Why am I excited about a new church plant in Nashville?

Here are two podcasts (at the bottom of this post) that will answer that question.

These two podcasts were recorded from a recent meeting at Church of the Redeemer to explain the new Anglican church they are planting. My son, Danny Bryant, will be the senior pastor of this church. And it will be located in the East Brentwood/Nolensville area. Even the area has particular significance for the vision of the church.

I am not Anglican. But I enjoy visiting Redeemer and I love hearing my son preach. I'm thankful for podcasts because they enable me to listen from many miles away in West Virginia. If you are a friend of mine or Danny's, or if you are just someone who reads my blog and may be interested in the church plant, I invite you to listen to these podcasts. (They are not terribly long.)

If you know me or have read my book, you know my spiritual background. When Danny first started attending an Anglican church, it pushed some of my "baggage buttons." Then he became an assistant pastor and an Anglican Priest there. He is referred to as Pastor, Reverend and sometimes Father Danny. And, I must confess, I will never refer to him as Father Danny. ;-) But I'm much more comfortable with Anglicanism than I ever imagined I would be. I once thought of liturgical worship as emotionless ritual. After many worship services at Redeemer, I don't think that anymore. I now recognize and deeply respect the reverence and emotion that liturgical worshipers experience in their services. I love Church of the Redeemer and the people in that church. It's a loving, committed community.

Another thing I love about Redeemer and Thomas McKenzie (the senior pastor) is this conviction that churches should not compete for people. Thomas and the Redeemer community are so supportive of this church plant and members of Redeemer are encouraged to pray about God's leading in their lives and follow the call if God prompts them to be a part of the new church plant (which will mean leaving Redeemer as a regular attender). There's no sense of loyalty or betrayal involved in this decision. It isn't about loyalty to a particular location or pastor. It's about God and being a part of the kingdom as a whole. I loved when Thomas said that we have all of eternity to enjoy friendship and community. It's obvious that it comes from his heart when he encourages people to consider where God wants them; whether it's Redeemer or St. Mary's. For anyone who knows my background, I think it's obvious why I would find this so refreshing. I grew up in a place very different. We were expected to ask permission from our pastor to even VISIT any other church. Even within our own exclusive group.

When Danny first told me the name of the church plant, I was conflicted. I liked Redeemer better. But after hearing him talk about the reasons for calling it St. Mary of Bethany's, I have grown to love the name. In his podcast, he goes into detail about his vision for this congregation, the reasons for the name, his desire for Anglican and Pentecostal (with a small p) worship, and other aspirations he has for the church. Thomas explained the vision and conviction for church planting as opposed to "building bigger barns" for larger and larger individual congregations. I don't think there's anything wrong with huge churches. I was very happy in one and experienced a lot of spiritual growth there. We were fed and I did have a smaller community within the larger community to participate in and enjoy a closer connection. But I do love this vision and I do see the need for smaller communities. More than anything, though, I love the lack of competition and the lack of marketing involved in this vision. It has sometimes bothered me to see churches market themselves to a community as if a church is a commodity for consumers.

Well, I need to publish this and get ready to attend my own home church. But I wanted to make this available to friends and anyone else who may be interested in listening. I think you'll understand better why I'm excited and look forward to visiting and watching this new church grow. I'm thankful for the way God has worked in my son's life. It is so rewarding as a mom to be able to witness God's plan for Danny as it continues to unfold.

Vision Part I: Why are we planting another church? (Thomas McKenzie)

Vision Part II: The Vision for St. Mary of Bethany's Church (Danny Bryant)


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