Toward the end of last summer, God began to re-stir a passion in my heart. I was with a group of students from NewBranch at a local missions camp we participate in each year. The last worship service of the camp was a time of intense prayer for each other, for those we had ministered to, and for ourselves.
While asking God to humble me and use me, he made it crystal clear that church planting was my calling. I thought of one of my favorite passages of scripture, Isaiah 6:1-8. After being wrecked by the holiness and grace of God, Isaiah responds to the call. Verse 8 reads:
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
That was my response to a God who has saved me by his grace through Jesus Christ. “God, wherever you want me to go! Just let me serve you!” After that moment Lauren and I began to talk, think, and pray about where God would have us. Church planting was always a seed in my heart. Now that God had give life to the seed, we felt the urgency of pursuing the process.
New England kept coming up. I had heard of the need in the area from a pastor who left his ‘booming’ church in the Bible belt to pastor in rural Vermont. But to be completely honest, New England? “No way,” I thought. “Surely there are other friendlier and warmer places that need churches.” There are, but when God says “jump” you say “how high?”
On the way to church one Sunday in September, I was praying for clarity on the subject. Heading out west was an idea. Planting locally was an idea. Thankfully, the confirmation of God was undeniable that morning. God is sending us to New England to plant a church.
God is stirring my heart for the least churched area of the nation; a land with such a rich gospel history that is in need of, and hopefully on the verge of, spiritual awakening.
Can I humbly ask you to pray for me and my family? Pray for strength, preparation, discernment, wisdom, etc. Pray for timing. We plan on moving there in 2 1/2-3 years. Will you also commit to pray for New England? Ask how God would have you be a part of taking the gospel these people. Take a few minutes to read How New England Is The New American Missional Frontier by Jared Wilson.
Here are some more resources to help educate you and guide your prayers… (via Jared Wilson)
- NETS Institute for Church Planting
- Vision New England
- Gospel Alliance New England
- SEND North America (an initiative of the North American Mission Board)