It began last July. I was appointed to plant a new church in Flanagan. I started laying some groundwork, talking to people, recruiting a small launch team. I really stressed over a name….I really wanted something that made sense with the whole concept. We knew we wanted “a place to belong”. Every name that I tried to force just didn’t seem right. New Hope, Living Water, Cornerstone, First United Methodist (actually that one never even crossed my mind). Then one day, when I wasn’t even particularly thinking about a name it came…Fusion. I looked it up and the medical dictionary defines it as, “the process of several diverse objects coming together to form a unified whole.” I knew instantly that it fit. Fusion Church was born.
I tapped February 27, 2011 as our first preview service. We would meet at the High School at 9am. Direct-mail postcards went out inviting folks to this first service. We ordered our guest gifts, planned the flow of the service and printed the bulletins. A group of us spent the morning before hooking up the entire sound system that was donated to make sure it even worked. A larger group gathered to transform the cafeteria at the High School into an acceptable worship space. When Saturday was all said and done…I was nervous. I sat on my couch and looked at my friend Mark and said, “I feel like I’m a teenager again getting ready to give my first sermon.”
I didn’t sleep a wink Saturday night…everytime I started to sleep I remembered something else I needed to remember for the service. And then there was the nagging thought in the back of my mind that so many pastors before have wrestled with when it comes to any new ministry, “what if nobody shows up?”
I got to the school and waited. The rest of the launch team showed up and expertly prepared to carry out their assigned tasks. I felt like I could have crawled into a hole. Then it happened. The door opened and people started coming in. “Okay, at least people showed up. But what if things don’t go well?”
I waited for the end of the countdown and welcomed everyone. Then Mark played the first note of the first song ever to be sung at Fusion Church…I’ve never heard such a beautiful note. In that moment I felt God grabbing me by the shoulders and saying, “see, I’ve got this! Relax, and let’s do this together!”
The rest of the service went marvelously. Did we do everything perfectly? No, but that’s why we do preview services. But the most important thing that needed to happen did…the Holy Spirit was in our midst…we all felt it. From those on the launch team, to the silent prayer partners all over the country. From the pastor up front, to the guests who were maybe in a Church for the first time in their lives…we all knew that something was moving among us, drawing us together, touching our very souls…and we knew that it was good.
When it was all said and done, I was pumped. Folks from my congregation in Cornell could tell that God had touched me in a fresh way that day….they felt it, too.
After everything was torn down and stored for next month, after both services were through, after lunch with a great group of Fusioners, I was exhausted. My wife asked me how I felt now that we had the first preview service under my belt. My response? “I can’t wait for next month.”
I watched Facebook that night to see the comments people had made about Fusion. I watched people who encountered us for the first time that morning already inviting others to next month.
Yes, I can’t wait for next month, and the month after that. I can’t wait for the time that we launch for weekly worship. I can’t wait for the weather to stay in our favor so we can engage more people in this area. I can’t wait to serve this community in real and visible ways that show people, “Fusion is for real. we’re here to stay. We love God and we love you!”
I have no clue what Fusion will look like several months from now, let alone years from now. But I know that Fusion is a dream that began in God’s heart…so whatever it becomes will be good. I’m asking God to show me those dreams, where to go, how to do it.
What dreams may come…they will be from God. What dreams may come…God, I can’t wait to see!