When I attended a church plant’s launch nearly fifteen years ago, I heard God tell me that this culturally engaged style of ministry—that moves Jesus from being an intellectually interesting concept into a daily presence – is what the church should be about. As that first worship completed, I vividly recall God speaking to me saying “this is what church ministry can be like.” At that moment, I believe that the Holy Spirit conferred a calling on me to participate in a church planting movement. Church plants are better suited to meet people where they are rather than crossing our fingers and hoping that the lost and lonely and least will come find us. Today, I still feel God’s particular call for me to plant a church.
In the years since, I have studied church planting, been mentored by church planters, and explored several opportunities to plant a church. Over the last year, however, I sensed God’s call to pursue church planting in South Charlotte in a way that is bolder and with more immediacy than any previous thoughts about planting. He has given me a clearer vision for this endeavor as I seek to gather people into genuine community, with a Biblical focus in order to be missional in our endeavors.
Thankfully, God did not limit this call to just me. During a church planting seminar my wife leaned over to me saying, “This is what you have been passionately saying for five years; this is what you are meant to do. Why don’t we just go and do it.”
When we then informed our six year old daughter that we would be leaving our existing church to start a new one, her eyes lit up and she said, “so we can come up with a new name for it? We should call it Church Welcoming because we will be welcoming to those who do not know Jesus yet.”
With a family two steps in front of me, church planting has grown from an intriguing concept to a clear call by God for us to pursue, because our heart is focused—not on building another church—but on sharing the Gospel with the people whom God connects with us.