We Are Planting a Church
God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus. - Jim Elliot
Use my life for the sake of the gospel! That was my prayer as a 15 year old when I surrendered my life to full-time ministry.
Every Sunday I sat in my church’s worship service looking at our mission statement: Reaching Northwest Arkansas, America, and the world for Jesus Christ.
I did not know then either how or where God would use me, but I knew I wanted to reach people with the gospel--family, friends, and the nations.. Wherever He would call me to go, I would gladly follow for the glory of His name.
During my college years at Liberty University, God developed within me a deep love for His Word and desire to reach the nations. I spent my summers either interning at my home church in Northwest Arkansas—Cross Church—or going overseas with the International Mission Board.
In God’s providence and timing, He placed us in Raleigh, NC for the last seven years. It is here that God has further fanned into flame the desires He birthed at Cross Church and Liberty University. It here that God has given me a love for the academy and engaging the skeptic through my studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It here that God has deepened my love and understanding of the local church as a member of Open Door Church. It is here that God has developed a passion for reaching the next generation through leading Open Door’s Student and College Ministry. It is here that God has brought us into community where we have been spurred on to pursue Christ and live on mission. It is here that God has begun to form a team who will be sent out with us. And it is ultimately from here that God has called us to Ann Arbor, MI.
My senior year of college I met my wife. At the center of so many of our conversations was the gospel, the nations, and future desires for ministry. I remember reading excerpts from Don’t Waste Your Life to Emily and dreaming about how God would use us for the sake of His gospel.
I could not promise what life and ministry would like if we were to marry, I only knew that I was willing and available to follow the call of God on our lives. Emily’s response still rings in my ears. She said something along these lines: “I am willing to follow you where God calls us to go.” It has been a shared love of Christ and commitment to His mission that shaped our dating relationship and eventually our marriage. I am so grateful for the gift of a godly wife who desires to be used for God’s glory wherever He so chooses.
Ann Arbor, MI is a comparatively small city in the Midwest but is most notably known for being the home of the University of Michigan. It is rich with academics and athletics, promise and opportunity, art and culture, and power and success. It is a place that brims over with the next generation and the nations. Not only will you find the next generation and nations present in Ann Arbor but you will find the next generation preparing to go all over North America and the nations in pursuit of their careers. Yet, in the midst of this there is brokenness and lostness. Ann Arbor draws some of the brightest and most ambitious students from all over the world. And yet it is also a place where people are crushed by overwhelming expectations, disappointed by unfulfilled desires, and searching for meaning and significance. It is a place in great need of the transforming power of the gospel. And if the gospel is to transform Ann Arbor it will take a multitude of healthy, Christ-exalting, Spirit-led churches that seek to multiply disciples in every area of life. This is what excites me most about planting a church in Ann Arbor. My prayer is that what some call “the biggest little town in the Middle” will become a hub for seeing the gospel advance in Southeast Michigan, the Midwest and North America, and to the ends of the earth.
In light of what God has been doing in our hearts, it is with great joy that it has officially been announced that Open Door Church will be sending us and a team we are currently building to plant Treasuring Christ Church in Ann Arbor. Our vision for Treasuring Christ Church is to see Jesus Christ treasured in Southeast Michigan, North America, and to the ends of the earth. We will pursue this vision by multiplying disciples who delight in, declare, and display the gospel in all of life and to the ends of the earth.
I will plan to share more of our heart for Ann Arbor, Treasuring Christ Church, and the process of church planting over the next ten months on the Declare & Display blog. During this time, I would love for you to join in praying with us for God to prepare a team and pave the way for seeing Treasuring Christ Church become a reality in Ann Arbor.