Hello, my name is Ian. I am the pastor of Ecclesia, a new church that is starting in Princeton. I just wanted to take some time to let you in on how we got here, why we're starting a church, and our hopes for our church as it takes shape. Ecclesia, like all the works of the God who loved the world so much that he gave everything he had (John 3v16), is a work born out of love.
The Love of God
First, the love of God that irreparably changed my life when I was seventeen years old and that same love that had already grasped ahold of my wife Courtney long before I knew her.
The Love Shared Between Courtney And I
Second, its the love that Courtney and I share, the love for one another and the love for Jesus. We don't always do it perfectly, we don't always treat each other well, we don't always understand each other but in our best moments we love Christ and one another fearlessly. Planting a church has been an exercise in courage, to step out, to call that which is not as though it is, to keep going.
Our Love For Our Kids
Third, Ecclesia is born out of our love for our own children. We know they will eventually choose the direction of their lives, whether they continue to follow Jesus, but for now in this season we wanted to involve them in a community that was pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly. Courtney and I worked in youth ministry for over a decade, we joyfully partnered with parents in raising their kids to see the beauty of Jesus and to chase that light with everything. We pray consistently for God to surround us with people to come alongside us in the same manner and we know that he is faithful.
The Love Of Our Parents and Friends
Fourth, Ecclesia is born out of the love between family and friends. Courtney and I's parents, as painful as it must be for our families to be so far away have been nothing but supportive. They have continued to believe in us and to push towards God's will for our lives at great cost to their own lives. I'm in awe of their sacrifice. Additionally,our friends Rich and Sarah, along with others who have come along sense shared our vision and confirmed the words we felt like God had spoken. C. S. Lewis writes of friends, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" In the midst of all the insecurity from both within and without, their voices were like the very word of God for us, a light to our path.
The Love For Princeton
Fifth and finally, Ecclesia is born out of a love for this place, our neighbors in Central New Jersey and the town of Princeton. In so many ways, Courtney and I grew up here, our kids were born here. This place has shaped us and will forever be a part of our story. And with great frequency, the people that we encountered here as we lived our lives, worked, and played have rejected what I would call a lesser version of Jesus. Many of our friends and acquaintances associate church with rules, judgment, narrow-mindedness. Frankly, they rejected something I don't believe at all. So what better way to show a different Jesus, than a church that reflects the mosaic beauty of this place, the hopes, dreams, and questions of this place, and a church that reflects our own experiences with Jesus?
Lesslie Newbigin writes of the church, "The church's mission began as the radioactive fallout from an explosion of joy." A church is love poured out by Jesus breaking out, love that is so abundant and extravagant that it overflows onto the world around it. The love that we have touched, seen, and been embraced by is a joyful invitation to love the world around us.
The church's mission began as the radioactive fallout from an explosion of joy.
Our story saturated through and through with love, and the parts yet to be written are full of the surprising, faithful, transformative love of Jesus. We'd be honored if you would be a part of our story in planting this church. Join us.