I cannot thank you enough for how you all continue to pray with us and for us! It has been a very busy couple months since our last update, but I wanted to give a brief recap of what has been happening in our lives and invite you to pray for us in what's to come!
- We continue to enjoy our time with Sojourn Community Church. In October my "field work" assignments (where I spend intentional time prayerfully learning the neighborhood and its culture, building relationships, sharing the gospel, and developing partnerships) switched to another neighborhood on the South End of Louisville called Beechmont. I am excited to spend the remaining of my time here in this part of the city as it is one of the most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in Louisville, with thousands of people from people groups all over the globe. I will largely be focusing on learning from various organizations in this part of town and learning how to bridge disciple making in the Church through collaboration with nonprofits in the community! Cayla just finished up helping lead a women's bible study through the book of Colossians. And our Community Group continues to grow!
- Several weeks ago I was able to sit in on a week long field training for cross cultural workers with our friends at The Upstream Collective, an organization based out of Louisville that helps equip every follower of Jesus live as a "sent one" and every church to be a sending church. This training largely focused on learning how to understand and best engage a new culture and how the gospel uniquely speaks to the specific narratives and idols of a particular place. This is crucial as we look to move to neighborhoods in Denver and seek to take the posture of "learner" that we might love our new neighbors well. Also, through my close relationships with the folks at Upstream, we are learning tons about what it means to build sending + mission into The Oaks Church DNA from day 1!
- We were blessed to make several trips back to East Tennessee the last couple months where I officiated two weddings of couples, updated & preached to our sending church, as well as preached at their student + college retreat. This was a rich, sweet time of ministry and spending time with family and friends that was deeply good for our souls!
- A few weeks back I helped serve with logistics for a leadership conference for The Sojourn Network, hosted at our church here in Louisville. Several hundred church planters and pastors around the U.S. came to be equipped and encouraged. I was thankful to not only be poured into at this event, but also to love on, pray for, and learn from so many faithful brothers in the trenches of ministry.
- This past week I was part of a two-day training intensive for a handful of pastors in California learning from We Are Church, a collective of churches in San Francisco led by Francis Chan and his team of elders. This was such a gift to learn how these brothers are structuring the replication of missional churches. It was a challenging and sharpening couple days and I learned a lot about what it means to love neighbors, train leaders, multiply disciples, and plant churches in very reproducible and financially responsible ways.
- On my way back from San Francisco I stopped in Denver for the weekend to spend some alone time prayer walking some of the neighborhoods where we believe we may plant our lives as we and our team move to Denver. I was able to gather with 3 different Send Network church plants in the city and networked with several planters as we continue to learn about our new home!
As you can see, it's been a busy few weeks!
Here's how you can pray for some next steps!
- Our Vision Dinner is this Saturday, November 11th at 6pm at Tri-Cities Baptist Church. Cayla and I are eager to share more of the vision, introduce some of our team, and discuss how people can partner with us for gospel multiplication for the glory of God, the good of Denver, and the joy of all nations! Please pray this is an encouraging, fruitful time as we take this massive next step in our journey of financial provision and prayer partners! It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can find more information at theoakschurch.net/dinner.
- Please pray for the team God is forming. Currently we have a group of 8 adults and 9 kids who have completed our process and believe God is calling them to relocate to Denver in 2018 as first members of The Oaks and as missionaries to Denver. Please pray for all things involved in such a massive transition, but mainly for their joy in Jesus as they trust Him with everything! There are more people who are in various parts of the journey of discerning God's call. Please continue to pray they would have great clarity.
- Before we officially nail down a timeline of when Cayla, Beau, and I will move to Denver, we have one last step in our assessment process with The Send Network. We have a meeting coming up before the holidays with the North American Mission Board where they will help (alongside our sending churches) assess our readiness and health with our development of the vision and team. We pray this is a helpful, clarifying, and affirming step in our journey. Afterwards we will be working with our sending agency and sending church to determine an official date when we will move. Unless something dramatically changes, we are looking at getting on the ground in February/March of 2018!
Thank you for walking this journey with us by keeping in the loop and praying on our behalf! May Jesus be enjoyed by all the peoples of this world!