True North: From Rookie Anglican to Church Planter

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As part of our True North Campaign, we are publishing articles that highlight the missionary impact of our ministry. Here is an article by Fr Jon Beadle.

This September, All Saints Church launched Sunday services for the first time in the city of Conroe, Texas. It was the result of nearly a year of preparation. My wife Lauren and I raised support, gathered interested families, pitched the vision, and lived in the adventure of delight that many church planters experience when they take the risk of faith. By the time I proclaimed the opening acclamation, we had begun three house churches, baptized five, and become the first Anglican presence in our city of 100,000, about 40 miles north of Houston.

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But if you had asked me a decade ago, I would have never imagined planting an Anglican Church.

A Charismatic Background

I was practically born speaking in tongues. Both of my parents had real experiences with the Holy Spirit, and they raised my brothers and me to pursue the Spirit and reject denominationalism. It gave me a love for the presence of God, and when I began to take my faith seriously, it helped to reawaken my charismatic side as reformed friends helped give me a doctrinal foundation.

My wife was born into a baptist family, in a long line of baptist preachers. When we met, it was in the context of college ministry. I had helped to start an evangelistic outreach for people from all different orthodox denominations, and tried to be as “mere” as one could be in the “mere Christianity” discussion. But I had this bias against the Anglican tradition because I had a bias against anyone who looked religious, so when Bishop Clark Lowenfield prayed over my team at a regional prayer gathering, with his collar on, it was a shock for a little non-denominational guy like me.

Of Crisis and Communion

During our first pregnancy, Lauren had a seizure at 31 weeks that nearly killed her and the baby. My son was born at 3 lbs. And in the midst of this crisis we had no church home. We had recently left a non-denominational church, whose toxic dynamics contributed to our health challenges.

We found Anglicanism like finding water in a desert. It is hard to explain, but after my son’s birth we looked around and felt like there was nothing but rubble on the ground. Suddenly, we had a desire to take communion and journeyed to the nearest Anglican church. Taking communion together for the first time, we felt like Jesus was with us to heal our brokenness.

As we began to attend regularly, God rebuilt our faith through the prayers of the historic church, and by re-centering on the Holy Eucharist. It completely transformed our understanding of Spiritual formation.

Discovering & Recommending Anglican Compass

Discovering Anglican Compass was a huge leap forward for my own understanding, especially in the Anglican understanding of Communion.  The whole series of Rookie Anglican Guides were a particular help in the beginning.  Guides to church vestments and seasons helped me understand what felt like a remarkable diversity within the ACNA. And as I discerned my own call to Anglican ministry, I appreciated a series by Thomas McKenzie on the everyday life of the Anglican pastor, and even posts on generosity by David Roseberry.

As a priest, one of my deepest joys is to administer communion. When I do, I hold up the very elements that also rescued by faith. I can offer others grace because grace was extended to me. Resources like “A Rookie Anglican Guide to the Eucharist” help me make sense of this remarkable gift.

Now that I am planting a church, our community is full of “Rookie” Anglicans. So when I looked for a resource to help our twelve candidates for Confirmation, I sent them all an Anglican Compass article on Confirmation, by Alex Fogleman. In the article he explains Confirmation as the process of growing up: “Confirmation is the sacrament of maturity in that it represents a deepening or strengthening in the Christian life.” As we grow as a church to include mostly new/rookie/surprised Anglicans, we are able to have grace for them. With the help of Anglican Compass, we are able to help people swim through the grid that is our tradition, while teaching them to simply enter into the worship and participate so that they may come into a deeper understanding.

Learn more about All Saints Conroe by visiting their website or Facebook page. And please support the work of Anglican Compass, so that we can continue to inspire rookie anglicans, even as some make a journey to church planting!

Published on

November 1, 2022

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Anglican Compass

Anglican Compass is your guide to Anglican life. We're here to help you navigate the Anglican tradition with clarity and charity.

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