In 1996 we left ministry in Northville Michigan to plant a church in Bedford township or Temperance, Michigan, a bordertown adjacent north to Toledo, Ohio. NCA and sent us out with love, prayer, and support in every way. It has been 21 years. I am so glad Wendy and I stepped out in faith, left the comforts of being a full-time youth pastor, and went on the journey. Today we have 2 campuses, 4 weekend gatherings, with 50+ small groups, and an amazing staff. We have built a few times, and have seen many, many people come to Christ, we have started another campus, and God is moving in lives and growing people’s faith.. Here is why I am so glad I did not “chicken” out from the challenges of church planting.
- I needed to grow in faith. I had to trust God for everything. My faith grew. I can believe God for so many things as I have seen Him so faithful. I would not have the faith I have now, if I did not plant Compelled Church.
- I struggled being bi-vocational. The struggle helped me. I had to be better with time, plan more efficiently, and think ahead. I had to budget money carefully. We learned to live on less, and not lose our joy.
- I understand the pressures and challenges of our bi-vocational pastors because I was. It is hard. No one gets how hard it is.
- My children were part of the church plant and have experienced this, and it is part of their ethos and worldview. They know God is real. The love the church, and love ministry.
- The stories! People’s lives changed by Christ. I know God would have called someone else if we would have said no to the call here, but I get the privilege of being part of the spiritual journey of many. What an honor.
- Christ is so real to me. I will never forget that this is his church. He is the head. He is in charge and He builds the church. I live at His service.
- Compelled Church has been an encouragement to other pastors and leaders. They gave in those early years, they invested, they encouraged, and their fingerprints are on Compelled. I know that encourages them to continue to help and support church planters.
- We planted another campus in Toledo. Many have come to Christ, come back to Christ and God’s people had an opportunity to be missional and believe God for another “church”. The campus pastor, Tim Rabara, was saved, discipled, and sent out from Compelled Church.
- We have also supported other church plants, taken dozens of mission trips, given hundreds of thousands to missions, because of this church plant.
- We have had the opportunity to send many into ministry and missions over the years. Dozens of young people and adults, serve in ministry in so many places. What an honor to be part of their journey.
- We have made priceless relationships in the community, as we lived here, imbedded our lives here, went to the public school here, participating in sports, and the community. God has leveraged those relationships in amazing ways. I have some amazing stories.
- I met amazing mentors that poured into my life to helped me, and speak into my life. I will forever be indebted to Dean Grabill, my brother Steve, Todd Winkler, Otis Buchan and NCA, Hugh Duncan (he never stopped encouraging me, contacting me, writing me, calling me), Dennis Clanton, Marty Eddinger, Jim Rentz, Tim Dilena, Steve Miller, Joel Stocker, Brad and Tom Trask, more friends and mentors than I can even list!
- Everyday has been an adventure, in the lives, and community of faith. I would not trade it for the world. The last 21 years have been a roller coast ride of amazing, with God’s faithfulness in each season, the great ones, and the tough ones, He is faithful.
Don’t underestimate the power and leading of God. If you want to investigate more about church planting, multi-site, shoot me a note. I would be overjoyed to invest and help in anyway I can into future planters. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some church-planting pics for fun.