn,Brayton)
Heather Bryant
Derek Engle
Jason and Sara Fitch (Kids: Colin,Liam,Ethan,Jude)
Matt and Cindy Gesser (Kids: Shade,Stone,Silas)
Jake and Shawna Lewis
Fred Nimmon
Daniel St.Armand
Jon and Jen Trout(Kids: Annie,Ezra)

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Thursday, August 20, 2009

would you pray with us?

Would you join Sara and I in prayer? We got an offer on our house last night and it was a good one. However, we need to have the buyer agree to push back the closing date by about 3 weeks. We're praying that is acceptable to them. Can you join us in that prayer?

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Crazy Steps?

Every one of us who are moving to Tulsa (25 of us at this point) are a little crazy. Who picks up and moves across the country to start a church from nothing? How will we provide for our families? What if the church fails? What if it puts stress on our families? What if people back on the East Coast don't want us to go?

So many questions. No real answers . . . except that every one of us believes that the God who created the universe has directed us to do this. Turns out that God teaches us about this conundrum in Proverbs.

Breathe. Relax. Aaaahhh.


Proverbs 20:24 - The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? NLT

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Monday, August 17, 2009

Proverbs 14:4: Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

I love things being clean and orderly. I just had a conversation with Matt Gesser last night about this. But the truth is, things get messy during times of great harvest. And great harvest is what God has called us to in Tulsa. I'm very determined to build systems that work well and support efficiency, but I'm ok with stepping in some ox droppings as God brings a harvest in.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a prayer for Tulsa

Father God, I thank you for calling me to something that feels so much bigger than I am. I thank you that You love the people of Tulsa so much more than I ever could. Thank you for sending me to reach the thousands in that bible-belt city who don't see church or the body of Christ as relevant to them.

Lord, please help me to connect with people in the neighborhood I move to. Let me show love to the kids and families who live there. Help me to be a friend to the friendless and offer some hope to the hopeless. I want to be that kind of person. I will care about the people who no one else will bother to care for.

Let me be a living example of Jesus where I work and go to school. I don't want to be known as a person who goes to church, or even as a Christian, but a person who shows love through my actions each and ever day. I don't view my job as just a job or my peers as just peers. My job gives me the means to be a blessing and my peers are people that I can bless and serve with all my heart.

Lord, as I get to know a small group of people in our church, I want to live life with those people. I want to laugh with them and cry with them. When they are up, I want to celebrate with them and when they are down, I want to be the strength they don't have.

I want to be built into a leader that does more. I want to personally lead people into a relationship with You, God. I want to be a person who helps my friends out of situations they have been trapped in for years. I want to do the things You have planned for me to do since before I was born.

But I don't want to stop there. Beyond being a leader myself, help me build leaders in Your Kingdom. I believe that the people who I mentor and help grow up in their faith will mentor others. That they will be people who become missionaries . . . open rehab centers for the hopeless . . . start new churches . . . . come up with creative ways to finance Your work on earth. In short, I want to lead people to You who will do much great things than I ever will.

I am thinking of the tens of thousands with no connection to church or to You, Lord. People who live just within a few miles of where we will be in Tulsa. I believe, God, that You are creating circumstances for people to meet me, accept my friendship and ultimately accept the plan You have for their lives.

Lord, I'm in your hands. I'm following You on faith because I believe You have called me to Tulsa to live out a plan that only You completely know right now. I am humbled to be part of this effort and part of your plan. I put You first, God. I know that untold challenges lie ahead and I accept those and face them with all the courage within me. I believe You are my source of strength and You will provide for all I need. I trust You with all that I hold dear. I am your servant. Help me to serve you and serve the people of Tulsa, Oklahoma well.

In Jesus' name. Amen


Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Monday, August 10, 2009

as the appalachian trail relates to church planting

Last week my friend Derek and I decided to take off for a hike on the AT. We decided Friday morning that as soon as we finished our Sunday responsibilities we would head up the AT and camp at the first shelter and then return home in the morning in time to head off to work. For those 50 some hours until we left we were so excited. We only talked about how ready and happy we were to hit the trail. We were ready for a refreshing change of atmosphere, it felt long over due. We were not 10min on the AT when I realized that my pack is way to heavy and maybe we should not have brought so much water. All kind of thoughts started to make me question what we were thinking and how we could have been so excited about hiking up the AT directly after working all day and going straight to work in the morning. When we finally reached the top of the mountain and felt the relief rush into our legs it became clear again that this is definitely what we wanted and was well worth the climb.

I am so excited about moving to Tulsa, starting a new job, finding a new home, making new friends and launching Freedom Valley Tulsa. In many ways I feel the exact same feeling about this adventure as I did about our trip on the AT. I just don't want any of us to be in the dark about the actual moment we have to put our plans into action. There may be moments that are really difficult and some may even contemplate what on earth where we thinking? Its what follows those moments that will shape your future and allow God to take you further.

Jake Lewis - Lead Worshiper

Thursday, August 6, 2009

a new partner and some perspective on "the body"

Just finished up a great lunch with Pastor Tony Joyner of Family Worship Center in Red Lion, PA. Looks like another church who would like to partner with us in prayer and finances as we begin in Tulsa. I feel so thankful for this partnership. Tony has been a great friend for many years and I'm thrilled to work with him in a new way soon.

I was on my way home from this great meeting with Tony, but I stopped off for some WiFi so I could write this. It's just a realization that feels like it's going to pop out of me if I don't write about it and talk about it as much as I can. It's a new realization about how valuable the body of Christ, the church, is to each other in everyday life. Let me explain.

About 48 hours ago I was sitting in a disabled rental car on 5th and Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa, OK. It was about 103 degrees and the AC was scarcely keeping up during the almost two hours I waited for the Hertz tow truck. As I sat there in silence and my own sweat, everything felt surreal. At first I though it was just me feeling overwhelmed that I had just wrecked my rental car in the city I'm planning to move to and plant a church. That was probably part of it, but as I contemplated and prayed about my state of mind, it dawned on me . . . if this same thing had happened in the Gettysburg area, I could easily think of ten or twenty people I could call to come pick me up, Gerry would tow our car and I would be among friends. That's the body of Christ in action. As it were in Tulsa, I know hardly anyone. The one local I kind of know did ask if I needed anything. When I told him I may need a ride, he said that he thought the car rental company would take care of me. They did, but that's not the point. I didn't just need a ride, I needed a friend. I felt like I wanted to cry. I needed someone who would say, "Man, it's ok to cry". That's the body of Christ.

They guy I mentioned who lives in Tulsa . . . I don't blame him for saying what he said. He hardly knows me and I don't expect him to drop his whole day and take care of me. I was just using that exchange with him as an example to say that I don't know anyone in Tulsa yet, so it was not possible for the body of Christ to rally around me and support me in Tulsa. It was that lack that has opened my eyes to the incredible power and love there is when the church operates like it's supposed to.

I'm so eager to plant a church that creates this type of culture again and again for the people of Tulsa and beyond. I still feel really stupid about the accident in Tulsa, but I feel so thankful that God allowed me to see how valuable the church is, in a way that I've largely taken for granted up until now.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

not my ideal trip

It's 6am and I'm at gate 33 waiting to fly back to Regan National via Memphis. This trip has not been what I expected. I guess I expected a fun productive trip. It's been productive . . . and very challenging.

We began the trip on Sunday with a canceled flight and nothing available until Monday at noon. That cut our 2 days in Tulsa to 1 right away. So, we adapted. We drove to Ocean City Sunday and stayed the night there. Monday morning we got to the boardwalk around 6:30 to shoot that portion of our video. Then the three hour drive back to Regan National Airport.

We arrived in Tulsa at about 5:30pm on Monday, did some taping at an old apartment complex I lived at as a kid, visited Guitar Center to try and figure out our audio troubles (which we never did) had dinner and then visited River Walk Crossing for some night time taping. In bed by midnight.

Tuesday was to be our super productive day. Thank God the morning was. We began around 9:30 and shot some video at a couple mega churches in town, an old Baptist Church, my former high school, the pedestrian bridge at the river and downtown. We finished up our video shoot downtown and had lunch.

After lunch we were headed back to River Walk Crossing to interview a local pastor, but we never made it. At the intersection of 1st and Cincinnati I sailed right through a red light, which I didn't see until it was too late, and we had ourselves a nice little accident. Thankfully no one was hurt.

After the police finished up their stuff and wrote me a ticket, we tried to move on, but discovered our rental car was not drivable. The tow truck arrived nearly two hours later and took us back to the airport where I discovered the car rental company would not rent me another car . . . for reasons that are linked exclusively to my own foolishness and I'm not ready to write about yet because I'm still smarting a bit. I also discovered that it's not possible to rent a car using a Visa debit card. So, we called a cab and went back to the airport. After a couple hours of sulking and praying at various intervals, I finally insisted that we plan out the rest of our video that we had come to Tulsa to shoot. We didn't get everything we wanted, but we got enough. In bed by 9:30pm.

Woke up at 3am this morning feeling the weight of the world. God's Word really helped heal my heart today. I love God. We took a cab to the airport this morning and I think the driver, named Jerry, will be part of our church. I feel humbled and grateful this morning.

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

2 Corinthians 4: 8-10
- We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A report from our city!

We finally arrived in Tulsa yesterday evening via Minneapolis, MN. Thank God we made it!

We went and shot some video at the apartment complex I lived at as a kid when our family first moved here and I almost cried. It was a pretty rough place when we lived there almost thirty years ago, but the whole place has gone down many levels since. They took out all the kids playground equipment, the grass is half a foot high and they even filled in the pool with dirt! I know beyond a doubt that God has called me to plant a church in the South-central, suburbanite part of the city, but I already have something building in my heart to send a church planting team or teams into the more northern parts of the city in the coming years.

Back to our project . . . we continue to have less than desirable audio quality, but as our plans come together, that seems less and less important. I think we'll be much heavier on images and voice-overs than straight interviews and monologues.

Yesterday we got some good shots of the old apartment complex and plenty of shots of S.Tulsa in the daylight and at night. Today we will shoot some at the pedestrian bridge at the river, a short interview with a friend named Eddie, and some schools and neighborhoods we plan to connect with. We are hoping and praying for a really effective day and one that builds more vision for what God is birthing here in Tulsa.

Shawna and Evan are an absolute dream to work with. They are fun and very excellent at what they do. I'd travel all over the country with them anytime! Well, time to get a shower and get to work. It's another 100 degree day hear, so we'll be running the A/C and drinking plenty of water. I hope to have another update this evening.

Jason Fitch - lead pastor

Sunday, August 2, 2009

toward shooting the FVTulsa story

I set out today with Evan and Shawna to reach Tulsa, Ok by 9pm CST. Well, it' nearly that time and we're in Ocean City, MD after almost 8 hours of traveling. We got to Regan National in DC to find out our flight was cancelled and there was nothing until tomorrow. Priceline has it's advantages (low prices) and it's disadvantages (you pay up front and can't change plans on the fly too well).

So, we decided to drive to Ocean City to shoot some video we needed to do anyway. Our plan was to arrive by 7pm and shoot some nightlife on the boardwalk followed tomorrow morning with some of me telling my story of giving my life to Christ so many years ago on the OC boardwalk. Well, unfortunately, we waited 90 minutes to enter the bay bridge because a bus full of elderly people broke down on the bridge. So, we arrived at 8:30pm to a thunderstorm.

Now, I write from my hotel room at the Comfort Inn, which smells strangely like cat pee. Our plan is still to shoot on the boardwalk early tomorrow morning and leave OC no later than 8am for Regan National again.

We're all in good spirits and ready to continue toward shooting this video to tell the story of what God is doing with Freedom Valley Tulsa. It's obvious that there is some opposition to this, so I'd love your prayers as we give it another try tomorrow. Since we're not running on an unlimited budget of time or money, we would love to make it to Tulsa as quickly as possible tomorrow.

More updates to come . . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

financial help

Had the pleasure of meeting today with Randy Rhodes in his home. He was so helpful in walking me through picking church finance software, being aware of practical issues, and who else may be helpful to me as I seek to run a tight ship, financially in Tulsa.

I made the trip to Mechanicsburg with Jake Lewis and we had a very interesting and challenging discussion on leadership and how we will strive to build a culture of servanthood and reproducing leaders at Freedom Valley Tulsa.

The progress is slow, but we move on. Tomorrow, I'll be at a small groups / stewardship seminar with Kerrick Thomas from CLI. I get to make the trip with my good friends Gerry Stoltzfoos, Jeremiah Herbert, Heather Bryant and Al DiSalvatore. It's going to be a heck of a long day, but surely worth it.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

Thursday, July 23, 2009

just a thought

Shawna and I (Jake) are at the beach this week. It is strange to think that in just 5 months we'll be making the move, half way across the country to plant a church. It is so easy to get caught up in the details of all that it will require of us. And to be honest, looking back over the last 9 months it is easy to see how God has perfectly lined us up for this calling. But, what I really want to say today is that despite any trouble, pain or persecution I want to walk forward with joy and confidence in our calling. I am so thankful and looking forward to all the ways God is going to teach us and draw us closer to Him through this journey.

Jake Lewis - Worship Leader (that feels kind of funny to say)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

progress

I had a great meeting today with Sam Masteller. It's so good to meet with like-minded guys who have a heart for expanding God's Kingdom. I am desperate to find more Sam Mastellers. I'm looking forward to a long relationship where we work together on all kinds of ventures together.

Summer vacation season is in full swing and it's a bit difficult to get hold of pastors as I try and set up meetings to talk about possible financial partnerships. At least, I keep telling myself they are slow to respond because of vacations. Just makes me feel better :)

I met this morning via Skype with Jason Ament, our web designer, so hopefully our 1st generation website will be up and running soon. It's down in maintenance mode right now, but if you want to mark it in your browser, you can get to it here.

In just about 10 days I fly to Tulsa with Shawna and Evan to shoot some video as we put together a short film to tell the story of what God's done so far and what we think He wants to do in the future through our efforts with Freedom Valley Tulsa.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor

meeting with my friend Sam today

Meeting with my friend Sam Masteller today to talk about how we may work together in church planting efforts in the future. I hope and pray that God has a long and involved partnership in mind for the two of us.

Jason Fitch - Lead Pastor