Thinking of Planting in New England?

If you are interested in planting a church in New England, let me know by sending an email to valleytownchurch@gmail.com. Here is a video debunking some of the myths of church planting in Vermont.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/95466508″>Debunking the Myths – Vermont Church Planting</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/boeellis”>Boe Ellis</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Take some time to explore: http://www.vermontchurchplanting.com/

What Happened?

Have you been following our blog and wondered what happened to our updates? I have transitioned to sending out monthly email updates to those who are interested in keeping up with our ministry. If you would like to be placed on our monthly email list please send an email to valleytownchurch@gmail.com with the subject “add me.”

ALSO – we just baptized 8 more people at Valley Town!
Here is the video of the baptisms. http://youtu.be/yAWM_7opgOc
Here are some video testimonies of the people we baptized:

P.S. I hope you will come to one of Graystone Church’s services tomorrow morning (June 1st) and hear me preach. (http://www.graystonechurch.com/) I’ll be sharing some of our story and looking at some parallels in the story of Nehemiah. I’ll be speaking at the Ozora Campus. The service times are 9:30, 11:00, and 12:15.

 

A Look Back At God’s Faithfulness (with pictures)

What an amazing year it has been for Valley Town Church. I love to look back and reflect on what God has done as a faith building reminder that there is more to come.

On December 12th, 2010 God spoke to my wife, Tiffany and me and told us to move 1,000 miles from home to Wilmington, VT. Then, in early January 2012, God miraculously sold our house, even going so far as to give Tiffany a dream in order to make it clear that He was behind it selling. Two weeks after that He finished providing our financial support in a way that only He could have done. It was the last thing that needed to happen before we could move to Wilmington.

In February of 2012 we moved to Wilmington and in April 2012 we launched Valley Town Church. Our first 9 months were foundation laying. We didn’t see tremendous growth, but learned what it looked like to be a church family on mission. We baptized 2 people in 2012 and moved around meeting in 5 different locations in that very short 9 month period. We learned a ton in 2012, but I’ll be honest… I’m glad it’s in the past!

That brings us to 2013. In January of 2013 we moved into an old Universalist Church building in the heart of Wilmington. We launched huddles (our vehicle for discipleship) and returned to a focus on leadership development. Easter was absolutely incredible as a record number of people from all over the valley came and heard the good news about Jesus. Between one baptism in May and another in August (in the lake), we baptized 15 people in 2013 who placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

In October, we added a second gathering time because we were running out of room in our building. Our church stepped up to the plate and the transition was seamless. On Christmas Eve we had two candlelight services and filled the building twice! It was absolutely an answer to prayer. Tons of first time guests came to celebrate the birth of Jesus with us.

What a year it has been! In the month of January we had an average attendance of 42, and now just one year later we are averaging about 100 people a Sunday. Only God can do that. It isn’t because of anything unique that we are doing. We are simply preaching the gospel week after week and doing our best to rely on God as we make, mature, and mobilize disciples of Jesus.

As I reflect on God’s amazing faithfulness I am reminded of the song, “Never Once” by Matt Redman.

“Never Once”

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

IMG_0305 IMG_0317 IMG_0327 IMG_0330 IMG_0343 IMG_0369 IMG_0370 IMG_0373 IMG_0375

Christmas Eve Celebrations

invite card front christmas 2013

We are having two somewhat traditional Christmas Eve services today at 3PM and 5PM. Please pray! Pray that the Lord would show up and show off! Merry Christmas everyone.

God Hasn’t Moved

Are you getting ready for Christmas? How is your faith in this season?
Christian, do you feel like God has been distant lately? He hasn’t gone anywhere. You have drifted. But you have this promise to cling to, that if you will, “Draw near to God… he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
Let me encourage you to read and study these passages and prepare your heart for the Lord this Christmas. His Word is powerful! Look at the fulfillment of prophecies made hundreds of years before Jesus was born (and this is just a few). God is incredible! Ask him to increase your faith and your passion for him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and he is still committed to seeing Christ formed in you. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…” (Philippians 1:6) There is nothing like the Word of God to bring refreshment to your soul.
Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:2 and 6-7 (ESV)
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
 
Ezekiel 37:24-27 (ESV)
“My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. 25They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. 26I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Luke 1:26-35 (ESV)
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 
28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 
32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

 

My Big Brother

My Brother

If you don’t know my brother, Zach, you are truly missing out. I love and respect him tremendously. He and his wife Bethany and their daughter just moved back to the states from England where they lived and ministered this past year. God has used him in mind blowing ways and continues to use him as an instrument for the advancement of the kingdom.

He is currently praying that the Lord would open a door for ministry for them somewhere here the states. Please check out his website below and be blessed. And if you feel led, please pray with me that the Lord would open up an opportunity in ministry for their family very soon.

www.zachpresten.com

I’m Dreaming of a White… Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I’m thankful. In fact I’m bursting with gratitude.

This morning I woke up to a few inches of fresh snow on the ground, and an outside temperature of six (that’s not a typo).

The snow is beautiful, but (and fellow church planters and pastors in the North will understand) it isn’t always a welcome site on Sunday mornings. It can mean that people stay home. It can mean that all of the hours of preparation put in by many different people getting ready for the gathering will feel like they were for nothing. Now, I know that this is never the case, but it can feel this way none-the-less.

So as I was processing the fresh snow on the ground I received word that our worship leader wouldn’t be able to make the trek over the mountain from Bennington.

This immediately threw me into a mild panic… okay it wasn’t that mild (again, church planters and pastors will especially understand). What would we do now? Zac often plays guitar, but he was preaching today. I wasn’t about to ask him to do that. I called Zac and he said that Dawn’s voice was weak from being sick for the past few days. She couldn’t solo this one. Oh man… oh man… breathe.

On my drive up to our building I was reminded that the Lord is sovereign over the snow (Job 38:22). Even the snow that falls on Saturday nights.

This isn’t some evil that has come upon Valley Town. God is sovereign over snowfall.

Well, nothing will push you to try new things like last minute changes. Josh Dean, one of the guys that I’m discipling right now was scheduled to play rhythm guitar with the band. Without hesitation he stepped up to the plate with absolutely no time to prepare and co-led worship with Dawn. He even sang a worship song that he wrote. I actually wrote a post about that song a while back. He did a phenomenal job! I couldn’t stop smiling… I can still barely stop smiling thinking of the grace of God at work in Josh. Were it not for the snow, Josh wouldn’t have had the opportunity that was thrust upon him this morning. He told me that the only thing he has experienced in his life that compares to the joy of leading people in worship was the birth of his daughter.

There is nothing like seeing a person who you’ve been pouring into and discipling, serving and leading in the church.

On top of all of that, Zac’s sermon on thankfulness was excellent. He knocked it out of the park. He handles the Word of God with great skill and accuracy. I was so blessed by his sermon and I know that our church was as well.

As a side note, we still had 99 people total at the two gatherings (that’s a great turnout for us). It turns out, for Valley Towners, single digit temperatures and a little snow isn’t enough to stop them from gathering to worship Jesus and hear from the Word. For that, I’m especially thankful this very cold Sunday.

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