How We Got Here...

If you would have asked me five years ago what I would be doing now, I promise you that missionary church planting would not have been my answer. In fact it was not even something I had ever considered until a year ago. I knew that church planting was important and biblical, but I never understood how crucial it was to the expansion of the gospel. I certainly didn’t ever dream that I would leave a full-time salary to invest in a church plant with only the promise of God’s call, provision, and His faithfulness. The question is do we really need anything more than that? It seemed to be enough for Abraham, Noah, Paul, and others who stepped out in faith to follow Christ. God was about to take Melissa and I on a journey that would teach us what it really means to truly trust Him. We all know the right Christian lingo, and we say we trust God all the time but in reality we usually don’t mean it. What would follow would be a huge change of the way I see ministry in many areas.

We love our Calvary family and have come to develop some great relationships with the students and we have a solid staff to work with.  When the Lord first began working in my heart I hadn’t even considered an end to my time at Calvary. God then really began to work in mine and Melissa’s heart in ways He had never experienced before. Last August we knew that God was preparing us for something big but weren’t sure exactly what it was. I knew personally in my heart that something was going on as this unsettling burden began to consume me. The fact that so many people in our own communities are lost and don’t know Christ began to keep me awake many nights. I began to wonder how many of us Christians really share Jesus in the mundane on a daily basis. If we truly believe this gospel to be true, then how can we be so complacent about getting the message out to those who need to hear? During this time I also became aware of the importance of church planting.

Many ask why plant more churches since we already have established churches that need to be fixed. The truth is that research shows that even if every church in America were healthy and growing, the present number of churches could not adequately evangelize America. America is drastically under churched and has been steadily declining for the past century. In 1900 there were 28 churches for every 10,000 Americans; and in 2004, the ratio was down to 11/10,000. If churches do not continue to be planted, then that divide will become even wider. People, even in the Bible belt, are lost in sin and many have never even heard the Good News and hope that comes with Salvation.  

Last Thanksgiving Melissa and I were traveling to SC and we talked about what had been going on in our hearts for almost the full six hour trip. We both had been overwhelmed with knowing God was preparing us but still just weren’t sure what that would be. I asked her during our trip what she would think if God led us to be missionary church planters, and she said that the idea terrified her but she was willing to follow Christ with whatever He was leading us to do. During the next week we were approached by three different couples who were either involved with a church plant or were praying about planting a church. They all basically just said that they were praying for hands and feet and God had laid us on their hearts. We honestly didn’t know what to think at the time, but just knew that God was doing something. After much prayer we finally decided to just continue pouring into the ministry where we were and when God was ready to move us, He would make it obvious. Starting in January, we began to fast and pray and just wanted to follow Jesus in every area of our lives whether we were doing church ministry, shopping at Wal-Mart, or eating at a restaurant. In February I had the opportunity to go and speak for a friend of mine at Relate Church, which is a new church plant in Hendersonville, NC. The pastor’s name is Timothy Brown, he is one of the people we had spoken with over Thanksgiving break. Tim was my roommate in college, and we did some ministry together while in college. When we met with Tim and his wife Lori, we were so encouraged with their heart for ministry as well as the vision of Relate Church to be the hands and feet of Jesus. When we visited Relate in February, God made it obvious to us that this is where he wanted us to be. The heartbeat of the church to reach the lost and hurting matched up with ours very clearly.

Since then we have known where God wants us to be, but have just wrestled with the how! We feel like God is telling us that the time is NOW!! We don’t know how exactly God is going to provide, but we have a peace that He is going to take care of all the details. Sometimes God just says to be obedient and trust Him. We are ready to mean it when we say that we trust God, and we are ready to be His hands and feet. We are asking you all to partner with us as missionaries through prayer or any way you feel led to support this ministry in Western, NC. We will continue to keep all of you updated through this blog on how things are going. Please pray for us as we take this leap of faith and follow Christ. Pray that we keep our eyes focused on the cross as this is certainly going to be a ride; however, we know that God is faithful and we are excited about what is coming.