Greetings again from Trinity Church in Columbia, Missouri! We have had a great summer in the Midwest and want to give you an update on our journey and some ways you can be praying for us.
We began weekly small group gatherings in our home on Sunday, June 11th with ten adults and eight kids. Over the past eight Sunday evenings, we have been enjoying a meal, reading through Ephesians, and praying together. We’ve had some "this-is-incredible!" gatherings and some "this-is-awful-and-we-should-just-quit!" gatherings, with most somewhere in between. But God has been faithful.
We have had first-time visitors at eight of our nine gatherings so far, with a total of over 30 different adults attending and an average of 15-16 adults and 7-8 kids weekly! It’s encouraging to be already connected well with our unchurched neighbors.
Last month, we felt like we were hitting some of the most significant barriers so far in the planting process. We were facing a need of about $5,000 in July and August—Jessie and I haven’t had to miss a paycheck yet, but we were sure we’d have to—and several of our leaders were struggling to find local jobs. But God provided an unexpected check for $12,000 from a sponsor church, and several of our leaders have recently gotten great job offers!
We know many larger trials and challenges lie ahead, but it was so good to experience desperation and see the Lord break through in extraordinary ways.
Every mid-August, Columbia is entirely transformed. 35,000 college students return to town, flooding the streets with traffic and the restaurants with longer waits. Classes begin at the University of Missouri next week, and we will be partnering with two local campus ministries, Cru (Campus Crusade) and the Baptist Student Union. Both ministries, as well as our connections, have provided different avenues for service and leadership on campus, and we are prayerfully considering where to invest our gifts and resources to most bless the university.
In addition to our Sunday evening gatherings, we are actively inviting our new friends and neighbors to multiple events. Last night, Jessie and I hosted a Back to School Bomb Pop party in our neighborhood, with dozens of families gathering in our cul-de-sac.
On August 18-19, two of our good friends from Louisville, Larry and Susan McCrary, are coming to lead us in missional training. Larry and Susan were church planters in the U.S. and Spain for several decades, and they will help us discover how and where we can best invest our lives in town.
We would love to have you praying for our team and our little church in this important season.
(1) Pray for our leadership team—as several members narrow down employment options.
(2) Pray for our family—this week, our two oldest sons return to school, where we will be heavily involved.
(3) Pray for our Sunday evening gatherings—that we’d continue to welcome in first-time visitors, keep visitors engaged and moving toward membership, and encourage and equip one another.
(4) Pray for our university partnerships—to be able to serve well and in a strategic, missional way.
(5) Pray for us to have wisdom—we need to pick an area of the city to focus on in the next couple of months.
(6) Pray that we would find a regular worship leader for our Sunday gatherings.
Thanks for your prayers!
Grace and peace,
Jeremy & Jessie Linneman (on behalf of the Trinity Church team)