I can still remember the day. It was Tuesday, May 15th, 2007, and I was participating in an offsite planning retreat with the rest of the staff from Dogwood Church when my phone rang. I received the news that Dr. Jerry Falwell had just passed away. As a Liberty University graduate, Dr. Falwell has had a profound effect on my life. I met my wife at LU and answered God’s call to ministry there as well.
That day began a journey for Suzanne and me as we reflected on the impact for God’s Kingdom that Dr. Falwell had made with his one lifetime. We began to ask God if we were where He wanted us to be to make the biggest impact with our lives. Slowly, God began to stir in our hearts the desire to be a part of something that would utilize passions and skills that He had begun to awaken within us–the passion to help lead and influence an organization that would have the potential to make a huge impact for the Kingdom of God. We didn’t know what that was but we knew it was going to require some significant changes.
During the next 17 months, we prayed, studied the Scriptures and captured God’s promptings in a journal. We started down several paths only to sense that they were not the direction God would have us travel. Then, in the middle of August 2008, Tim and I reconnected over coffee. Tim and I have known each other for about 18 months and, up until the Spring of 2008, had been in the same small group Bible study. However, our group had disbanded for the summer and we hadn’t had a chance to catch up for months.
I had heard from some mutual friends that Tim and Nicole had sensed God’s leading to plant a church. This intrigued me. Although I had spent the last 13 years as a worship pastor, I was sensing God’s leading into a broader area of leadership ministry, but up until that point, I had not seriously considered a church plant. However, as I thought back over the past few months, I realized that church planting had surfaced several times. For instance, in April 2008, I was invited to attend the Exponential ’08 Church Planting Conference in Orlando, FL, and much of what I had heard resonated deeply with me.
As Tim and I talked on that late summer morning, it became obvious to us both that God had been working in each of our hearts. Starting that day, God began to reveal to us that His preferred future involved planting a church. Nothing has excited my heart like the thought of creating a church where we see people embrace a lifelong journey of becoming like Jesus.;