God's Providence at Grand Opening—A Report on a Blessed Day!

Grand Opening Praise Report

Below is an edited copy of the report Jason Janz sent to his prayer partners after the Grand Opening of their church plant in downtown Denver.

Written on Monday, September 29

For me, the day began after a restless night with not much sleep. When I got up, I practiced my sermon one more time. My wife got the kids ready. I dropped my son, Hudson, off at the church building at 8:30 so he could fulfill his role as church greeter. The rest of the family pulled up to the meeting place at 9:00, and the place was buzzing. You could tell that people were excited and that they were anticipating something great.

People started coming and coming and coming. And they didn’t stop coming until I was almost done preaching. We ran out of seats in the pews and went to Plan B, which was to set up seventy more chairs in the back. We ran out of seats there and had to go to Plan C, which was to put people in chairs on the platform behind me. When it was all said and done, 330 people attended the service yesterday. We praise God for allowing us to minister to so many.

Our “Puritanically worded” sign

Krystol and Teresa Vincent helps a 102-year-old woman to her seat

Our standard greeting at Providence

We Saw God’s Providence in Spite of Problems

  • Building Cleaning—The person in charge of our building maintenance hurt his head on Saturday afternoon and could not make it in to clean the building for our Grand Opening service. So I went to the church at 9 p.m. just to double-check and make sure everything was ready, and it was a mess! Thankfully, five people were already there and were cleaning. Thanks a bunch to the whole Cederquist family and Roger Perez.
  • Bulletin Chaos—We purchased our copier on Wednesday for the church office. It broke the first day we had it. They could not fix it in time for us to do our printing for Sunday, and so they agreed to print our bulletins at one of the home offices in Phoenix. They then would put them on an airplane on Saturday morning, and we could pick them up at the airport. This was all at their cost. When the bulletins arrived, we found out that we had sent them last week’s bulletin instead of the one for Grand Opening! Ahhhh! Saturday night, we ran to Kinko’s, and the bulletins were done by 10 p.m.!
  • The Homeless Issue—Denver has a high homeless population, and we are right next to one of the parks where many of them live and hang out. The police arrived before our service and asked if we were ready for the homeless. We asked them what they meant, and they told us that the homeless were all telling the officers that they were coming to our BBQ. We had purchased food for 200 people, but we would face a major conflict all around if all of them arrived and we turned them away. We had paid $2,500 for the food, and we simply did not have the money in our checking account to pay another $2,500 and double our order. So we prayed and decided to order 30-plus pizzas to feed any homeless person who came. All in all, I think we fed between 400 to 500 people yesterday, and the organizers were stunned. Many references were made as to how God performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes again because there was no way we had enough food. We ran out of utensils, cups, and drink, but we did not run out of food.

We Saw God’s Providence in Touching Many Lives

At the end of every service, we ask everyone to fill out a communication card. Below, I have enclosed some of the comments we received yesterday.

  • Falling in love with God. Giving my life to Christ.
  • I just want to praise God for the mighty act of bringing all these people to the opening service.
  • Heed prayers to learn how to forgive God for my father’s tragic death. To stay clean of drugs!
  • I would like prayer for my drug addiction and for me and my family to reunite and for my relationship with the Lord to grow stronger. I would also like prayer for me and my husband to find a home and a job. I just renewed my life to God.
  • I would like to see people the way God wants us to. Not to be so judgmental toward people.
  • I need help with finding a home. You are A CHURCH. Thank you.
  • I love this place.
  • I would like to be a part of this church and pray for me, my soon to be wife, and our unborn child. And my drug problem. God bless you all.
  • I gave my heart, body, mind and soul to the Lord.
  • I would like to say prayers for my mom who is struggling out there. She lost everything from house to clothing and is just afraid of what has become of her. Now she is homeless, and is an alcoholic. We tried to come together to help her but it does not do any good. Thank you.
  • Visiting Denver because of a conference downtown and found your church on the web. May God continue to bless you richly as you join Him where He is working. I have had a wonderful experience worshiping with you.

We Saw God’s Providence as He Changed Hearts

I preached on the Providence of God out of Romans 8:28-29 and on how God works all things together for good for them who love God. When God says “all things,” that means the small and great, the good and the bad. We had given each person who attended a small ball and a pen. At the close of the service, I asked everyone to take the seemingly bad things in their lives and to cast them upon the Lord. I asked them to write down on the ball what burden they were carrying. Then we sang a song titled “Blessed Be Your Name,” and they sang the song as a sign of surrender and trust. Many of them laid their little “ball of burden” on the altar. Others threw them. Yes, threw them. At the end of the service, the altar was strewn with little baseballs with words scribbled on them. This morning, I went over to the building and took some pictures of what they had written.

We Saw God’s Providence in the Giving and Receiving of Money

On Wednesday, God reminded me of where we were a year ago. We had our first organizational meeting in downtown Denver. At the end of the meeting, we passed out a white envelope to everyone in attendance, and inside it was the balance of our checking account: $1,500. We gave every person $30 cash and asked him to find a person in need and give him the money. As clear as day, God said to me that we should do it again.

I walked into staff meeting on Thursday morning and explained the direction God had placed on my heart. I thought we should do the reverse offering again and give every attendee $10. They all agreed that we should do it in spite of the fact that we only had $2,500 in our checking account and the knowledge that we could have 250 people in attendance.

At the end of our service, we passed the offering plate and told people to take an envelope out of the offering plate. It had the following instructions on it:

  • Our desire is that you pray about a specific need to meet in someone’s life before you give it away.
  • You may add to the gift, but not take away.
  • We ask that you not give it back to Providence.
  • We would like to hear the stories of how God used this. You may e-mail them to info@providencedenver.org or you may write it on the back of this card and turn it in. We will share some of these stories in the weeks ahead.
  • We would ask that you not give cash to the homeless. We are part of the Denver Road Home Project which is seeking to address homelessness in our city. Rather than give cash to them, they would encourage you to give it to an organization that supports the homeless.

Proverbs 19:17—”One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.”

We told our regulars that if they wanted to give an offering, they could do so at an offering box in the cafe area. When the ushers totaled the offering, it came in at well over double of what we have ever received as a ministry. More than $5,000 came in. Wow! It was as if God had said to us, “Keep on giving. Keep on walking by faith, and I will supply your every need!”

We Saw God’s Providence Through Answered Prayer

I’m not that great of a prayer warrior. However, God has revolutionized that area of my life since stepping out into church planting. Prayer has become our lifeline! Granted, He has done wonderful things for us, but most of all, He has helped all of us see a bigger picture of Him. We have asked God for specific things and He has gone above and beyond what we could ask or think. We needed a location and he provided us with one at a great price ten blocks from the center of the city. We needed to fix up the place and he gave us over 100 volunteers, $45,000, and a four-month project that changed all of us. We have put down as one of our core values, that we are Prayer-Empowered. Now, when we have a staff meeting or meeting with ministry leaders, we endeavor to spend 15-20% of the time allotted in prayer. Before Grand Opening, our men walked through downtown on a prayer walk. A major burden of ours has been for God to birth a multi-ethnic work here, but that has proven to be very difficult. And, we don’t just want a multi-ethnic congregation, we are praying fora multi-ethnic leadership team. Thankfully, on Sunday morning, our platform portrayed the diversity of our city. And God brought us a tremendously diverse group of people that attended for the first time. We have a sermon research group that meets on Sunday nights. The night of Grand Opening, Kristen, a young African-American participant, said, “It was great to see so many black people!” I agree. God did that. And I believe it was a direct answer to the prayers of his people.

We Saw God’s Providence Through Ministry Partners

Several churches provided us with volunteers to staff our childcare areas. These people were an immense blessing, thus allowing our core people to attend the service. We were overwhelmed with 85 kids in our childcare, but the people who visited said it was organized, under control, and well-staffed. Thanks to all of you who helped in this way!

Needless to say, we’re exhausted. However, the work didn’t end once the BBQ was finished. A business in our area was downsizing and donated eight beautiful office cubicles to us valued at over $20,000. However, we had to get them out last night. So a crew of eleven of us worked at taking them apart and moving them out. We have also started a sermon research team, and eight of us met last night until 10:30 planning out the fall sermon series. Another team of seven people delivered a loaf of fresh baked bread to the homes of our guests. By late this morning, fifty loaves had been delivered. So we all have a silly grin on our faces, but our eyes are at half mast.

Tonight, we have rented a room at a local entertainment place, and we are having a Praise God Party. All of the kids get $7 game cards, and we are catering in some refreshments for the whole core team. It should be a high-fivin’ good time.

Thank you all for the part you played in seeing this dream become a reality. I had several people tell me that they could “feel” a spirit of prayer around the service yesterday. I’m not a touchy-feely guy, but I must say that I felt it as well. I believe it was the result of our 800-plus prayer partners interceding on our behalf yesterday.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Jen and I appreciate and love you, and we glorify and magnify our Lord for all He has done!

—Jason Janz

Jason, Jen, and a tired two-year-old

Jason JanzJason Janz, former SharperIron site publisher, is planting Providence Bible Church in downtown Denver. Formerly, he served as an assistant pastor at Red Rocks Baptist Church (Morrison, CO). He has a bachelor’s degree in Bible and is currently finishing a master’s degree in theology. He has been married to Jennifer for ten years, and they have four boys. His interests include pastoring, reading, and wrestling with his boys. He likes SI because of how it helps serve pastors and church leaders.