Alex Green is one of our members who wrote a stellar letter to churches that support ResLife Church. It's so good, it is worth posting as one of our blogs.
Here's what Alex wrote back in July:
I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Alex Green. I’m a software developer in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area and an active member of Resurrection Life Church. I’m writing to share a little bit about my experiences with ResLife and to say thank you for all of your support. It has been a true blessing!
First, a little bit of background about me: although I grew up in the church, I did not truly come to faith until I was in college. While I was a sophomore at NC State University, a classmate of mine (my friend Nicko) introduced me to a ministry called the Navigators. They needed someone to help them with leading worship and I had been singing and playing the guitar since middle school. I was uncomfortable at first, but I had been really struggling with some fairly serious personal issues at the time, and over the coming weeks, months, and years my life was transformed as I began studying the scriptures with my Navigator friends and mentors and ultimately came to faith.
After I graduated from NC State (in May of 2011) I went through a period of a few years of searching for a home church. I tried several churches, but I never really found one that felt like home. Finally, last year, the same former classmate and now close friend (Nicko strikes again!) invited me to be a part of this new church plant he and his family had found and decided to join. Again, they were looking to make an addition to the worship team.
From the first few meetings (while we were still meeting in homes) it was clear to me that this was where God wanted me. Although it was different from any church I had previously attended, it just felt like how things were supposed to be. I could tell that everyone who was part of the church truly loved each other and was committed to following Christ, guided by prayer and the scriptures. I immediately jumped in and started playing bass with Mark & Nicko and a few others. There have certainly been some challenges in my life since then. In fact, at times I’ve discovered that being part of a church plant is a lot of work, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It’s amazing how much God changes and sanctifies you through the “out of your comfort zone” moments in life. Over the last year, I’ve experienced some of the best spiritual growth I’ve seen in years, some of the most meaningful community outreach I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ve been delighted to see God at work in my life and the lives of friends, family, and sometimes even complete strangers (who usually don’t remain strangers for long). I’ve also met the love of my life, who happens to be a family member of my friend Nicko (he strikes a third time!), and at the time of Mark’s reading of this to you, I’ll be marrying her in less than a month!
None of this would have been possible without your prayer and support, so thank you! I hope this story is an encouragement that God is hard at work in North
Carolina, and that He is faithful to all who call upon His name. Keep strong in the faith, and please keep us in your prayers!
Peace & love in Christ, Alex Green
The Banner is the official Christian Reformed Church's magazine. ResLife was recently 'featured' in it. You can read it here
on page 29. The article in the Banner was very short. In fact, the shortened edition made the assumption that I grew up in Grand Rapids. I guess some press is good press. In any case, I thought I would include the full article written by a student of Calvin College named Annemarie Byl. Thanks, Annemarie!Holly Springs, 30 minutes from Raleigh, North Carolina, has become a new destination for church planters.
Growing from 900 people in 1990 to 32,000 today, Mark Knetsch and his wife Heather also targeted the town as an extremely ripe area for their new church, Resurrection Life.
A town with no CRC culture, ResLife started, like many other church plants, in humble beginnings in Mark and Heather’s living room. Today, the group has grown to 40 and worships at Penny Road Elementary while continuing to expand.
“If nothing else,” says Mark, “Church planting has taught me to totally surrender to the Lord and learn how to depend on him for all things.”
To demonstrate this, he tells a story of God’s funny way with good timing.
A young woman named Anna* had recently moved to Raleigh when she ran across a treadmill for sale on Craigslist. A Grand Rapids native, Anna was surprised when she called the seller and he recognized her 616 area code, a man whom she would soon know as Mark Knetsch.
Although Anna had stopped attending church at the time, after talking for a while and discussing their Michigan and CRC roots, Mark told her of the church plant he was orchestrating right down the street. Anna attended a service and two years later is still an active member of the congregation and leader of the Sunday school program.
“Seeing God work through the simple things and getting people who understand what we’re trying to do is important,” explains Mark, “We need that kickstart of getting people back into the church.”
Mark has seen God at work through the partnership of the people within this tightknit community. “Seeing us gathering together with our differences under a common vision and then living out that vision through very simple ways has been a core of our community.”
The ResLife church plant is like a family. In their community of 40, everyone is on the same page when it comes to the church. “Everyone is lifting a hand,” says Mark, “People are holding each other’s babies. There is just a tremendous amount of intimacy and trust.”
ResLife also partners with Christian Reformed Home Missions. Although HM’s three-year funding is ending this March for ResLife, Mark is thankful for the launchpad it allowed them. Beyond the financial partnership, Mark also stresses the importance of the people behind the grant; those who support them in the HM office. Through things like Mission Possible and the Thrive Conference, ResLife felt the support through multiple facets.
Mark continues to look forward, hoping to further their mission of partnership and community throughout Holly Springs.
“Regardless of outcome or success, it’s about the kingdom…Building a relationship with the mayor, trying to get to know people in the area, or just being available to folks in coffee shops, whatever it may be, I’m trying to live out that mission statement.”
*Name has been changed.