When I was 19 years old, I had just returned from being a counselor at a Christian camp. While leading the youth, I realized that my own faith had been an intellectual understanding of God but lacked any daily impact. Therefore, I returned with a strong desire to find a church community where God became more than an idea but a relationship.
One weekend, my girlfriend (future wife) was searching the internet in her dorm room for a church, when she came across a webpage that looked extremely trendy for 1999, namely because the church had a website,
(unfortunately the wayback machine no longer cached the page), with an intriguing name: Warehouse242
For some reason, we were drawn into this community by a web page. And so we set off at 9am on their first Sunday to drive into the center city of Charlotte to experience a whole new style of faith.
I have never before nor since felt the strong voice of God as clearly as I did that morning, when He said to my heart, “this is what ministry can be like.” Immediately after the service, I headed to the front to meet the pastor, and this began a two year engagement for me with that community. They helped to shape and mold me, they helped to polish off rough edges and reignite a South-Christianity within my soul. The next two years, we would rise up early Sunday mornings to drive into town to help setup, lead CPax (their LifeGroups), and do whatever necessary even tithing my college spending money. It was there that God gave me a heart for connecting with normal people who were tired of playing religious games but hungry to grow in their faith and understanding of Jesus Christ.
While the next 15 years have taken my life in a different direction, this community was the catalyst of my passion for ministry.
Then in the fall of 2013, my wife (former girlfriend) and I sat at a church planting seminar at Warehouse’s sister church, Lake Forest, in Huntersville, NC. She sharply elbowed me during the weekend and said, “You have been studying this for the past 7 years, why don’t we just go and do it.” For the mother of four young children to trust God enough in order to “release me” encouraged me to reengage this passion and vision.
With 6 days to the launch of Waypoint Community Church, I am grateful for this journey…though it has not been the direction I had mapped out.
As I now survey these past 15 years and notice the circuitous route God has taken me, I laugh at how His plan works out. When it seemed so clear for me back then how I could move from point A to point B, I am amazed and humbled by His steadfast devotion. The route I would have chosen would have been easy and straightforward; but far less fun.
To realize that Christ is allowing me to help mold and shape another community in this town is deeply humbling.
Its a sheer gift that God has granted me the ability to be a pastor in this city for 12 years (I had 3 years of my wilderness experience in Jersey). But the greatest joy is that as I have tried to keep up with the journey God has taken me on, the same woman has walked shoulder-and-shoulder beside me.
What I realize now is that though things change, God’s plan and purposes remain the same.