The Redwood groves in California are one of nature’s wonders. These trees can grow to 275 feet high and 25 feet in diameter – large enough to drive a car through! Some of these trees are over a thousand years old, withstanding floods, fires, and strong winds. With the tops of the trees reaching into the sky, one might assume that the roots go down hundreds of feet into the ground to support their height. Surprisingly, the redwoods have very shallow root systems, sometimes only 12 feet deep. Unusually, the trees' roots reach out towards each other, interweaving to create a strong support system. Because they need each other to survive, redwoods can only be found among other redwoods. Their strength is their interconnectedness.
Church plants are made stronger by being connected to healthy partners and supporters as well. Last month, Pro Deo Church successfully launched in Cape Town, South Africa. The church will have a healthy start thanks to partnerships from churches like Renaissance Church in Harlem (planted in 2014), Discovery Christian Church near Pittsburgh (planted in 2003) and Mosaic Christian Church near Baltimore (planted in 2008).
Mosaic sent a group of 12 people the week before launch to serve the Pro Deo team – advertising all week and helping behind the scenes on launch Sunday. Group leader Mike Winger explained, “If Mosaic can leave the local body of believers encouraged, we consider that a ‘win.’ We will do whatever the church plant needs.” Mosaic has been a strong supporter of multiple new churches, including Miami Church, Epiphany Church, Elevate Community Church, Restore Church, The Foundry, and Revolution Annapolis.
The Mosaic team was busy the week before launch. They were present every day on the oceanside Promenade, a popular gathering place in Cape Town. During lunch hours, the team would hand out water bottles and flyers. During the evenings they set up teams to play volleyball and games. Conversations with Capetonians revealed that many considered themselves religious but were no longer attending church. Those conversations proved fruitful on launch Sunday when people came to the church launch due to those conversations!
Pro Deo has emphasized that it is a church where everyone belongs. In a society where people can feel isolated, this is a church for connection. In a country known for history of apartheid, Pro Deo desires to be a diverse group of people built across race and social class that points to the unifying power of the good news about Jesus.
Pro Deo Church has a healthy start because of the interconnected support system of the partners who give generously and pray faithfully. And it's even more joyful when new churches are supporting more new churches!