Well, it's August 15, just a few days before I officially resign my position at Calvary Church to step out of the boat into a season of church planting. The office is packed, responsibilities transitioned, the family moved, and a general sense of both trepidation and anticipation is in the air. It’s that feeling you get whenever you chart new territory. But, how did we get to this point? Maybe you are new to the Kranjec’s and our story. What brought us to this point? Why would I leave a steady ministry job for the unknown of church planting?
It all began with a seed. A seed that was planted back in early 2010. Jaclyn and I had just moved back to Pennsylvania, after spending a few years at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. There, God would ignite a passion in my heart for production and media. Desiring to further develop myself in that area, I began to search for an education program where I could complete my degree in a media concentration. The last place I thought I’d end up was back at the University of Valley Forge (Jaclyn and I had both attended there when we first met in 2004). However, through a few clearly God ordained steps, that’s just where we ended up, back at UVF.
I thought I was there to complete my degree in digital media communications, but God was actually using that place to align my heart with his purposes for my life. A restoration of my call to pastoral ministry and a dream for church planting would begin to unfold. I remember sitting at a Church Multiplication Network event at UVF asking myself if pastoring/planting a church might be in our future. I brushed it off at the time, but God was up to something.
In a last ditch effort to find an internship for my program at UVF, I ended up working with Calvary Church as a media intern. I really wanted to be in the TV/radio/production industry, though I was ecstatic about the opportunity. During that internship, Calvary sent me to a Church Multiplication Network event on creative funding for ministry, to help with some work we were doing on a coffee house ministry at the time. That event was hosted at Ebenezers Coffee House, which is run by National Community Church, a very successful and inspiring church plant in Washington DC. During that event I connected with Brad Leach, who at the time was preparing to plant a church in Philadelphia. I was jealous that this guy from the midwest was planting a church in my city! My passion for Philly church planting had intensified, and that seed continued to grow… (Brad is an awesome guy by the way, and they have a great church!)
The internship at Calvary ultimately led to a part-time job, and then a full-time job in 2012 as Worship & Creative Arts Pastor. It wasn’t my intention to end up as a pastor. I remember wrestling through that title early on. I was supposed to be the media and music guy, but I couldn’t shake that word pastor at the end of my title. What did it mean? Was it me? Ultimately, I realized that my passion is communicating the gospel and building healthy Jesus-shaped disciples. At the core, that is the work of a pastor. It’s actually the work of every disciple of Jesus, but pastors are especially charged with equipping the saints for this work (Ephesians 4:12). Media and music, just happened to be the current medium I was using to do that. I’ll always be grateful for Calvary Church, and the many people that saw God’s potential in us. They gave us the opportunity to discover that, or in a way, rediscover what God had put in us years before.
What about that church planting seed? Well, my plan was to work under the current pastor at the time, knowing that eventually God would call us to pastor/plant a church. However, when that pastor resigned in 2015, we began to ask a lot of questions regarding our future. Seasons of transition have a way of bringing on extra questions and self-reflection. During that season, I attended a regional pastors roundtable event on the topic of Philadelphia area church planting. Again, my heart began to burn, and the memories of that seed flooded into my mind. I text Jaclyn while sitting in that meeting and asked, “do you think God might be calling us to plant a church now?” She didn’t hesitate, and responded, “Yes!”
The next two years would include hours of prayer, counsel, training, and preparation as we wrestled through whether this was indeed the next step for our family. There would be some challenges and disappointments throughout that time that led us to great fear, doubt, and unbelief. Following a particularly difficult season, at the beginning of 2017, I remember receiving an email from a dear brother at our church. He shared his story of healing and faith with us. While reading his story, I remember the Spirit of God vividly speaking this phrase to me, “I am restoring your eyes of faith.” We needed new vision to see how God saw things. Rather than seeing through all the impossibilities and failures, we needed to see through the eyes of faith. Shortly after, Pastor Bob Novak, from Life Christian Fellowship, whom I had spent the better part of those last few years building a relationship with, reached out to us extending the invitation to partner together in planting a church in Delaware County.
We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity they have extended. Church plants are much more successful, when the have the covering of a parent church. In addition, we will be working with the V3 Network over the next year to better be equipped to launch a disciple-making church. More on why the V3 Movement and what we’ll be doing this year in the next post.