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 . . .