Why we planted a church
Why plant a new church in Carlisle? Very good question! The Sarago’s and Wheeler’s moved to Carlisle in 2006 with the desire to minister together. Tim and Mary had served as Pastor of two different churches in the Ft. Wayne, Indiana area for about 15 years and Nik and Julie had served as Pastor of a sister church in the same area for 4 years. The Lord brought Nik and Tim together after we both resigned from our ministries and we were pouring concrete together at the same pool company. Eventually, Nik decided to move back to his home area and drug Tim and Mary along with him. When planning the move to the Cumberland Valley, we used the services of a local Christian ministry to gather demographic information on the area to determine a good location for a potential church plant. That’s how the Carlisle area was selected. After getting settled in to the area we began to realize that the Lord was still working and forming a vision in us for what HE wanted. It’s taken Tim five years to finally come to the point of being able to see what God wants (give him a little slack, after all he is the OLD one of the two)…so now we’re on our way!
To kind of sum it up, we’ve found that most churches struggle in knowing how to deliberately translate the central passions of scripture into practice. Many churches don’t have a complete understanding of what the true life Jesus offers us is all about. They don’t have a clear image of what a true Jesus follower is, let alone a defined process of helping someone grow step by step to become one. As a result, churches have settled for a kind of 21st century mediocrity that is seen in one of two ways. Either the church is focused on getting more people in the door and end up being a mile wide but an inch deep, or they try to cling to a traditionalism that emphasizes strict obedience and end up failing to connect with our culture. In either case people come and go in and out of church without the core of their lives being radically altered by a passionate delight in the true life Jesus has to offer. It’s like Stephen Curtis Chapman sings in See the Glory:
"I’m playing Gameboy standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon // I’m eating candy sittin’ at a gourmet feast // I’m wading in a puddle when I could be swimming in the ocean // Tell me what’s the deal with me // Wake up and see the glory!"
We know this may sound a bit harsh, but you need to understand that we both were leaders in the very same kind of churches and thought we were doing a good job. Fortunately, the Lord woke us up.
Making Jesus our treasure
Is it any wonder then that people are not attracted to church? There’s more passion generated at a football game or UFC match than is ever found in church. Why? Because even those who claim to follow Christ fail to see Him as the most beautiful, most satisfying, most fulfilling treasure and delight that can be found in the world. Instead we’ve filled our lives with passing joys that feel good for a while but leave us empty. As C.S. Lewis writes..we are too easily satisfied! Our desire is to plant a church that encourages and models the kind of passion for Christ that Jesus described in the parable of the treasure hidden in the field. Jesus said that “…in joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Is that how we look to the world? Do they see people who would give all they have to gain Christ? Would anyone say of us…”I know Jesus is your treasure, I can see it in your eyes when you talk about him”?