It’s a new year and I’ll be wearing an additional hat for 2017.
Thirteen months ago, I was driving with Wayne Botkin, a good friend of mine, from a church planting meeting at Vineyard Church in Columbus. Wayne is a campus pastor at Christ Church who received his call to ministry at Ginghamsburg in the early nineties. Vineyard is a megachurch with an emphasis on planting churches, which they have done more than sixty times across the United States. Wayne and I were blown away by the movement of God to multiply faith communities. As we were driving, Wayne and I began to ask the question, “Why is it that when a church is planted only one planter is sent?” The biblical model Jesus instituted in the New Testament demonstrates this work being done in teams; Jesus sent out his disciples two by two. Then we said to each other, “What if we planted a church together?”
In Acts 13 we read that after fasting and prayer by the leaders of the church at Antioch (where followers of Jesus were first called “Christians”), Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit for a special work—to start new churches—preaching the word of God. They were resourced by the church, and sent to reach out beyond Antioch. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So, after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
Wayne and I didn’t give our idea much credence initially, since we are each part of two different churches. Yet neither of us could shake the conversation. We started to realize a God-dream was being birthed in our hearts: two pastors coming together to plant a shared church. Our next thought was that there was no way our churches would agree to partner; it’s just not typically done by two different churches. After more thought and prayer, we decided to approach our lead pastors and others. Surprisingly, all parties were intrigued. Both Wayne and I and our churches had looked at the Beavercreek area as a growing location that was underserved by faith communities. After much prayer, meetings, and deliberation, I’m truthfully still a little shocked that this God-dream is about to come to fruition. We plan to launch a new faith community together in the fall of 2017.
I look forward to sharing more details as this story unfolds.