About a year ago I was approached by Tim Smith, Senior Associate Pastor of Pinelake Church, and asked if I would begin praying about planting a church. I really hadn’t thought seriously about planting before and had never even read a book about it. So he gave me a Stetzer book, prayed and wept over me, and then sent me out of the office. About 2 month later, after talking with my wife Beth, praying for clarity, and going on vacation to the west coast of Florida, I turned down the opportunity and dove back into ministry to students at Pinelake. God blessed the ministry in some incredible ways including multiple salvations and baptisms. It was a good season but inside something was still churning.
After processing and praying through the reason we said no a year ago I recognized that it all came down to fear. Fear of failing, fear of finances-or lack there of, fear of leaving comfort, fear of the unknown… FEAR! Yet in scripture we are commanded by God not to fear. Over the last year God has consistently confronted us on our fears. God has used 5 church planters to speak into our lives and help us confront our fears. David and Amy Lancaster at We Will Go , Robert and Susan Green from Fondren Church and Angus McKinley with Elevation Church Loveland, have all exemplified a fearless pursuit of Jesus and towards the plans God has for their lives. I am so grateful to these sweet friends.
So on June 6th Beth and I said yes. On June 7th I told Jeff Redding, my boss. On June 8th I talked with Tim Wheat and Dan Barber, two awesome guys who oversee Pinelake’s missions and Church Planting ministries and here I am on the 9th writing this. I plan to use this blog to journal our journey, to brag on God, to share His Truth, share laughs, pictures, fears and victories. This blog will share the Gospel and Life. That in fact is what GoodLife is all about. It comes from 1 Thess. 2:8.
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (NIV)
So what about the details…
This is what we know so far.
Who– So far it is us and about 10 other people praying. We are praying for a group to go with us to plant and a core to arise from the existing community that we will meet in the months to come.
What– GoodLife will be a church that shares the Gospel and Life. We will Worship, we will grow in community through Small Groups, We will serve the community, starting in our area and then out to the world. We will plant other churches. Thats all I know so far.
Where-Bradenton-Sarasota area of Florida. Why? Because we love it there. It is where God first stirred in our hearts to process the call to plant in 2010. We have family there. And all of us (Rayna, Silas and Josie included) have a peace about spending the rest of our lives there. We racked our brains so long for clarity on a place and God took us both to the Great Commission and said Bradenton-Sarasota fits in the command. So GO!
When– Summer 2012 to move, Fall 2012 The Launch
How– Prayer! Jesus told me the most important character trait that I will need as a follower of Him and furthermore a leader is a heart resolute on communication with Him and a life dependent on direction from Him. So, I am committed to learn how to pray and to surround myself with praying men and women.