Tag Archives: sanctuary church

Christmas Conspiracy

So, we were in one our Sanctuary Church gatherings a few weeks ago and we started to brainstorm on who we could bless as a church and how we could best maximize the small amount of funds that we have coming in.  The usual suspects were mentioned: homeless ministries, adopt-a-families, mission agencies, etc.  But then someone came up with a crazy idea and the light bulb went off: instead of throwing money at people that we didn’t know and we would never meet again, let’s bless people that are already in our lives.  So, the church would give each person $50 and we would all ask the Holy Spirit to lead us during that week to a person/people that needed God’s help. I have to say that in all my years in ministry/church, I have never actually received money from the church (other than salary, etc).  So, needless to say, we were all very excited about this radical idea and couldn’t wait to see who God led us to that week.  Here are a few of the stories of how God used us:

*One couple could not figure out who to bless and decided to hold on to their $100 until they heard God speak.  So, as they were heading to our house for the Sanctuary gathering, they began to think they missed their opportunity and then they saw their neighbor struggling to change her tire.  This neighbor and her family have been facing tremendous health and financial difficulties recently and a flat tire was not something that they could afford.  As the husband changed the tire, he handed the neighbor $100 and blessed her…needless to say, this was perfect timing!

*One guy was led everyday to go the local gas station and just help people out.  Since we live near a military base, he was able to buy a lot of soldiers breakfast and make their lives a little easier this holiday season.

*One thrifty couple found some tremendous deals at JC Penny and were able to pool their money and get $500 worth of gloves/blankets for $100.  They are giving these to the homeless in their area.

*One person works in a call center and has 14 people on his team.  He just wanted to bless them and got them each a $5 gift card to Starbucks…he was very popular that day!

*Other people sent anonymous gifts to people they knew knew were in need, helping out friends and families that are struggling this Christmas and some other really cool stuff.

I am so grateful that God has blessed each one of us and Sanctuary Church so greatly this year and we are humbled that He gave us the opportunity to give back to our friends and neighbors…it is truly awesome!

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Big things for Sanctuary Church

Wow, I haven’t posted here in a long time.  I used to get really annoyed with bloggers who don’t post for months at a time but I now realize why it happens…you are too insanely busy to do one more thing.  But, as my kids are playing with their train this morning, I have a few minutes to give an update on what’s happening in life.

First, Paige and I leave for a week long trip to St Thomas in about 17 days!!!  We haven’t really been alone without the kids for about 3 years now, so this is much needed in every area possible.  I can’t wait to just chill out on the beach, read a good book, eat awesome food and spend uninterrupted time again with the love of my life.  It should be great!

Second, things are really beginning to pick up at Sanctuary Church.  We have a spectacular core group of people that have committed themselves to the church and each other.  We have been meeting for the past few months and formed really good relationships with each other and have dreamed and cried and laughed and ate A LOT!  We’ve also been able to begin to serve our community starting with our 1st serving event this past Saturday as we volunteered at the local homeless shelter.  It was great to see our little group being able to make such a big impact in people’s lives.

We have some HUGE things coming up and could use lots and lots of prayer.  The plan is to move from bi-weekly gatherings to weekly gatherings beginning in August…we also want to begin to include some Sunday morning gatherings in the mix.  But the BIG news is that we are looking for locations to host our 1st actual worship gathering where we can open it up to the public and have a little bit more space than the living room.  These gatherings will be really laid back and will include good music, teaching, communion, prayer and a shared meal.  We’re really hoping to have our 1st gathering in either September or October and will hopefully be finding a good storefront/vacant building in the Havre De Grace area.  So, please help us pray for favor and direction as we move forward in the path that we think God has called us to.

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Houston, we may have community

We had our 2nd Sanctuary get together last night and it was incredible!  It is amazing the diverse group of people that God has brought together from different areas, backgrounds and cultures who all share one thing in common: an overwhelming desire to experience the true, pure Christianity of the New Testament. God is definitely up to something and I think we all just want to get out of His way and allow Him to do it.  We had some great discussion last night but I think we all came to a general consensus.  While we don’t particularly agree with the state of the “American church” and some of the things that go on within it, we are all ONE body and ONE family.  Within a family, you are going to have people that do things differently than you do and sometimes it may get on your nerves, but you still love them and would give your life for them.  That’s how we want our relationship to the “institutional church” to be…a relationship of cooperation, love and unity as much as possible.

So, that’s where we are right now.  A great group of people that are praying to be more in love with Christ every day and seeking to be a solution to the hurt and pain that we see all around us.  It is going to be an awesome journey!!

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Sanctuary Church- A Place of Risk!

After a lot of prayer and tossing names around, Paige and I settled on “Sanctuary Church” for the church that we are in the midst of planting.  As we have begun to tell people about the church, some have asked how we came up with the name, which is a good question.  So, here it is:

The word “sanctuary” has multiple meanings.  For instance, in medieval times, Christian churches were built on land that was considered a ‘holy spot’.  This could have been a place where a saint was buried or a miracle occurred or a martyrdom happened.  The place, and therefore the church built there, was considered to have been sanctified (made holy) by what happened there.  But there was also a special place set aside in European Christian churches that was extraordinarily holy and sanctified…a place where God’s presence was physically tangible and heavy.  The place around the altar was known as the “sanctuary”.  This was also present in the Old Testament and the Jewish Temple.  In the very center of the temple, there was a room called the “holy of holies” which housed the Ark of the Covenant and the very presence of God dwelt.  This was known as the “sanctuary” to the Jews because it was holy and set apart.

Another meaning for sanctuary (and the one that I like) is a “place of asylum or safety”.  In ancient times, a criminal could flee to a church or temple and declare “sanctuary” which would protect them from arrest and prosecution.  Unlike modern times, people saw the church as a place of safety, forgiveness and grace and in times of trouble, they would flee to her to find that mercy that they so desperately needed.

I so desperately want Sanctuary Church to be a combination of both of these meanings.  God is raising up a group of people in this country that are set apart for Him, devoted wholly to His name and willing to die if that’s what it takes to see His kingdom come and His will be done.  But we are not concerned about having a special building or structure to house God’s presence…NO, when Jesus died, He split the veil in the temple which allowed His people to be His temple, His church, His SANCTUARY!  We will embody the physical, manifest presence of God in our daily lives as we feed the hungry, give hope to the hopeless and BE Jesus to those who don’t know Him.

But Sanctuary Church will also be a place of safety and refuge for those who need grace, forgiveness and mercy.  They will find a place where people will love them and accept them no matter what they’ve done, what they look like or what sexual orientation they are.  Jesus hung out with the rankest of sinners and loved them and we plan on doing the same.  But this ‘sanctuary’ will not be a place of safety from risks but a safe place to take risks and a place to deepen a risk all faith! We’re not going to hunker down and wait for Jesus to come back…we will risk everything we have to show everything that He is to this world that desperately needs a reason for their existence.

So, in a nutshell, that’s why we chose the name SANCTUARY.

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What Kind of Church Do We Want to Be?

Paige and I had dinner the other night with some good friends and in the course of the meal, we began to talk about the church that we are planting.  They were very interested and asked me point blank “so, tell me, what’s this church going to be about?”  Now, in my mind, I have this all worked out…I can see the core group coming together and us serving the community and launching some type of gathering next September and so on and so on.  But, when I opened my mouth and tried to communicate that, all I pretty much got out was “uhhh duhhhh, yeah, it’s gonna be cool!!”

Okay, maybe it was a little more coherent than that but not much.  After they left, I asked Paige if I stumbled over my words…normally she tries to sugar coat it to make me feel better but this time she told it like  it was.  “Yeah, it was a little confusing…you might want some talking points next time!”  HEY THANKS!!  But, as painful as it was, Paige was 100% right and ever since then, I have been thinking about why I had such a difficult time conveying what was in my heart and I’ve come up with 2 reasons.

#1, I think I am a much better communicator when I’m in front of hundreds of people than when I’m in front of two.  I know that sounds weird but when I’m preaching/teaching, it all seems to come together and my mind and mouth actually work together and I can actually say what I want to without stumbling over the words.  #2, I think I have been trying to live up to what other church planters are doing and I have over complicated the whole thing.  I’m not Ed Stetzer or Mark Driscoll or any other super missional, church planting dude.  I’m Troy Hamby and I live in Harford County Maryland and when it comes down to it, God has called us to do something very, very simple yet profound.

LOVE PEOPLE!  That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.  Sanctuary Church will be a group of people whose over riding and grand purpose is to serve and love the people in our community.  We will intentionally live below our means so that we can direct our money to those that are in need.  We will sacrifice our time and resources to help those that may be going through hard times, need encouragement or have been left for broke.  We will just LOVE people and we will not stray from that simple yet Earth shaking, revolutionary idea!  If we have great worship gatherings, great but we will not sacrifice our mandate of loving people to make that happen.  If we ever get a building or property, it will have to be given to us because shelling out thousands a month for mortgage/insurance/utilities would certainly hinder us from effectively loving people in our community.  If we have a youth pastor/children’s pastor/associate pastor, cool but not if it overcomplicates our calling…LOVE people all around us and produce disciples that do the exact same thing!

I guess maybe that just sounds too simplistic in my mind and that’s why I don’t say it but I guess I need to.  We will be all about loving the people in Harford County that no one else loves and we will structure everything we do around that one non negotiable principle.  So, there…

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