What a crazy 3 years it has been! No crap [or another choice word] you say. My thoughts exactly.
From leaving our family, friends, and amazing church we love in Ohio to the amazing beauty of planting a church in Utah where so many more new friends were made and another church was birthed. It has been a trying 3 months since leaving friends in Utah and a great young church…and I am thankful to Pastor Tony, Shanda, the team, and the OCC faithful for taking the church to a whole new level! None of us expected us to be called away so soon.
So as God began clarifying first, the needs emotionally for our family, it started to become clearer and clearer to Tiffany and I what our next steps would be since the doctor was spot on with the issues we were dealing with! If you have never sought out counseling, trust me, you need to.
I turned down some pretty nice offers to interview at some very large churches with some very nice cities, beaches and hip areas of town. But eventually there was no doubt that we were hearing God call us back to the great state of Ohio [I know… a stretch for many of you]…what a ride this has been! With no direction, little money and some faith, we settled down in Hilliard, OH and started praying about what God was asking us to do next.
Tiffany and I met with a counselor in Colorado several months ago who encouraged us to leave our current ministry in Utah and to do whatever God called us to do next. He encouraged us to take some time to hear and wait and told us that in 90 days we would feel amazing again, if not fully healthy. I can honestly say for both of us that we are feeling the best we have in a long, long time. He was exactly right, praise God!
So here in Ohio we sat. And prayed. And listened. And waited. And drove a THOUSAND+ miles asking God to direct our next steps in ministry. I was waiting for a church to call that needed a pastor, and that didn’t happen.
So Tiffany and I decided to do what God has wired both of us to do, and that is plant our 3rd church! Right here in our back yards of Columbus, OH, the state’s capital are 2.6 million people, many of whom do not know Christ. There is a serious lack of churches in the northwest area of Columbus/Franklin/Delaware County and God has called us to help change that! And with an amazing group of people who God will raise up just like at New Hope and at OCC in Utah…it will happen. Failure is not an option.
Columbus is the 3rd youngest city in the country and has the largest university in the United States…THE Ohio State University whom our Lord and Savior has finally blessed with an SEC-style coach in Urban Meyer. [Oops…I digress]. The need here is huge. In the 12 years I have not been here I would have expected HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of churches planted…and that is not the case. Hardly ANY change in the church landscape since I was an officer patrolling these streets. Re you flipping kidding me? No.I.Am.Not.
I want to wrap this up because there will be plenty of time to share, but here are some specifics about what we are feeling led to do and what you can do as the Lord leads!
- We are HONORED to partner with the best church planting group in the country…Reach 77 [Robb and Shaula Overholt are leading the charge…and are crazy amazing leaders, which is a part of Church Solutions Group [led by the one and only Bruce Smith who is one of the top leaders I have every been around]. I am also honored to work with their other planter who has become over the years a great friend of mine,Michael Robison, his wife Allison and their amazing family!
- Reach 77 is dedicated to turning around the SUCKY rate of church planting success, which still hovers around 90% or even more if you include the thousands that are 100 people or less. There goal is to move the needle in the church so we don’t look like Europe in 20 years. And they are aggressive, passionate and will fight to the gates of hell to make this happen. Just my style.
- We will be planting in the super-busy [96,000 cars a day!] Sawmill Rd. / IS 270 area.
- We will be seeking out 24/7 permanent space as this is one reason so many plants fail out of the gate. Super excited about this vision.
- We are also seeking prayer team warriors who will pray for us. Is this you?
- We are seeking people who feel called to move to the Columbus area to join our team as staff and on our launch team. Yes…launch teamers are those of you who are just normal people who want to be a part of something that will be extraordinary! Only the bold and daring need apply.
- We will be setting up on-line giving soon so we can fund this beast. We have a tax-deductible way of giving if you would like to engage that as well right away. Hit me up. Please. You know.
- Our goal is a multi-ethnic church plant that focuses on raising up, training, equipping, inspiring, resourcing and encouraging inner-city church planters and pastors to be all God is calling them to be right where they are. It is this vision I am most excited about!
- I am going to be blogging a ton about this experience as a way for those who are planting or leading a church to see the insides of a church planter/plant who has been there, done that so you can see the great things as well as watch me make the same mistakes, round 3 So spread the word and watch it unfold right before your eyes!
So yes…we will be re-locating to the plant area, recruiting and welcoming staff, and hopefully some friends and family while seeking to make disciples for Jesus and be a church for the city! Our goal is to have 1,500+ disciples/people seeking Jesus by year 2 and we have a plan to put this in place following the lead of the Holy Spirit!
If you would like some more information, would like to join the prayer team, launch team, inquire about staff or send a note of discouragement [trust me, people will send them…welcome to leadership!] or encouragement…hit me up on e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for praying and for your love and support over the years as we follow the lead of God…here we go! Lets all sit back and see what God has in store. It is going to be an amazing ride!