A little over five years ago I started with working with church planting for The Village Church. I was 22 and had no idea what I was doing (not sure that things have changed much!), but quickly found that working with church planters was something that brought me great joy. Though not always the case, most of the men that I had the opportunity to work with were humble, godly husbands, fathers, and pastors. They were also men who were willing to risk everything in obedience to the Lord. I am not trying to glorify the act of church planting or even the men that I have been privileged to know, but rather that through the suffering, difficulties, and joy of church planting the Lord had made Himself evident in these men’s lives.
As much as I enjoyed working with church planters, the thought would only on occasion cross my mind that I might join them someday. I love The Village Church and I loved my role of serving our church and these other churches all at the same time. And, to be honest, I knew that I had a long way to go to be “ready” to pursue something like church planting (still have a long way to go). So for the last five years Deedra and I have grown to love church planting and church planting families all the while rarely, and almost always in jest, talking about us church planting some day.
In June of this year the Lord really began to shift our life in some dramatic ways. It was during this time that Deedra and I were discovering the severity of her endometriosis and the necessary steps to address the pain and disease, at the same time the elders of The Village Church began a massive re-organization within the church structure, and all of this was accompanied by a time of sever spiritual attack in which much of my flesh was exposed. It seemed like our world was turning upside in every possible way and yet in the midst of the chaos the Lord granted peace and trust.
During this season, for the first time in a long time, Deedra and I seriously began to pray for what the Lord might have for our future. We knew he was sanctifying and stretching us, and so we began to plead to know why. During our prayers the Lord made clear to me that our time at The Village Church was drawing to a close and that we should pursue church planting. Though resistant at first, the Lord quickly changed Deedra’s heart and confirmed that we were to go, though we did not know where.
I approached a group of our elders to request their spiritual blessing to be sent out from The Village Church to start a new church “somewhere”. I knew that unless these men recognized this call and gave their blessing then our efforts would have been in vain. They graciously and with excitement gave their blessing and so our church planting story went from possibly someday to well on its way.
Because we did not know where the Lord was calling us to go, we wanted to invite some of our trusted friends and family into the conversation to pray with us and hear the Lord with us to determine our next steps. It was in this season of prayer that the Lord put upon my heart the desire to “pursue” London, England. I was shocked at first, still kind of am, but the Lord has in numerous ways confirmed that this is the direction we are to go.
I say “pursue” because throughout this entire process Proverbs 16:3 has been a guiding post for us. It says that we are to commit our “works” to the Lord and that He will establish our plans. I am planner. I love plans! Yet, the Lord has been gracious to us to sustain us each day and has not given us “plans” beyond a short distance. Our prayers and hope has been to commit our work each day to the Lord, to do all things with faith and unconditional trust in Him, and let Him establish our path as we move forward. If we get to be faithful disciple makers in London, praise Him. If He chooses to send us somewhere else, praise Him. Wherever He takes us we know we can trust Him. It has been difficult, stretching, and immensely joyous to walk in such humbling trust.
So, that is our church planting story, at least the first chapter Lord willing! There is so much more to tell of God’s faithfulness, provision, and protection and we hope to do so through this blog. Thank you for taking time to read this. Know that we love you and are so grateful for you. May God pour out Himself and His blessing on you as He has for us. God bless!