“We’ve been on a journey.” That is about the only way I can describe the past few years that have led to the decision to pick up our family and replant ourselves across the country with the intention of starting a church. Even our best explanation would not do justice to how confident we feel and yet how strange it is to follow God into the unknown. It has been and continues to be a journey of faith. This calling became clear to us over the last six months, though it began much earlier.
When you come to a decision as we have, you look back and realize the significant events guiding you toward the future path you are on, even if they didn’t seem so significant in the moment. That’s a big truth we have discovered and hope to communicate frequently on this journey. God is a story-teller. Our lives become stories of His grace and provision. They are stories made up of pieces that form an intricate puzzle of His glory. And know this: God does not waste our experiences. Even though these events may not seem to make sense at the time, we begin to see their function with more clarity when viewed from a future vantage point. And that is where we are. We can now view the path from which we’ve come. And we can start to see with more clarity where the path leads. That is why we plan to move to Boston, Massachusetts in the latter half of 2018.
My life’s intention was to serve in full time ministry, which I did for thirteen years. I responded to God’s call on my life at an early age, went on to study ministry as a vocation, and found affirmation in my first ministry opportunities. This call took me to three different churches in three different states. After thirteen years, though, my energy began to wain. Not wanting to leave behind my love for people and the hope of helping others find faith in Jesus, I left full-time ministry in search of new ways to continue this process.
I have now been in a “secular” work environment for three years. I continually find great purpose in meeting people, serving others and the engaging in the community, all the while finding opportunities for spiritual conversations. Simultaneously, Lauryn and I have been a part of a new initiative by friends at our church in Jonesboro. We were one of a handful of couples who have been charged with starting a new expression of this church with the intention to reach a new population of people in our town. This is now a vibrant reality, eighteen months in the making. We call it Compass Church. This process of helping to create Compass provided a backdrop for our family to hear God’s call to be church planters in a new place.
In March, we responded (finally, ha!) to an invitation to attend a Discovery Lab by our friends at Kairos Church Planting. This week-long, Spirit-filled retreat helped clarify the ways that God has prepared us with the temperament and experiences well-suited for planting a church. We left with a new passion and began praying for a place we might go. We had been encouraged to consider the Northeast as a possible “good fit” for our personalities. In May, we spent 10 days visiting various locations that seemed like possibilities on paper. The only place we visited that we had not considered was obviously where God intended for us to feel His leading. That is Boston, particularly the neighborhood of East Boston.
Of course, there is more to the story. And there will continue to be. That is why we are creating this blog. Please check back with us often to stay up to date with our journey. And we invite you to be a part of this journey by joining our prayer team.