Last Sunday was the farewell party for Baylight Church Community, a place I considered my spiritual home for a good chunk of my adult years. For something that existed for about 11 years, it ended with some good food and old friends. In a way, it was fitting, but in another way, I think I’m still processing the close of something that played such a formative role during my twenties.
I still remember joining this small group of folks in a living room (with buckets of KFC) back in early 2002, having never really heard of church planting. We didn’t have a name, just a vision – to be a church-planting church that thrilled the heart of God. Looking back, there were so many different ways I could have gone – I had just graduated college, started my first job, and was looking for a place to call my church home. I could’ve ended up in a myriad of other good, solid churches in the South Bay, but God led me to this ragtag bunch of people. It turned out to be a brilliant fit for me. Baylight ended up being a place that deeply shaped the person I am today.
How can I encapsulate a decade of influence on my life in a simple little blog post? I can’t. But here’s a sampling of the many blessings that came through this incredible group of people called Baylight Church Community.
- I received incredible mentoring and coaching as I learned how to be a Christ-centered adult without the same all-encompassing support structure that I had during my college days.
- I learned about church planting, discipleship, multiplication, worship, and leadership. More importantly, I saw it practiced.
- I saw first hand what Christ-honoring marriages looked like. I also saw first hand how to weather hard stuff and resolve conflict.
- I got to be a part of some incredible small group communities that loved me and supported me.
- I got engaged, I got married, and I had my first child while in this community, and we learned so much from the people around us about each of those life transitions.
- I preached my first sermon there, and many more after that. I got coaching, feedback, and practice in communicating the Word of God. Thanks everyone for bearing with me through some lengthy introductions and no doubt some rambling talks.
- I got to be a pastoral intern with three other fantastic men and two great mentors who pushed me to be honest, loving, and faithful.
- I got to serve on the pastoral staff there. We did some cool things, we wrestled through tough and challenging discussions about church, we ate a lot of food, and I learned so much in the process.
- I was challenged to live intentionally, missionally, and incarnationally in everything.
- The idea of shalom as a central rallying point solidified during my time at Baylight.
- We launched out five years ago from Baylight to start a church in SF and received such a tremendous amount of support in our journey.
- We made some really, really good friends there who have been with us through thick and thin.
And there’s so much more that could be written. I’m so thankful for the people I met along the way and for the great things that God will continue to do through those people for years to come. It was a great ride. For those of you who were a part of my spiritual journey at Baylight, I sincerely thank you.
Keep on keeping on.