We have been back in Florida for 6 weeks. Time flies when you’re having fun and we sure have had a blast. Though we struggle with moments of intense fear, doubt, loneliness, sleepless nights, and wondering if this whole thing is really gonna work out, God has so blessed us by really enjoying our time meeting people in the community, becoming locals and showing visitors around our area. Since we have arrived we have been blessed to host 4 interns over a 6 week period, and 4 families that have come to visit. We have gone to baseball games, out to dinner, to the beaches, and even to Disney World. Who says church planting isn’t fun? I have spent more time with my wife and kids over the last 6 weeks than I had in the year prior as I was preparing to plant. We are continually receiving letters of encouragement and support from friends all over the country which seem to always come at just the right moment to lift our spirits and help us know we aren’t alone in this thing.
I have spent 2 of the 6 weeks out of town ministering and building possible ministry partners for Good Life Church. I just returned from a week in Texas with students and adults from the Austin area. During my time, my heart was encouraged and reinvigorated for the cities of Bradenton and Sarasota and I have come back pumped to be a part of God’s enormous plan for this place.
Today is a crazy day in the life of Good Life. We just unpacked Abe Johnson’s stuff into our garage. Abe is the first non-Smith family member to move here to be a part of our launch team. Abe has raised some support and will be getting a job in the local area as he assists me in ministering to our community, especially on the college campuses on the University Parkway. On a sad note, just as we unloaded Abe’s stuff, we also said goodbye to our interns. Paige and Courtney Dukes, Meg Brown and Tyler Slay, all Pinelakers and college students at Ole Miss, have spent the last 6 weeks breaking ground in our community by loving and serving in many different ways. They served in inner city missions, youth outreaches, with other church plants, and most importantly lived missionally in the downtown area of Bradenton, building relationships with neighbors and their landlord. I could not be more grateful for their investment of time and resources into our community and also into our family during this time of transition. We will miss them around the table for meals, and even more on the back porch as we have our Bible studies.
Next week is a big week as I meet with 4 different schools to discuss the potential of renting the facilities for our meeting place in January, get Abe settled in the area, and continue to build partnerships in ministry and missions.
Please continue to pray for us daily by setting your alarms at 1:28pm. Every time my alarm goes off I can’t help but smile knowing the Lord’s saints are lifting up God’s mission for Good Life Church. Also please continue to give to us financially as we are preparing to purchase our sound equipment, a/v equipment, children’s ministry supplies, and make down payments on rent for a facility and possible office space. Thanks to your faithfulness, we are close to meeting our pre-launch budget of $116,000 (June-Dec). You guys rock! As of now, we are looking forward to begin putting resources towards a $229,000 Year 1 budget (Jan-Dec). This includes three staff salaries, rent, supplies and resources for ministering to our community. Please continue to dream big, give sacrificially and pray even harder for the ministry God has entrusted to us in the Bradenton/Sarasota area!
WE LOVE YOU!
1 Thess. 2:8
Please send all tax deductible gifts to
Good Life Church
PO Box 21275
Bradenton, FL 34204