Spring Update


Spring Update

Making disciples who make disciples

welcome bruncha.jpg
easter brunch.jpg

In March we launched 3 new Oaks Communities. These are the primary way we are seeking to make disciples. We've defined a disciple as someone who is pursuing rhythms of being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and joining what Jesus is doing.
These communities seek to do this by practices of growing in grace & pursuing change as a family on mission.

We have ~45 people connected to these groups on a regular basis and dozens more relationally being discipled through these Communities in our neighborhood.

We also have 30 adults who are beginning our new process to become members of The Oaks and to go "all in" to make disciples with us!

Weekly Vision & Worship Gatherings

first gathering.jpg
first teaching.jpg
first meal.jpg

Since February 10th we have been gathering weekly each Sunday night at 5pm for worship, prayer, and equipping.
We are spending all of 2019 in a Vision Series called Life on Mission where we are slowly unpacking our 10 Convictions as a church. We have already had 3 other leaders preach! We are deeply thankful for the leaders God is raising up here.

We began in the basement of our partner church, Denver Christian Bible Church (who is graciously renting their space to us). By God's grace, we kept growing each week and had to move upstairs in their main gathering space in March. We are so grateful to have a semi-permanent home already with plenty of room to grow.

Easter weekend marks a turning point for our community as we will begin the next phase of transitioning this weekly time a little away from "core team development" and to being much more intentional to create a welcoming space to invite people who are not yet following Jesus to explore life with Jesus and with us at their own pace.
We will "officially" launch more publicly to our neighborhood this August.

Equipping Families

new city.png
kids circle.jpg
cam kids.jpg

We love that our church family is made up of singles, young married couples, and families. We want to be a church that takes seriously the responsibility and the privilege of seeing the next generation enjoy Jesus and live for the joy of others.

We have ~15 kiddos (and a few babies on the way!!!) already part of our community & the neighborhood where God has called us is full of families! We are using the New City Catechisms as a simple way of spiritual formation for all ages and as our primary resource for equipping parents & caregivers as the primary disciple makers in the home. 

Kingdom Development


We hosted two other church planters and their churches for our Good Friday Gathering. These two men have become dear friends and I am so grateful for their churches. Will you pause to pray for Josh Cook (left) from Dwell Church and Kevin Hasseneck (right) from Calvary Wellspring?


Each year Send Network hosts 2 church planter assessment retreats for the Front Range. If you've been following our journey, you'll remember Cayla & I were assessed almost 3 years ago. I am a huge believer in this process and so grateful for how God has used it in our life. It's really fun to now get to be part of these as God calls more people to explore church planter in our region. 
This month I was humbled to serve as an assessor to help these 12 couples discern God's calling to church planting! 

The Oaks Church is praying we would be able to plant our first church within our first 3 years. We're asking God to raise up a church planting resident to begin to be developed soon!
Will you please pray with us toward that end?

send network training.jpg

Since February I have been part of a cohort with The Send Network being developed in areas essential to planting healthy churches that last! Here we are working through an exercise on developing a clear mission, values, measurables, and strategy.

multiply training.jpg

Through our partnership with The Send Network, we have access to a Leadership Development Pipeline called "Multiply." The Oaks will be taking some strategic leaders & potential church planters or global sent ones through this! I have been helping develop video training content for this curriculum. Last month we worked on equipping people to understand culture to be able to better speak the gospel.

brad brisco.jpg

Send Network regularly gathers planters & pastors from our city together for brotherhood, encouragement, and equipping. Here leading missiologist Brad Brisco came to town to train us on the missionary nature of the Church. And a few of us got to enjoy a Nuggets game together! So grateful for the friendships of these guys!

Strategic ways to pray this Summer

1 | LoveDenver Initiative 

We will be welcoming 6 interns to our city for all of June & July and 8 week long teams from partner churches coming from out of town to help us serve our neighborhood. 

This summer will be full to say the least!

Teams will be meeting needs of our partner organizations & schools, prayer walking our neighborhood, helping start & serve an apartment ministry serving refugee families, helping refugees with paperwork & physical needs, hosting block parties and outdoor movie nights, people group mapping & demographic surveys, sharing the gospel, and a lot more! Please be in prayer that God would begin preparing the soil for our neighbors to see and hear the gospel, for these awesome people as they serve, and for ongoing relationships to form through all this work by our church members! Also, pray for favor with our city and school systems to be able to obtain needed permits and that the way we serve our community these upcoming weeks would create ongoing relationships. 

2 | Hospitality & Transformation 

Our local mission strategy is simple. The acronym 'B.L.E.S.S.' helps us remember how God has called us to bless our neighborhood. Please pray for our people to be faithful to step into these simple, everyday rhythms and that we would see our first baptisms this year from our friends beginning to follow Jesus!

:: Begin with prayer to awaken to God's heart for the people around us and for sensitivity to join Him where He is already at work. 
:: Listen to people & follow the Spirit's leading.
:: Eat with people as a way of opening up our lives and welcoming others as Jesus has welcomed us.
:: Show up consistently to serve and be a faithful presence in the everyday stuff of life.
:: Share the good news about Jesus by weaving threads of the gospel into everyday conversations.

3 | Multiplication

God has been so incredibly kind to us to send us people who want to do whatever it takes to make disciples in our neighborhood and among all nations. Growing by addition is a beautiful thing and we're so thankful for the growth we've seen the last two months, but to be faithful to Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations, we must stay sacrificially committed to leveraging addition growth for the sake of multiplication. Even if The Oaks became one of the fastest growing churches in North America (and we are FAR from that), we would still only barely make a dent in the lostness and need of Denver ALONE, not to mention the need among unreached peoples and places around the globe.

Pray we would... 
:: Multiply disciples & communities in our neighborhood. Our faith goal is to see our 3 Communities multiplied to 6 Communities by the end of 2019.

:: Multiply leaders & churches in our city. We are asking God, that by the end of 2019, we will have 1 church planting resident and 1 global sent one in our pipeline to be equipped and sent out from our church in the next 2 years.

:: Multiply kingdom initiatives. We are asking God to give us wisdom in how to invest our resources in Kingdom work. The Spirit is opening doors for partnerships in exciting things around the world and we are trusting God to continue to provide resources & clarity to know how to focus our efforts.

Thank you for your invest & your prayers!

Would you consider making a one time donation to further the mission and the vision of The Oaks Church?

January Update

Oaks 2019 Clear_Social.png
Denver Skyline.jpg

Thank you for those who joined us in our
31 Days of Fasting & Prayer last month!

It was such a sweet gift to our members to do this together & begin the New Year in dependency & intimacy, longing for more of the presence & power of God in our lives in 2019 as we turn the page into a new chapter together as a church family. 

I just want to personally & publicly thank God for the ways He answered prayers this month. What God seems to be up to is just too much to put in an update, but here's just a few specific requests He answered in specific requests this past month-

:: Incredible opportunities to go deeper with friends in our lives who are not yet enjoying Jesus. 

:: Several families had unheard-of housing opportunities open up to move into 'more strategic locations' in our focus neighborhoods and got clarity & open doors on jobs!

:: We've been praying for spiritual breakthrough for some of our members & our friends in the city and we experienced God give freedom in specific ways!

:: We have had several people express interest in what God is doing in & through our church and are at varying stages of pursuing membership with us-- including a few families praying about relocating their lives here to be part of our team. We're asking God to send more and more disciple-makers who desire to live on mission to the nations through being faithful here in this great city! 

:: God continues to provide for us financially in ways that honestly, blow us away. During this month we had 2 churches begin partnering with us financially, many significant one-time gifts were given, and we had 3 new churches reach out wanting to partner with us by sending teams this year to help us pray & serve our neighborhoods! Once things are approved by our board, we will share a snapshot of where we are financially & our 2019 budget!

:: This month huge doors were opened with Denver Public Schools and organizations serving our refugee friends here. We aren't to a point to be able to publicly share details quite yet, but it is remarkable the favor God is giving us in certain parts of our neighborhood! We believe it's directly tied to our prayers!

:: We officially signed our contract for our facility to begin gathering this month at our friends' building at Denver Christian Bible Church at a lease rate that is the lowest we've seen or heard of in the city! God is so kind and good. 

January Update

Celebrating Open Doors…Literally

One of the things I most enjoy about doing ministry in this city is the collaboration & brotherhood experienced by fellow pastors & leaders. The need is so vast & the cost so high that it cultivates a spirit of humility and interdependence & shatters a broader sense of competition. I've witnessed over & over again a celebration of other church's wins & a mourning losses in ways that truly reflect the Kingdom & the gospel.

One of the most vividly tangible examples of this for us is our new friends at Denver Christian Bible Church. Through my friendship with their pastor, they graciously have offered us (without us even asking) to use their space on Sunday evenings. We're so incredibly grateful for the ways God provides and for tangible answers to specific prayers! Real estate here in Denver is grossly high & to have a space like this for us to be together is nothing short of a gift of God. Will you pause for a moment and pray a prayer of blessing over Pastor John & the sweet people of this church?

Summer Internships


We are so excited for The Oaks Church to be a host church to GenSend Summer Interns this year along side two other great church plants in our city (Josh Cook of Dwell Church & Skylar Anderson of Cypress Church pictured above at our latest planning meeting). 

GenSend is an initiative of the North American Mission Board that provides young adults (ages 19-25) an opportunity to be fully immersed in what church planting looks like in an urban context, but also to be equipped with tools to live on mission in whatever context God calls them! 

We believe in this program so much that we're pushing all of our potential interns to be part of this! Know anyone who may be interested in this? Participants who are directly tied to our partners will likely get to work directly with me & The Oaks this summer. Have them reach out to me at derick@theoakschurch.net.

Prayer Gatherings & Family Meal

Throughout January we were able to gather twice for corporate prayer, once in my house & another in our new space at Denver Christian. It was a bit surreal to take this next step & have space to enjoy a family meal afterward for our growing family!

Exponential Multipliers Cohort

I shared in our winter update about being accepted into a year long learning community with Exponential. Exponential is one of the top organizations in our country leading the conversation around the necessity & innovation to multiply churches. This cohort focuses on training & coaching in three essential elements of multiplication- cultivating a disciple-making culture, equipping & releasing 'missionaries' to be mobilized to pursue their calling in every corner of culture, and how to build capacity for our churches to becoming these sending hubs. The last cohort convened in beautiful Tampa, Florida for a couple days of prayer and equipping around what it means to mobilize our churches on mission. It was such a rich time- and it didn't hurt to escape this polar vortex to be in sunny Florida for a bit. 

One-Year Anniversary & Commissioning

team lunch.jpg

We just celebrated this past weekend our 1 Year anniversary of moving to Denver! My second full day last year was spent gathering with The Summit Church & The Heights Church for their annual Mile High Family Gathering. Last weekend (2/3) at that same gathering we were commissioned as The Oaks Church! God has been so remarkably faithful these past 365 days and we are eager to see the story we can tell this time next year.

I am so grateful for the friendship of Bryan & Corbin, the pastors of these other two churches in this Family of Churches network we're now officially a part of. It was also so sweet to have dear friends from Tri-Cities (our sending church) be here for this milestone in the life of our church. Through the kindness & generosity of Tri-Cities, a few of our leaders got to celebrate after the gathering together!

M3 Training with Hope Church


Our church would not be what it is today if not for the support of The Send Network & Colorado Baptists. They finanically support us very generously, but their investment in us is so much more. I have been connected with multiple SBC pastors from around the country interested in investing in kingdom work here with us, receive monthly coaching from experienced church planters/mentors, my wife & family have been supported & cared for, a built in network of friendships with other planters in Denver Metro, and multiple training opportunities-- all for free because of churches that give to the Cooperative Program of the SBC.

I just finished one of these trainings with one of the leading examples of what it means to be a sending church that makes disciples & expands the Kingdom among all nations-- Pastor Vance Pitman & his team from Hope Church in Las Vegas. I was equipped in tangible tools to lead our church in a kingdom-first mindset-- to serve & engage the city, make disciples, and then to plant churches out of this faithful gospel growth. May it be so with The Oaks Church and all our churches in this great city!

Strategic Ways to Pray in February 

1 | Pray for Strength in the Spirit 

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." -Ephesians 6:10-13

Spiritual warfare is a reality. As we have increased in our intentionality to be a people of prayer & dependence on the Spirit, we have experienced much greater increase in spiritual warfare in multiple different ways. The enemy wants nothing more than to distract us, to divide us, to cause us to be so weary that we don't keep pushing to the frontlines & the margins of what God is doing here and around the world. Please pray we would have strength, not in ourselves, our strategies, our comfort, our preferences, our relationships, but that we would experience supernatural power that comes from the 'strength of his might.' 

2 | Pray we would grow as disciples who make disciple-makers

Being sent out from our friends at The Summit means that we are officially moving out of 'Year 0' of my apprenticeship year with The Send Network and transitioning fully to the role of 'Lead Church Planter' and beginning our first year of full life as The Oaks Church. Here's an overview of what that means & ways you can pray for us--

:: Sunday, February 10th marks our first week of gathering weekly as a church family. For clarity, this does not mean our "church is launching," but rather that we are expanding our regular meeting rhythms away from being just for our "core leadership team" to begin to invite others from our city to join us. We will gather weekly to pray, worship, celebrate what God is doing through our efforts in the city & the nations, and cast vision & equip around our core convictions. Our hope is for this to grow naturally through relationships. Our plans are written in erasable ink & the Spirit holds the pen, but we will likely more publicly 'begin' sometime this Fall. 

:: Oaks Communities are launched in March. These are not just simply our 'small group option' or one program we offer among others. We see these communities to be the primary means of what it means to be the Church, how we make disciples, how we care for people, how we train leaders, how we engage locally & globally, etc. Please pray for us throughout February as we train these leaders, finalize our development of how we make disciples in these spaces, and for there to be unity, wisdom, and clarity for us as we determine how many groups to have, where they are, and who goes with which Community. 

:: Formation & Mobilization. Our strategy is fairly simple & consists of 3 main rhythms: We gather (in Oaks Communities who gather weekly together to celebrate & pray) to help people enjoy Jesus & live for the joy of others through formation (growing as disciples who make disciple-makers) and mobilization (empowering & releasing people to pursue their calling locally & globally). Please pray that we would not get distracted by many, many good things we could do and miss out on what we must do. We believe it's to relationally make disciples and plant churches here in SE Denver & among the nations. Pray for burden, urgency, and commitment to this focus & for fruit as we abide in Jesus to bring it about. We're asking God for a movement and spiritual awakening that begins in the West & spans across out country. We don't in any way assume or believe we're the answer to that, but we sure want to get in on and be a small part of what God is doing.

3 | Pray we would grow in obedience

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome." - 1 John 5:3

Each year, instead of New Year's resolutions, I get alone for a day or so to seek God on a specific theme/word He is calling me to pursue for the upcoming year. This is the 7th year I've done this practice and it blows me away to look back on each year to see how what God pressed into my heart at the beginning really did tell the story of that year. 2018 was a year of dependence-- and boy, did I grow in dependence, not just out of need (though we have plenty of that), but truly maturing to learn what it means to fast and pray and be led by the Spirit of God in tangible ways. 

I believe God is calling me (and our church) into greater obedience in 2019. 


God has been faithful to form a team of leaders around us. He's calling people everyday to pray about joining our community. I'm so proud of our people who are boldly and beautifully loving people in this city who do not yet enjoy Jesus. I'm asking that this year is a year of everyday, small steps of obeying what Jesus has told us to do. I'm asking that this vision He's put down in me and that's been owned by so many other people would not just be crafted words on a website, but would be embodied in all the big things we start and the everyday moments that feel really ordinary. I'm asking that we grow in the love of God and that our obedience would be a joyful response to who we already are and what we already have in the Father's affection for us. But that we also wouldn't be lulled to sleep that this means that we don't obey. As John says, this is what love is- to obey what He has said because we trust him. These commands, though it's leading to a death of self and the things of this world, is a path that leads to resurrection life, intimacy, flourishing. 

This following Jesus thing is hard, but it's not burdensome. 

Thank you for believing with us and helping us pursue what Jesus has called us to do. 
Thank you for praying.

As I send out this update, I'm praying by name for everyone on this list! I'm asking that this would be a year of greater faithfulness for you to make his name known among the nations. He's worth it. 

Winter Update

Oaks 2019 Color_AppFeature.png

Thank for you for partnering with us
for the beauty of God,
the good of Denver,
and the joy of all nations

We pray this update will encourage you to see a glimpse of fruit that is sprouting up from the seeds you are sowing in your prayers & generosity. 

This 10 minute video gives a brief word of gratitude for our partners, big picture things you can pray for us in 2019 as we seek to make disciples, and a couple specific updates about what our life together as The Oaks Church will look like beginning in January.

*And I apologize for the video quality. This was recorded while sick, after a bunch of travel, and in a noisy downtown hotel room in Nashville. But the crazy hands let you know I'm passionate and serious :)

oaks shirts.jpg

Shirts are a suggested donation of $20.

Your gift will help us more effectively see Denver & the nations enjoy Jesus. Each time you wear our shirt we hope it reminds you to pray for us & to encourage those who ask to do the same.

Highlights from October & November

Halloween Neighborhood Love

halloween outreach.jpg

On Halloween night we split up our leaders in three different neighborhoods to intentionally position ourselves to meet & serve our neighborhoods by giving the best candy for the kiddos & some hot cider & coffee for the grown ups. It’s been somewhat difficult to engage our neighbors, so we wanted to take advantage of the one night a year when they come to our doors. Please be praying for deepening relationships with people in our city.

People Group Training

people group training.jpg

The Oaks Leaders gathered in my home to hear from Jerico, a friend who works for The Send Network in the Denver Metro Area as an ethnic church planting catalyst. He helps equip, train, and coach dozens of ethnic brothers who are planting churches to reach the foreign born population in our city. Denver is home to over 175 languages, and 60 of those are represented in our part of town. We learned about how to speak the gospel into various worldviews & how to befriend people of different cultures.

Send Network Training

Send orientation.jpg

I was able to spend a few days in Atlanta at the central offices of The North American Mission Board for my orientation into The Send Network, the church planting initiative of the SBC. In addition to being aligned as a SBC church, we are partnering with The Send Network for local brotherhood in Denver of other like-minded church plants and collaborating together to join God in seeing the neighborhoods restored and to together multiply churches here & around the world. Will you pray for us & the 100+ other church plants being started in strategic cities around North America this year?

Growing as a Church Family

Our kiddos enjoying dessert at our 1st Annual Thanksgiving Feast

Our kiddos enjoying dessert at our 1st Annual Thanksgiving Feast

Recovering from our ‘Bring your best soup’ potluck for our Thanksgiving Meal

Recovering from our ‘Bring your best soup’ potluck for our Thanksgiving Meal

Strategic Planning

strategic planning.jpg

One of our leaders, Ben, leading us in a conversation of developing our strategy out of Biblical convictions. We have met regularly for these Strategic Planning Meetings throughout the Fall where we have been having depth of discussion & prayer around what 2019 looks like for us as we seek to be faithful to Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations. It has been refreshing & stretching to put everything on the table and truly develop our strategic programming of being the church out of prayer, the Scriptures, and discerning how to best fuel & equip disciples making disciples in an urban context.

Mile High Family of Churches


We have spent 2018 under the care of a church in downtown Denver, The Summit Church. Our friendship with the pastors here go back several years and we could not be more grateful for their friendship. Our church will be so much better because of their investment & example for us these months. We’re excited that the relationship doesn’t end when they commission us in February 2019. We will be the 3rd church to join The Mile High Family of Churches— a collective of interdependent churches that share common family vision, values, doctrine, philosophy of ministry, & traits. We’re grateful to have a depth of an ‘inner circle’ type relationship with pastors & churches in the city trying to do the same thing.

Partnership Development


Our sending church in East Tennessee, Tri-Cities Baptist Church, invited me back this Fall to be part of their Neighbors & Nations weekend. Pictured above is their Give2Go banquet where they hosted over 300 people from their church to learn more about giving above & beyond to ‘Reaching the unreached, planting leaders, training leaders, sending disciples, and serving the vulnerable.’ This year’s emphasis was on planting churches & I was honored to share about what God is doing in Denver & how people can be invested in church planting around the world. Below is a sermon I preached later that weekend at Tri-Cities on ‘planting churches for the nations.’ If you want to hear more of the ‘why’ behind our vision to see the gospel take root, not just in our neighborhoods in South Denver, but also among the nations, give it a listen.


We are so grateful for the sweet partnership at Gravelly Baptist Church in East Tennessee who have been SO faithful to pray for us & care for us in tangible ways throughout this year. We’re eager to see what God will do with our partnership deepening in 2019. Churches really do start churches & we cannot do what we’re seeking to do in Denver without the friendship of churches like this one.



I had the opportunity this month to preach at the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) at East Tennessee State University to over 100 college students. ETSU BCM is doing a fantastic job making disciples through the church on the college campus & we’re grateful to be part of their sending pipeline for students to engage in what God is doing through urban church planting.

The Oaks Church will be 1 of 3 host church plants in urban Denver the summer of 2019 for a program called GenSend—an initiative of the Send Network, where we seek to cultivate environments for young adults to be equipped and engage in what it means to do everyday life on mission through urban church planting.

Interns will receive life-on-life discipleship with The Oaks leadership & other pastors throughout urban Denver, strategic equipping around a holistic paradigm of discipleship through the Church, and intentionally 'do life' in our neighborhoods and help meet tangible needs alongside our partnership organizations. If you know any college-aged students interested, send them our way! More info at theoakschurch.net/partner

Missional Leaders Coaching Cohort

ex training.jpg
ex cohort.jpg

I was invited to join a year long coaching cohort with Exponential— a network of church plants around the country focusing on multiplication & disciple-making. Exponential’s investment is such a gift as the leading thinkers in missional living & church multiplication help produce these resources & events. I have multiple video calls, required readings, assignments, and 3 cohorts where we convene in the same location to put into practice what we’ve been learning. Our first in-person training was this month in downtown Nashville focusing on what it means to make disciples. Please be in prayer for us as we begin to implement what I am learning in the culture & DNA of The Oaks as we head into 2019.

3 ways to pray for us
as we head into 2019

1 | Pray for our 1st baptism in 2019. Please continue to pray for boldness & discernment as our members live hospitable lives & speak the good news about Jesus with our neighbors. Pray people who are not yet enjoying Jesus would begin following Him this year.

2 | Pray for our disciple-making efforts. Beginning in January we will begin gathering each Sunday evening for prayer, communion, and to have conversations around the Word of our vision to be disciples who make disciple-makers. In March we will multiply our core team of members into multiple ‘Oaks Communities’— our primary means of spiritual formation & mission to see all daily grow in the grace of Jesus & be changed by the Spirit as we live as a family sent on mission together.

3 | Pray for kingdom investment. Our prayer is to leverage our resources (our money, our time, and our gifts) to join God in what He is doing to usher in His kingdom in our neighborhoods in South Denver & for the sake of His name among all nations. Please pray for continued provision to have the funds to equip our leaders so that we can utilize our internal giving for strategic work with our partners here & around the world. Pray for wisdom to know how to focus our efforts & for continued favor with people in our city.

On behalf of our church— and for those who aren’t yet—
thank you for faithfully praying & giving. We literally could not do what we’re doing without you.

August & September Update

August & September have been fruitful & beautiful months as our church continues to deepen in what it means to enjoy Jesus & live for the joy of others here in Denver. On behalf of our church family, we cannot thank you enough for the ways you are partnering with us for the beauty of God, the good of Denver, and the joy of all nations.

We’ve provided a brief snapshot of what God has been up to so far this Fall & some strategic ways you can pray as we finish out the last few months of this ‘pre-launch’ year faithfully.

Meet sweet Adalyn


We welcomed our beautiful little girl, Adalyn, into the world in the early hours of August 1st. Much of August was spent enjoying this gift with family & friends. It was refreshing (as much as possible having a newborn added to your home) to have extended time with family & we were overwhelmed how our new church community came around us in love & tangible help! God is kind & we are grateful.

Adalyn means ‘noble,’ which is “Good, virtuous, righteous, honorable, upright, generous, kind, unselfish.”

We’re praying she would live into her name- that she would be this picture of true womanhood. That God would give her a gentle, kind, gracious spirit, and that she would use it furiously to give her life away in unselfish generosity for the things that matter most. And that from the beginning she would experience in us and come to know for herself God as good, faithful, and full of never giving up love.

Kingdom Development

George Washington High School Mentorship Program


Thank you for praying for continued open doors to love the students, families, and faculty/staff of George Washington High School in our neighborhood! There are several open opportunities for us, including our participation with a life coaching program called ‘Life After George’ where we (alongside some parents & faculty) will meet with every Junior & Senior at GW throughout this school year to help them plan & prepare for what’s next after graduation. Please pray for these relationships & conversations as they develop.

Denver Metro YMCA Community Picnic

YMCA picnic.jpg

God has opened up the doors for me to sit on 2 different boards associated with the Denver Metro YMCA as a way to learn how we can tangibly meet the needs of our community & to network with people in positions of influence in our city. My family’s local Y branch hosted a Fall Kickoff community picnic where we were able to meet a lot of new neighbors!



Through friendships with leaders who attend The Summit Church, we’ve learned about a great new nonprofit in our city called Mission98 who are pursuing holistic restoration within multi-housing communities throughout the metro area, where 98% of apartment residents are not meaningfully connected to a local church. We are prayerfully pursuing potential opportunities to replicate this model of ministry in our corner of the city to more effectively engage the many apartment complexes that are home to thousands of people.

Training Burmese Pastors & Planting International Churches


Through our continually deepening partnership with Ethne Global Services we have been relationally connected with dozens of ethnic leaders from all around the world who have settled in Denver & desire to see churches planted to reach their people groups. Doors are opening to be part of training these pastors. Pictured above is a room full of Burmese Pastors from Southeast Denver/West Aurora.

The Oaks Church is in early conversations with one church in particular, Myanmar Mission Church, about helping them develop a family discipleship process for their English Speaking children, while using the curriculum to train the adults, not only in learning the English language, but as a means for their personal discipleship, as well. This would also provide opportunities for the kids of our church to develop multi-cultural friendships, while still be invested in by our leaders. Please be in prayer for wisdom & continued favor as we pursue these relationships.

Strategic Partnerships & Learning

This Network’s Core Convictions

This Network’s Core Convictions

One of our leaders & I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Florida with a church planting network learning how to train & release communities of missionaries to pursue their calling & engage lostness & culture strategically. We’re grateful for people who have been pursuing similar visions & ways of multiplying the Church who have gone before us that we can learn from as we build critical foundational DNA of what we pray the Oaks Church will become.

Church Development

Send Network Assessment


We are partnering with The Send Network, the church planting initiative of the North American Mission Board of the SBC. We are deeply grateful for organizations like this that provide coaching, care, and strategic opportunities to not only plant a healthy church, but to be part of collaborating to plant multiple churches along the Front Range. These last two months our church has benefited directly through multiple coaching meetings, a care package for our growing family, two training events, and a free ‘family night’ at a Colorado Rockies game. Pictured above is a recent Send Network Assessment where 4 potential church planter families were here being assessed to begin their journey of seeing 4 more churches started here. For those who have been walking this journey with us for some time, this is the exact thing Cayla & I walked through a couple years ago as we started this process. It’s a joy (and a bit surreal) to be a small part of encouraging & serving those who are right behind us! We’re praying for many planters to be sent here!

NAMB Vision Tours

Vision Tour with 6 churches from Texas

Vision Tour with 6 churches from Texas

Another aspect of our partnership with The Send Network is being connected with churches from around the country who are exploring partnership with church planting in Denver through becoming Supporting Churches of The Oaks Church. These last two months I’ve had the privilege of sharing the vision of our Church and the needs & opportunities of our neighborhood to 8 different churches. Please continue to pray for more strategic partners to lock arms with us!

Growing as a Church Family

Commissioning Prayer for our kids heading back to school

Commissioning Prayer for our kids heading back to school

Neighborhood Brunch at the park

Neighborhood Brunch at the park

Enjoying a Rockies game with a few Oaks members & a couple Ethiopian friends from our neighborhood who are becoming part of our community.

Enjoying a Rockies game with a few Oaks members & a couple Ethiopian friends from our neighborhood who are becoming part of our community.

This Fall has marked ‘Phase 2’ of our church’s journey. Phase 1 was getting each member of our team relocated here and taking unhurried time to get acclimated to our new city and begin learning everything we can about our neighborhoods and showing hospitality to neighbors. By God’s grace, we welcomed our last ‘committed’ team member this Fall, which allows us to begin Vision Casting, strategic planning, and developing leaders more intentionally.

In addition to gathering with our friends at The Summit Church each Sunday, The Oaks Leadership team gathers in one of our member’s home each Wednesday night. We are balancing these weekly rhythms with different emphases. Every 1st Wednesday is Prayer, Worship, & Vision Casting as we unpack different core convictions each month (if you haven’t read the convictions that drive our church, check them out.), every 2nd & 4th Wednesday is guy/girl nights where we intentionally ask discipleship questions & care for one another, and every 3rd Wednesday is a fun relational hangout where we just enjoy one another & create space to invite neighbors to live life with us.

Leadership Retreat

whole crew.jpg

Last weekend we enjoyed our first annual Leadership Retreat in beautiful Estes Park just outside of Denver. It was such a sweet time of unhurried time together and extended time to cultivate unity & take steps toward each member of our Leadership Team discerning their own unique callings, gifting, and personality typing as we look into more strategically multiplying these leaders as we seek to be faithful to make disciples and plant churches.

Sending Church Encouragement

The Oaks kids sharing what they’ve learned this weekend about being ambassadors of Christ

The Oaks kids sharing what they’ve learned this weekend about being ambassadors of Christ

tcbc team.jpg

Our sending church, Tri-Cities Baptist in East Tennessee, generously sent a team of 5 people to make our Leadership Retreat possible. 3 people invested deeply in our kids & 2 leaders spent time encouraging the adults during our main sessions. This was the first time our Leadership Team has had uninterrupted, extended time together & space to unhurriedly discuss strategic things. This move has also been difficult on our kids, so to have people fly out to love them in really meaningful ways was such a gift to us. After our retreat, the team stayed an extra day to pray through our neighborhoods!

Pastor Gene investing in our church at our weekly home gathering

Pastor Gene investing in our church at our weekly home gathering

Pastor Gene & his wife Gayle from Tri-Cities spent an entire week touring our neighborhoods & meeting with each member of our team as part of Tri-Cities efforts for ‘missionary care.’ They loved us so well & it’s especially meaningful for the members of our team not sent from Tri-Cities to have such intentional and thoughtful care from people they don’t even know! Churches really do plant churches and I pray The Oaks will learn from this example of what it means to ‘hold the rope’ for those sent!

Ways to Pray in October

  • Each member of our church has people who are not yet enjoying Jesus we are building relationship with & sharing the good news about Jesus. Please pray for boldness to talk about things that matter most. Will you ask God to open these people’s eyes to see the beauty of God and that they would keep taking steps to follow Jesus?

  • Pray for wisdom & creativity for our Church to practice hospitality as we enter into the winter months. There are many strategic opportunities with the holiday season coming up that we want to be intentional with. We’ve found that urban people here in Denver are somewhat skeptical of being invited into homes until a depth of trust has been developed, which makes hospitality a unique challenge. With the weather being so nice we’ve met people in neutral ‘3rd spaces,’ but with cold weather official making it’s way here for a while we will need to be creative in what it means to continue to deepen friendships with our neighbors. Please pray for quick learning of where people go to hid out in the colder months & for increased favor with people trusting us.

  • We have begun bi-weekly Strategic Planning Meetings in addition to our weekly rhythms of life together where we are prayerfully white boarding how we will organize ourselves in February after we are sent out from The Summit Church. Will you please join us in fasting & prayer in clarity & discernment of the timing and specific organizational structures to build. We want to continually walk in the tensions of radical urgency & simple faithfulness. We don’t want to feel the pressure to start Day 1 trying to do everything & give ourselves permission to build this over time, but also desire to embody a holistic approach to disciple making in light of the tremendous need here & around the world. Pray for faith, courage, and sensitivity to be led by the Spirit in our planning.

  • Pray for unity of The Oaks Leadership team. We have been so deeply blessed with a diversity of gifts, passions, burdens, and experiences on our team. Pray we would not seek to build a culture of uniformity, but also that our unique perspectives would not be scattered & divisive. Pray for me, personally, that I will have wisdom to know how to lead & empower this mature group of disciple-makers to ‘do the work of the ministry.’

  • Thank you for praying for more strategic partnerships. Since our last update we have made progress on the Fall Partnership Goals I mentioned…

    • Goal of 5 more Partner Churches || We have added 2 partnering churches since our last update!

    • Goal of 20 more individual donors || We have added 6 monthly donors since our last update!

    • Goal of $25,000 in one time investments || Over $6,000 in one-time gifts have been given since our last update!

Will you join us in praying for these goals specifically?
Will you ask God how He may have you lock arms with us in this way?

If you have any questions, please reach out at derick@theoakschurch.net.

June & July Update

I had just finished a meeting discussing opportunities to love refugees in our city when the director of the program asks me to stay for lunch to meet his mentor of the last two decades. He asks me to share which neighborhoods we are planting The Oaks. And then a moment happened that I'll never forget.

Kenny- a seasoned, spirit-filled, humble man- looks at me with tears running down his face and says, "Son, I've been praying for you for over 25 years." 

This organization, and Kenny in particular, have been driving into the city from down South every week for decades to love the people in our neighborhood. They've been praying for churches to be started here, and have tried to help start a few multiple times, but nothing has lasted. We were both equal parts floored and grateful that the same God he has been praying to for decades for this neighborhood was the same God who had been so vividly calling us to these neighborhoods. The prayers we have been praying for favor, opportunity, and people who have been on this way to mentor us were being answered every time this man got his knees before the Father for 'us.' 

Since that conversation I have been reveling in the reality that God sees us. He cares about these people who are far from Him. He cares about this little bizarre 3 mile circle tucked away in a forgotten corner of Southeast Denver. And He is sovereignly moving human history- guiding, burdening, stirring, calling- His kids to be about their Father's business in ways only He can orchestrate. And this is just for a couple hundred thousand people in one little city on one little spec of the globe. Our God is a God of the nations & He is King ushering in His beautiful Kingdom in every nook and cranny of our world, among every people group He has created. He will get his praise through the Church multiplying among the nations. 

This was one of those moments church planters will tell for decades as part of the story of the church being birthed. But really, I don't know why I'm so surprised. This is consistent with what God has been doing virtually every week since we started on this journey. And it's the way He has worked throughout history.

Can I encourage you in something? Our God can be trusted. He is more committed to accomplishing this mission IN us and THROUGH us than we will ever be. He is ruling & reigning- which is such a relief that we don't have to be in control of any outcomes. And that He is a good King who is using His power for the flourishing of His enemies, making us and *them* His kids. 

What you have given up praying for because God has tarried longer than you have patience for? Let me stir you up to believe, to take God at His Word, and to ask in faith for His kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And do so with open hands to your life, letting the Good Shepherd fill them with better things and guide you along 'right paths for the sake of His name.' He gets glory when we walk in faith and dependence on Him to do what only He can do. How often we miss out on intimacy with our King and impact in the Kingdom simply because we do not ask. THANK YOU for praying for us. Please don't stop. He's answering. 

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  -Matthew 28:18-20

Updates from the Summer

Please see the bottom for specific prayer requests
as we head into August


George Washington High School 

GW NEW.jpg

THANK YOU for praying for open doors to serve the school system! We have been attempting to reach out to the leadership of Denver Public Schools for months, but since our May Update we have been welcomed into wide open doors in two of the largest schools in our neighborhood. Only God!

George Washington (GW) is the only high school in our neighborhood. GW is home to over 2,000 students of over 60 ethnicities and represents one of the largest socioeconomic gaps in the city with students from some of the poorest & most wealthy (reflecting the diversity of our neighborhood).

Assistant Principal Kate told us we were the FIRST people in the community to reach out to help the school in her six years there. The school has suffered 6 different principals over the past 8 years, so there are significant issues at play. They have opened the doors wide open for us to mentor their 'at-risk' students, run their food pantry serving homeless & low income students, and tutor their athletes. Please pray for continued favor & wisdom for how to serve this school well.

YMCA & The DIG (Diversity, Inclusion, Global) Initiative


One of the first open doors for me months ago was being asked to sit on the Board of Directors for a program of the Denver Metro YMCA (where our family spends a lot of intentional time) that focuses on serving the under-served segments of the population (refugee, homeless, lower socio-economic, veterans, disabled, etc.). This allows me to not only help shape the direction of this board, but also to sit at the table with all the major refugee resettlement agencies & the local government & local school systems. One of the main projects for this Fall is conducting a neighborhood mapping & survey of metro Denver to learn about the demographics & specific needs, as well as applying for grants from the federal government to allow the Denver Y to become a 'Welcome Center' for refugees, which would open up tons of opportunity. Just last week the Executive Director of one of the YMCA branches asked me to also sit on their Board & help connect that branch's members to be more involved in the community. Please pray for continued favor here!!

Ethne Global Services


As great as the opportunities with the YMCA & local agencies are, there are significant gaps in what we are able to do with them together as the church because of strict stipulations on not allowing any association with faith-based groups. So, we've been praying for partnerships that will allow us to talk about Jesus & be part of planting ethnic churches here in Southeast Denver & around the world. 

Last week I crossed paths through unlikely, but clearly sovereign, means with a nonprofit called Ethne Global Services. These sisters & brothers have been loving refugees & immigrants for years in really holistic ways- from helping them transition into US culture, aiding them legally & medically, and training them in their language and occupational needs. Out of this, they've seen many begin to follow Jesus and have planted dozens of ethnic house churches through empowering indigenous leaders. What we love most is the opportunity to not only be faithful to make disciples of the nations here, but to connect this work globally- particularly in training pastors among these people groups overseas & working for holistic renewal of these unreached/unengaged regions. 

Through our friendship with EGS we have learned that one of the main people groups in our neighborhood are the Karen people from Myanmar/Burma. Based upon the need here we feel led for this people group to be where we focus a lot of our initial energy. 

Hosting Teams

We have been blessed by the 3 teams who have come to Denver this summer to love The Oaks Church & Garland Park. These teams have served us primarily through Prayer Walking the streets of our neighborhood, tiling up the soil, and believing with us for Oaks of Righteousness to spring up here. We also welcomed our first intern, Cameron Tucker, from Tri-Cities who spent 5 weeks with us meeting really tangible needs of our start-up church and spending intentional time mapping Garland Park & building relationships with people & organizations there. It's been a busy, but fruitful summer of kingdom investment!

A WMU Team (Women's Mission Union of the Southern Baptist Convention) who prayer walked Garland Park

A WMU Team (Women's Mission Union of the Southern Baptist Convention) who prayer walked Garland Park

Another WMU Team of ladies from various TN Baptist Churches who came to prayer walk our neighborhood.

Another WMU Team of ladies from various TN Baptist Churches who came to prayer walk our neighborhood.

Our first team from our Sending Church, Tri-Cities Baptist Church in East Tennessee's orientation led by our Summer Intern Cameron Tucker.

Our first team from our Sending Church, Tri-Cities Baptist Church in East Tennessee's orientation led by our Summer Intern Cameron Tucker.

I had the opportunity to be a small part of the equipping of a group of university students spending their summer serving Denver through a program called 'GenSend' through our partners with The North American Mission Board.

I had the opportunity to be a small part of the equipping of a group of university students spending their summer serving Denver through a program called 'GenSend' through our partners with The North American Mission Board.

Growing as a Church

This summer we welcomed another family to our Church from Louisville, KY, making 6 families total as part of our Lead Team. We have continued to spend intentional time together in the everyday stuff of life & engaging our neighborhood in tangible ways. We gather weekly on Wednesdays at 7pm for a mix of prayer, worship, and community. Please pray for us as this August begins 'Phase 2' of our church where we will begin to transition to much more equipping & vision as we gear up for being officially 'sent out' by The Summit Church to begin Year 1 in February of 2019. 

Church together in the park

Church together in the park

Night of Prayer & Worship in one of our member's home

Night of Prayer & Worship in one of our member's home

4th of July picnic

4th of July picnic

Because of the gracious gift of the Tri-Cities mission team watching our kiddos, The Oaks Team got to spend our first night out together!

Because of the gracious gift of the Tri-Cities mission team watching our kiddos, The Oaks Team got to spend our first night out together!

Through partnership with Tri-Cities Baptist Church & the International Mission Board, The Oaks Church is serving as a Supporting Church for James Delatte who is spending 2 years as a Journeyman in SE Asia. James has relationship with 3 of The Oaks families, making this a sweet first way to engage in God's global activity.

Through partnership with Tri-Cities Baptist Church & the International Mission Board, The Oaks Church is serving as a Supporting Church for James Delatte who is spending 2 years as a Journeyman in SE Asia. James has relationship with 3 of The Oaks families, making this a sweet first way to engage in God's global activity.

Things to Pray for in August

Our Family

  • Our baby girl is due July 31st, so we're expecting her to come any day now! Obviously this will be a lot of what our family is doing for the first few weeks of August. Please pray for my wife as she sacrifices for this new life to enter the world. Pray for Beau in the transition as his only child world comes crashing down. And pray for me to be fully present to love my family well (if I can pull myself together through all the tears of having a little girl, ha)

Our Church 

  • Please pray for our members as we all continue to love our neighbors. As we live intentionally in our neighborhoods, workplaces, parks, and begin to serve alongside these organizations that we would be sensitive to the Spirit and be bold to talk about Jesus. Will you pray with us specifically that each person will have favor this month to build or deepen a relationship with at least one person who is far from God?

  • When I come back from paternity leave around mid-August we will begin 'Phase 2' of our Church development. This basically means that this Fall will be much more intentional in terms of casting vision, equipping leaders, and making strategic decisions as we head into being sent out by The Summit Church February 2019.

  • Some have chosen to do a 21 Day Fast to seek God's direction in these big decisions as we lay a foundation for our Church. If you would like to join us in this, please let me know.

Our Partnerships

  • We are in the final step of The Oaks becoming our own 501c3. Please pray this goes quickly so we can set up our financial process, giving us more flexibility to be generous with our resources here and around the world. If you are a monthly partner, we will be in contact with you this Fall about switching over your giving information! Thank you for your support!!

  • We are finalizing our 2019 Budget/Vision Document. As we head into the Fall, we will be working to increase our partnerships to ensure we enter 2019 fully equipped to do what God has called us to do.

Our Partnership Goals For This Fall:

  • 5 more partnering churches who will commit to pray strategically, give generously, and serve us on the ground faithfully

  • 20 more individual monthly donors of any amount

  • $25,000 in one-time gifts to help with our many start-up costs in 2019

Will you join us in praying for these goals specifically? Will you ask God how He may have you lock arms with us in this way? If you have any questions, please reach out at derick@theoakschurch.net.


May Update | 2018 Prayer Initiative

For practical update and prayer requests looking ahead to the summer, start at the 10 minute mark.


Lifestyle of Hospitality & Finding People of Peace

  • For people to come to know Jesus and be baptized
  • For each member of The Oaks to create margin & live intentionally to be present in the places of influence God has placed us.
  • For favor from the Spirit to open doors for each one of us with “People of Peace” -people in our city who are not yet enjoying Jesus, but who are open to relationship with us and conversations about Jesus
  • For wisdom to know how to ‘overlap’ our ‘life together’ as the Church & our ‘life on mission’ with people in our community

Pursuit of Holistic, Healthy Diversity

  • For ‘Denverites’ (believers and not) to join our Church to provide balance of cultural understanding & relational networks to our team of transplants
  • For people of color to be called to join our Leadership Team so we can holistically serve the ethnic diversity represented in our neighborhood
  • For wisdom & favor to love & empower the women in our church, both in leadership capacities & overall culture of The Oaks
  • For healthy, holistic wisdom & favor to learn how to enter in to the various socio-economic & generational diversity that exists in our neighborhood & that our church would grow reflecting this

Dependence on the Spirit

  • For moment by moment enjoying & trusting Jesus, follow the Spirit’s leading in everyday life, and a posture of intentional, focused, bold faith & prayer
  • For understanding & boldness to be a Church that is sensitive to and operating in the full gifts of the Spirit with the authority of God’s Word
  • For each of us to have a greater sense of clarity of our God-given purpose, including an understanding & identification of each of our gifts of the Spirit, clarity of each’s specific role to play in making disciples/leadership through The Oaks, and a depth of self-awareness/soul care of how we each have been formed uniquely by God

Continued Favor of Partnerships

  • For continued open doors in the cultural domains that exist in our neighborhoods with neighbors, organizations to love & serve, local government officials, and local businesses/events in SouthEast Denver to be a faithful presence embodying and pursuing the Kingdom of God here
  • For more churches & individuals to be called to partner together with us by investing money, prayer, and relational support to help us advance the mission we’re called to
  • For wisdom as we develop our 2019 budget/strategy in terms of how to leverage our money & time, which partnerships to develop, how much to save/give away, etc.
  • For clarity around our 2-5 year plan. Pray that as we experience gospel growth, that we would prioritize multiplication, not merely addition. If/when The Oaks grows through multiplication of home groups, what is the long-term outcome? Do we pursue a building to gather weekly? If so, where & when? Do we look to buy? If so, what could we use a facility for throughout the week that seeks the holistic flourishing of our city and not just a place for us to “do church”? When & where will we seek to multiply by planting more churches/send to the nations? 

March & April Update | Answered Prayers

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
- 1 John 5:14-15

2018 is a year I believe God is inviting me into deeper dependence. As I look back on the last couple months since our last update, our days have been filled with grace upon grace of subtle (and sometimes obvious) gifts of a heightened awareness of God's presence, coming face-to-face with how foolish any attempts at self-sufficiency are, and door after door of opportunity and favor being opened wide in ways only explainable as answers to the prayers of God's people. I am learning dependence- not just because I am studying it, but because I am living it. 

My first couple weeks in the city were frustrating. Filled with fear, struggling to know what to do in this 'in between' stage of our church, and the unsettledness of learning and living with new everything- new relationships, new surroundings, new culture, new jobs. I was driving up I-25 early one morning into downtown, grumbling to God about how he felt far away and I felt alone, overwhelmed to know what to do first or what to do next- and how futile everything seemed that I had done over the last several days.

Then I saw the Rocky Mountains.

I mean, I always see them (Denver ain't a hard place to live, ya'll). And they're always beautiful and awe-inspiring. But that morning I saw through them to the God who spoke them into existence by the power of His Word. Those mountains are majestic...how much more must their maker be? It was almost instant... clarity, conviction, confidence.

My God is big. Really big. With man, a lot of stuff is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
My God is glorious. All the longings of my restless heart are filled up with just one glimpse of His beauty.
My God is able. The God who simply spoke everything from nothing and holds it all together is the one who has spoken new life into my dead soul and is the one who sustains my feeble faith, promising to keep me until I see him face to face and he makes it all new.
My God is near. He's not just my sovereign king, but my kind-hearted Father who has come near. This gospel we're giving our lives to is first the gospel that gives me life.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who led us here to Denver, who made me and lit these convictions and dreams in me. He promises to lead me, to protect me, to provide for me. He's proven this by laying down His life for us, His sheep. Sheep are stupid, defenseless, and totally in need of someone outside of them to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. And just as Jesus walked in sync with the Father's heart, hearing and obeying His voice, he tells us that he knows us and we will know him- that we can hear his voice and follow him. 

That morning was a turning point in my heart. It was almost a tangible experience of what Paul prays for when he asks to have "the eyes of our heart enlightened." It's a gift to have the lights turned on to the liberating reality that our insufficiencies do not get in the way of God's sufficiency. It's the proud (self-focused, self-reliant) that God opposes. It's the humble (God-focused, self-forgetful) that gets His grace. It was in this humbling embrace that I was convicted of my prayerlessness. Sure, I pray. I'm talking about a life saturated in a posture of prayer because we've come to know the desperation Peter felt when he said, "where else will we go? You have the words of life."

Most of my anxiety and "feeling stuck" could be traced back to functionally picking up the cares I had cast on him, because deep down I really didn't think he cared for me like His Word tells me He does.

I'm learning what it means to cast cares at his feet and leave them there. To truly pray, fast, and seek his heart. To not just tell people you will pray for them, but to actually pray. I'm learning that there's a difference between praying expectantly and praying presumptuously- for far too long I've let fear of the latter keep me from doing the former. I'm learning that there is a level of intimacy and communion with God when you stop trying to make things happen and instead, you pray and trust and wait. I'm learning that feelings and faith aren't the prerequisite to a prayerful life; they're the result of one. The things God has stirred up in me while praying, the very specific requests He has been answering in very specific ways, the hope that is welling up from taking God at His Word and simply asking. I could tell you story after story of how we have been experiencing answered prayers. There are many prayers we're still waiting on God to act according to His good purposes and his perfect timing. In it all, we're learning to live dependent on Him for everything. This isn't an easy thing, but I'm eager for more.


Here are a few specific updates & requests for The Oaks...

Clarity of Neighborhoods

In our last update back at the end of February I asked you to pray God would give us clarity within 90 days of which neighborhoods we will focus in on to love & serve. THANK YOU for praying. By God's grace He has answered. God is calling The Oaks to begin in SouthEast Denver. 

We've identified roughly a 3 mile radius that we as The Oaks will take spiritual and social responsibility for. In that 3 mile circle there are several distinct neighborhoods- Glendale, Virginia Village, Washington Virginia Vale, Windsor, Indian Creek, Dayton Triangle, University Hills.


Why this southeast corridor?

  • Density | In this 3 mile radius there are approximately 235,000 people. 

  • Spiritual Apathy | Even the most liberal statistics estimate only 10% of Denver's population claim to follow Jesus. The more realistic prospectives push this number to more like 3-5%. That means that in this corridor of 235,000 people, over
    211,500 to 227,950 people are not yet enjoying Jesus.

  • Lack of Gospel Presence | There is only 1 SBC Church in this corridor of 235,000 (an established African American Church) and only ~ 10 more evangelical churches, most of which are plateaued or declining and several would not be considered gospel-centered or engaging in mission to their neighbors. 

  • Diversity | Denver is a city that is predominately white, fairly affluent (cost of living is significantly high), and is one of the top destination cities for millennials, so the city trends very young (and insanely 'hip'). This part of town is one of the exceptions. Within this 3 mile corridor you have a neighborhood like Glendale, which is largely high-rise apartments filled with mostly young singles. Just South of there is Virginia Village which is filled with somewhat older, more established families who have lived in Denver longer than the average (which is ~2-5 years). University Hills is highly educated and very affluent, but head just 1 mile NorthEast into Washington Virginia Vale, Windsor, and the Dayton Triangle into lower income, lesser educated, and very diverse communities. One school in this neighborhood has students speaking over 60 different languages from 40 different countries. The socioeconomic, generational, and ethnic diversity of this corridor creates many obstacles to church planting, but by faith we see those obstacles to be tremendous opportunities to be obedient to Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations & to see an expression of the Kingdom of God in the midst of a city struggling with significant division and segregation.
  • Please pray for us to have supernatural wisdom as we seek to learn the culture, the people's stories, their fears, and the idols that exist here. Pray we could have discernment to know what areas of brokenness to step into and to do the good work of learning the 'language' of this particular subset of Denver so we can speak the good news about Jesus in ways that makes sense to them. 

Development of Kingdom Relationships

Since identifying our focus area, our team has been praying, asking questions, and spending intentional time in these neighborhoods to learn the specific aspects of both the beauty and the brokenness of this area and discover how the gospel uniquely speaks to both. There's 3 things I'd love you to pray:

1 | Pray for our team as they begin to look for housing in this corridor. 2 families have secured homes here and the rest will be looking to relocate there within the year. Where we all find housing with narrow our focus even more, as this gives greater clarity on which neighborhoods to serve first & determines a centralized location where we will seek to gather when that time comes (likely Fall 2019 or early 2020).

2 | Pray for favor & open doors for partnerships with organizations, schools, local businesses, and other churches in this corridor. We are isolating our initial focus on organizations serving refugees/poverty & the Denver Public Schools. We have had several opened doors within the last 3 weeks. One that we're really excited about is a subset of the Denver Metro YMCA called the Diversity, Inclusion, Global Initiative which partners with refugee resettlement organizations, the school system in Denver & Aurora, and the local government to provide holistic help for refugee and immigrant families. The director of this program has been gracious to us and helped us network with several people and opened the doors wide for us to serve with them. After some initial meetings, I accepted their offer to sit on their board. The Oaks will help with our first event with refugee families next weekend (4/21). Please pray God will continue to show favor to us and that we will be humble, bold, selfless servants to our community.

3 | Pray for needed relationships. We're asking God for continued favor with people in this corridor. We're asking God to show us "people of peace" who are open to hearing the gospel and sharing life with our church as we seek to be hospitable and who can help us enter into relational networks in our city. We're asking God for diversity for our team, particularly in the area of leadership within our church so we can love and serve our diverse culture in healthy, reproducible ways. We're asking God for "Denverites" to join our team. God has been so kind in the way He has raised up men & women to relocate to Denver to help see the vision of The Oaks become a reality (and we're praying for more to do just that), but we also see the tremendous need for believers who know Denver and its unique culture to join our team to ensure we do not try to plant "a southern church" here. We have blindspots we're not aware of, and we need people with different cultural backgrounds to help us. 

Pray for Gospel Partnerships

Our 2019 budget is ~175,000 in ministry expenses + a goal of $50,000 in our account for startup expenses + savings for after Years 3-5 when our church partnerships begin to dwindle to account for potential gaps in self-sustainability. 

We are currently at ~$107,000/year and $22,000 in our start-up account. We are asking God for 10 more supporting churches and 20 more supporting individuals/families investing in what God is doing through The Oaks. Will you pray with us toward this end? Will you join our team of financial partners to help fund this mission going forward in Denver? Can you help us network with churches/partners who may be interested in what we're doing? We cannot do this alone.

Thank you for walking this journey with us! 

-Derick & The Oaks' members


February Update | Boldness in Fear

love this city.jpg

…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

-Ephesians 6:18-20

I am filled with fear. 

That’s a statement that is typically not true of me. Self-sufficiency, disappointment, insecurity— these are all emotions I feel regularly, but not fear... except that fear has been the predominant mood I’ve experienced these last three weeks living in Denver. 

Many of you have asked how we are adjusting to our new life in our new city and our answer has been “really, really naturally.” In many ways Denver is not a hard city to live in- it is absolutely gorgeous, the people are kind and really open to conversation (for the most part), the vibe & culture of this place is really laid back, and we have fantastic relational networks here already (part of our team who have already relocated, the Summit Church, other planters in our network, and even some old college friends who now live here). This fear isn’t stemming from “culture shock” or even trying to acclimate to a cross-country move. My fear is far more convicting than that.

The pastors at The Summit Church are preaching through the book of Romans throughout 2018, and this past Sunday was the theme verse of the book- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” As I came across this text last week I wept as the Spirit exposed the root of my fear— a subtle (but real) shame to be associated with the name of Jesus. 

I am fearful in every conversation with neighbors when the first question I am asked after they find out I just moved here is, “Oh, so, what brought you out here?” I should be the bold church planter and walk confidently and expectantly into this gospel opportunity as I let them know God called us here to plant churches to help people like them know, enjoy, and follow Jesus. Instead, I’d rather punt the fact that I'm a pastor down the field for a later conversation. Some of this may be coming out of a healthy, loving concern to help remove some big stumbling blocks to getting to know Jesus caused by the negative stereo-types (many of which are true) of what urban Denverites feel and assume toward Christians in general and churches in particular. But it also reveals my disbelief in the goodness and power of God in the gospel- that the gospel doesn't just have power, but that it literally IS power to save.

Jesus doesn’t need me to be cool, winsome, or relational. The gospel works. I believe that so deeply, yet functionally I live as if the gospel needs to be propped up by something I bring to the table. The beauty of the gospel is often drowned out by my fear of man and I can almost become apologetic of the truth. I functionally don’t trust that the Spirit of God is at work or that He is inviting me to join what He is doing— even if that means bearing reproach and enduring loss. The way of our Savior is the way of suffering, after all. “Don’t be surprised,” Jesus tells us, “when the world hates you. They hated me without cause.” 

I know, I'm a hot mess. 

This inward struggle has taken me off guard, but God has been so faithful to show Himself in the middle of it. In some weird way, I’m becoming thankful for the fear (but deeply repentant of the sin it causes). I’m really not even asking God to take it away right now, but instead to teach me what it means to move forward in spite of it. I’m learning to be grateful for things that expose my weaknesses and inabilities because those pry my grip off the illusions of control & self-sufficiency and become a call of invitation to fall into the arms of a loving, strong Father. My heart grows courage as he pours his love over me no matter how dark my heart can get. In fact, He maybe gets more glory as He fills up the caverns of my weakness with His strength. His grace really is greater than our sin.

In my pride I so want to get to a place in my walk with God to no longer
have to be dependent on him for everything,
but being dependent on Jesus is what Christianity is.

As you pray for us, please pray that we would continue to live, not for the approval of others, but for the pleasure of God. Pray there would be no fear or shame as we see the surpassing weight and beauty of this good news! Pray we would gladly endure reproach and if need be, suffering, for the name of Jesus. Pray we would love our neighbors well be humbly and boldly talking about the good news about Jesus. Pray the Spirit would go before us, preparing the soil of hearts of the people of Denver to be able to see Jesus is better. Pray for wisdom and favor as we seek to embody the values of the kingdom of God as we live life on display serving our neighborhoods. Pray our joy in Jesus would spill over into the joy of real people in Denver.


Here’s some things we’re thanking God for as we look back over the last month

I’m thankful for the Church.

We don’t want to move across the country again any time soon, but God was so kind through the entire process! It was bittersweet to say goodbye & be sent out by our friends at Sojourn Community Church. We are so thankful for what God did in us during our time with them and we’re thankful for their partnership in the coming days!

Commissioning from Sojourn Church

Commissioning from Sojourn Church

We spent a week back in East Tennessee spending time with family and friends before we made the thousand mile trek to the Rockies. We cannot put into words how much we feel loved by our faith family and sending Church at Tri-Cities. We have been loved on, prayed for, and just covered in generosity by our brothers and sisters there. Some of our best friends, Wes & Jennifer Tucker, even made the 2 day drive with me. It worked out that Pastor Gene and his wife, Gayle, were in the city the same weekend we arrived, and they cared for us by taking our entire team out to lunch. Their help was so crucial, but I can’t put into words how much just having them with me for my first weekend in the city meant. They (and many others) have loved us in ways we didn’t even know how to ask for or knew we needed. Churches really do plant churches and I am so glad we’re not alone in this. Tri-Cities has modeled what it means to be a sending church and I pray The Oaks can care for those we send out the way they have cared for us.

Our dear friends, Wes & Jennifer Tucker

Our dear friends, Wes & Jennifer Tucker

I’m thankful for kingdom partnerships. 

As most of you know, we are planting with The Send Network. This entire process has been such a gift for Cayla and me. I am serving through 2018 as a Church Planting Apprentice. One of the generous ways NAMB is blessing us is they are allowing us to live in one of the homes they own in the city for an insanely discounted monthly lease. As part of the apprenticeship I am working part-time on staff with The Summit Church (summitdenver.org) as a Church Planting Resident. It has been so refreshing to work closely, serve, and learn from these like-minded brothers and sisters to learn what faithful gospel-shaped mission looks like in Denver. We’ve been met with such hospitality and care from other fellow planters all across the city. And just this week I’ve been part of two fantastic equipping and networking events for pastors. I’ve been blown away by the collaboration and lack of competition of churches in urban Denver! It makes me so hopeful of what God will continue to do through the larger Church displaying the unity of the Body of Christ!

Our Duplex (we're on the left!)

Our Duplex (we're on the left!)

I’m thankful for community.

We have 3 families who are now with us in Denver already (with a few more joining us over the summer). It was a bit surreal to have everyone in our home for the first time last weekend. Our faith is strengthened as we keep hearing the stories of how God has called each of them to Denver to be members of The Oaks. I’m eager to see the story He is writing with our lives together.

Our first shared meal of The Oaks members (of those who have already relocated to CO)

Our first shared meal of The Oaks members (of those who have already relocated to CO)

Please pray for these
4 Main Goals for The Oaks
in 2018

1 || Pray we would lead and love out of an overflow of walking with God

There’s a lot going on in all of our lives as we get settled in, learn our city, work jobs, and do all the logistics of finding our new rhythms. Pray our team would carve out intentional space to be with God, our joy would be full, and we would live everyday life with a posture of intimacy and awareness of God's presence. Pray we would not reach the city of Denver and lose our souls or neglect the joy and flourishing of our own families. 

2 || Pray we would love one another as family

Our team is just now getting to know one another. All of us have been called from different contexts, so a top priority together is just to build a depth of relationships with each another. Pray we would not try to manufacture this, but instead live out of our identity as the family of God united around our position in Jesus. Pray for unity and a devotion to lean into “the one anothers” that God has called us to. Pray for wisdom and clarity around each person’s unique gifts and personalities they bring and how they fit into the mission & vision of The Oaks.

3 || Pray for wisdom to live in the tension of rest & fruitfulness

We are in an unique season. 2018 is a gift for the pressure to be removed to have to “build something.” The tension comes in that we're all having to “unlearn” what it means to be faithful right now. We all come from established churches (thanks be to God for established churches), but the reality is the “baby-stage” of our church planting journey means that a lot of the roles and practices we're all used to when we think of being the church just isn’t formed yet. Pray we would learn from the Word what it means to truly live as a community shaped by the gospel and sent on mission, even before a lot of the "structures" are ever in place. Pray we would rest well and enjoy this season of extended opportunity to listen and learn without many other demands. Pray for wisdom as we do begin to have conversations and build systems and structures of what it means to be The Oaks Church.

Throughout this year our team will be gathering in our home each Thursday night to pray, immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, and talk vision! Pray this time will be fruitful and rich! We are currently doing a study on how we grow to be like Jesus by faith in Jesus. Pray we would learn to know the gospel, love the gospel, and seek to apply the gospel to our own hearts and speak it to one another as we make disciples!

4 || Pray for a burden & direction for the context of our mission

Our entire team lives within 10 minutes of our house in South Denver, but our current neighborhood isn’t where we will be long-term. Our goal is to prayerfully explore a diversity of neighborhoods throughout urban Denver before we officially identify the spot where we will plant our lives over the long haul. Our goal we are praying and working toward is to have clarity in 90 days of which neighborhoods God is calling us to plant The Oaks. Will you pray for this massive decision? In the meantime, pray we will love our current neighbors well. Pray for time mangagement and sacrifice for all of us to be hospitable and to spend intentional time in our target areas learning and asking good questions! Pray for me as I seek to spend time intentionally with people far from God. My personal goal is to have conversations with 100 people in the next 100 days.

Partners & Friends,
thank you for locking arms with us, staying informed, and lifting us up in prayer! We love you!


If you would like to invest in The Oaks by partnering financially you may set up monthly gifts or give a one-time gift! We can't do this without the generosity of God's people!



Meet Our Team | The Hutchisons

In 2015 Cayla and I began to name a deep stirring and restlessness down deep in our souls. After many prayers, tears, conversations, doubts, and affirmations- here we are three years later just a few days away from moving across the country to call Denver 'home,' believing that God is able to do more than we could ever ask for or imagine. 

A prayer I have been praying- even before we knew a city or had any 'vision or strategy' language down on paper or had even fully surrendered to 'go'- was for God to be faithful to raise up people to join us; specifically for deep relationships to form and for leaders who share a burden to help people know, enjoy, and follow Jesus. Cay and I are always floored when people approach us telling us they are praying about relocating their lives to be first members of The Oaks and 'live sent' to the neighborhoods of Denver and the nations of the world with us. 

Throughout 2018 I want to introduce you to our team as they move in to the city.
Our first family to relocate to Denver is The Hutchisons. 
I'm excited to share their story with you!

Meet The Hutchisons


My name is Ben Hutchison, and with my wife Kate and two kids, Eli and Emma, we have been on the pursuit of abundant life and rich fellowship with the Lord. In our pursuit for the abundant, Spirit-filled life, we’ve been brought into alignment with the vision and mission of the Oaks Community Church. We are by grace, in faith, learning to leverage our lives, every decision and opportunity, for the sake of Kingdom love and growth. 

You should know, I am a man who views the world through a lens of reason. I find safety in intellect, and I typically don’t make a move without a well thought through plan. So you can imagine what a humbling, fumbling path of submission this journey to embrace the abundant life of fellowship with the Lord has been for me. You can also imagine my wife’s surprise way back in 2015 when I brought our youth group home from summer camp with a hesitant yet confident proclamation that God was telling me to have faith. To have faith in what? I didn’t know. To do what? I didn’t know.

By faith I was brought into the family of God as a kid, but through sanctification I was being moved away from a predictable and manageable faith into a functional position of surrender. I was being invited to let go of my control over this life.

So my wife and I prayed for the reckless faith that it would take for us to step wherever the Lord led, to follow Him in hope and confidence. This call to faithfulness fell on the uninhibited and adventurous ears of my wife – yes, it’s true, opposites attract. And so we began eagerly praying. This was followed by months of pruning, searching through doubts, engaging in difficult discernment, and waiting in anticipation. 

I was serving as a youth minister in Mississippi at the time, and the Lord had begun igniting a desire deep within my heart. My wife and I would almost whisper when we seldom brought up this seemingly unrealistic, definitely unreasonable, desire to serve internationals in the West and to be a part of the multiplication of churches through the urban church planting model. If I talked too loudly, the voice of reason would rise up and bring reality crashing down on us. What about my dream to teach? How will we afford living in the city? How could we raise our children so far from their grandparents? 

In January of 2018 as I sit here in Colorado, a church planting team member and affiliate professor at Colorado Christian University, I see how reasonable the Lord’s path has been for my preparation and equipping to bring glory to his name. But in the Fall of 2015, accepting the invitation of the Lord to hold fast in faith to the vision he rooted in our souls felt absurd on the good days and down right irresponsible on the bad days. 

In faith, I followed the Lord as he led my family away from a secure, fruitful ministry in the spring of 2016. We re-rooted in New Orleans, a city we thought we’d never live in again. We both started seminary at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2010 as newlyweds. In 2013 we moved away for a full time ministry opportunity and a chance to grow our family closer to our parents. We love New Orleans, its rich culture, diversity, and hospitality, but the city signified a place of financial struggle, uncertainty, and grueling scholarship. In His goodness, through these difficulties we were reintroduced to, God provided. Most importantly, he provided a partnership with an established church plant in the city where I was mentored and introduced to the realities of urban church planting. 

During this time I pursued ministry opportunities in California. How much further West could we go? I pushed on doors, many doors, and the Lord kept them closed. In May 2017, my wife and I decided to plan a trip to California in October, praying that God would direct our steps as we planned the details. Show us the churches and seminaries to visit, the people to meet, the city to go to. Within the week of us committing this “unreasonable” plan to the Lord, I was talking to a former youth student of ours who attends Tri-Cities Baptist Church in Tennessee. Listening to the story of God’s leading in our lives, James felt compelled to share about one of his pastors who was leaving Tennessee to plant a church in the West. In God’s providence, I was connected with Derick Sherfey, the pastor of the Oaks Community Church. A few conversations with him, a few stubborn, failed attempts at more “reasonable” ministry opportunities, and I became confident and humbled in the Lord’s leadership as it became apparent The Oaks Community Church would be the fulfillment of the vision we felt rising up in our souls back in 2015.

In my pursuit for abundant life and rich fellowship with the Lord, God has redefined my idea of what qualifies as reasonable. He has baptized me in his truth and sanctified me in his wisdom. In 2015, my son Eli was 2 and he began asking us to sing “Trust and Obey” at bedtime. We’ve sung it every single night since, and every single night I sing with the conviction that these children don’t need to be protected by my sense of reason. They need to be guided into Kingdom minded living, forsaking this world for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as their Lord. I am reminded night after night of the simple assurance of trusting in God’s goodness and obeying his guidance. I fight against the rationality of this world every day and ask your prayers for strength of mind and focused intentionality as we seek to love our neighbors here in Denver, learn their needs, and humbly offer the love of Christ through our words and deeds. 

-The Hutchisons


January Update | Dependence

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.”

-Psalm 103:13-19

 When you read God’s Word as given to us in the Scriptures, how do you imagine God’s tone? Do you envision him as harsh, impatient, and disappointed by you? Or kind, full of grace, and delighting in you?

One of our pastors at Sojourn Church asks this question frequently and I think it is an important one. The reality is God has revealed himself repeatedly as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” Tozer famously said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” So much of my growth in faith, hope, and love these past few months has come from seeking to “unlearn” so many subtle, yet dangerously wrong caricatures of God that have been twisting and clouding my view of and intimacy with God as Father. And when our view of God becomes distorted, the lens through which we see everything else will be off, as well.  

We have learned SO much during our time in Louisville, but by far the biggest lesson I have learned (and I pray will never stop learning) is “Jesus loves me; this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong; they are weak, but he is strong.” 

Beau is just now beginning to learn this song
and his mommy and daddy are just now learning to believe it. 

God’s love for us does not ebb and flow. Sally Lloyd Jones describes the Father’s steadfast love to be a “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever” kind of love. He is for us. He is proud of us and he delights to be with us. There is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, not because we aren’t worthy of being condemned, but because Jesus himself took our guilt, our shame, and our death and freely and fully gives us his righteousness, his favor, and his life as if it were ours. He chose us and he won’t change his mind. To say God’s commands are more like invitations to intimacy from Abba instead of orders barked from a slaveowner doesn’t mean God doesn’t take sin seriously or that sin doesn’t have serious consequences or that he doesn’t warn us or discipline us. It’s just that we must learn to see all these things (and all our doubts and inconsistencies) as they are and not how we may have wrongly learned them. This makes all the difference when it comes to our pursuit of joy, obedience, faithfulness, and empowerment for this mission He is letting us take part in.


Like many of you I have tried to carve out intentional time over these last few weeks to look back over 2017 & look ahead into 2018. While we may have grown more than any other season before, this past year was a really difficult one for us personally. And if I am entirely honest, while I am filled with eager anticipation for all 2018 holds, we have a great deal of anxiety and fear of the uncertainty and “bigger-than-us-ness” of all this.

For those of you who know me know that each year, instead of resolutions, I try to listen to what I sense God calling me into for the new year and identify a “theme” for the year. 2017’s was TRUST. Looking back it is startling how faithful God has been to deepen our trust in Him. I believe 2018 God is calling us into greater DEPENDENCE

My prayer for 2018 is that we will continue to deepen in trusting God’s heart for us- that his commands are invitations to intimacy and his ways are better than mine could ever be. “If you love me, you will obey my commands,” Jesus tells us. I want my affections for my Savior to be so real that nothing he asks of me is too much and no area of my soul is off limits. I think this next season, though, is going to be one of relinquishing control and truly experiencing the Spirit’s power to be strong through our weaknesses and witness God do the impossible in our limitations as we seek to fully surrender ourselves to his control, his leading, and his agenda. 

I so often see myself watching my strong-willed, stubborn, and naive 2 year old think he can do so much on his own already. And I also see myself when he becomes frustrated- and sometimes terrified or hurt- when his way doesn’t work or causes him harm.

I’m all for my way until it is exposed to be the toddler-folly that it is.

I pray I can begin to see myself more in more the way Beau runs up to me, his daddy, asking me to fix it or hold him or whatever it is...just trust and dependence after a broken will and a renewed confidence in daddy’s abilities and an embracing the safe place in daddy’s arms.

Dependence is a call to do all The Father has demanded from us, but to do it the way he always intended- to stand up and move forward being held up in his arms, with his wisdom and his power working through us and in spite of us. Let it be so!

Here’s a few specific updates & prayer requests. Thank you for locking arms with us!
We love you!

  • Cayla & I received word mid-December that we have officially received the “green light” in our assessment process with The Send Network. As most of you know this has been an intense, but deeply transformative process that started for us early in 2016. While this doesn’t make us “more called or more qualified,” it has been very affirming for us and we are grateful for partnerships that work alongside our sending church to ensure we not only plant a church, but plant healthy churches that last. Hitting this mile stone means we are now able to take our next step, which means we will relocate to Denver on February 1st!  We will ship our belongings on January 22nd and we will spend the last several days of January back in East Tennessee before we head West! Denver has been just an idea for so long, so it’s a bit surreal and really exciting to actually be packing boxes (again!!), but this time to actually move to this place!
  • The remainder of 2018 will be the next phase of our preparation before we actually “launch” our life together as The Oaks Community Church. Starting in February I will begin serving as a Church Planting Apprentice in partnership with The Send Network and a local church in downtown Denver called The Summit Church (summitdenver.org). The purpose of these relationships is to continue to deepen in our development of what it means to plant healthy churches who are faithfully on mission in a unique cultural urban context like Denver, as well as cultivate kingdom partnerships to truly learn and seek the good of our city. What we’re called to is so much bigger than The Oaks and we long to collaborate in strategic ways with like-minded brothers and sisters who have been in the trenches serving faithfully. God is already at work in this city and we are just seeking to discern where and how and jump into what He’s already up to! Practically this means my family (and our team as they begin to arrive to the city) will be part of the community at The Summit and I will personally be invested in by the leadership there and we will seek to love and serve them for 1 year. Throughout 2018 we will focus on getting to know our city and will seek to deepen relationships, pray like crazy, cast vision, and equip one another on what it means to be on mission to make disciples through The Oaks church in our unique neighborhoods. In February 2019, The Oaks Church will officially “launch” and we will begin multiplying our groups, gathering together, and serving locally and globally in much more intentional and strategic ways. At least that's the plan right now, but we're learning to write our plans in pencil and to keep a really big eraser handy. 
  • God has absolutely humbled Cay & I as we have watched him write a story that we could’ve never even known to have dreamt up in the way He has built a team around us. Currently we have ~15 adults (and about that many kiddos) who have committed to join us and are at varying stages of finding jobs and planning logistics. One family arrived in the city on December 26th and another will make the trek this month. The rest will likely arrive at various times, but most should be in Denver by the start of the Fall. Please continue to pray for God to work out all the specifics as these people look for work and housing and make the expensive and complex process of relocating 2,000 miles away. Also, keep praying for God to raise up more workers to be sent & for the people in Denver who have yet to find their joy in Jesus who will join our church! I can’t wait for you to meet these awesome people in “guest posts” this year!
  • I am excited to let you all know I have accepted a part-time job with The Upstream Collective (theupstreamcollective.org)! This is a huge answer to many prayers- not only for needed income, but also as an opportunity to pursue what I know God has called, burdened, and gifted me to do. Upstream is a nonprofit committed to helping every church be a ‘sending church’ and every Christian to live out their identity as ‘sent ones.’ I am joining their team primarily to help develop and implement a content strategy to help produce and market an intentional online/social media presence, blog & podcast content, and the development of other resources like e-books/books, tools, and papers to help equip the church on mission. May the nations be glad and sing for joy!
  • An update on where we are financially: We are at ~$72,000 of our $100,000 annual goal from monthly support. God has also provided ~$15,000 in one-time gifts that have been helping with our vision trips & our team’s moving expenses and will help with start-up costs during our first years in the city. We also have $12,000/annually for our MULTIPLY Fund that is devoted exclusively to our global sending strategy. In 2019 we are anticipating our budget to increase to $250,000/year. 

We invite you to invest in what God is doing and will do through The Oaks Church. Will you pray about how God would have you contribute financially? We are trusting God to continue to show himself strong for our remaining needs- and even the needs we don’t know to ask him for yet! 

Thank you for partnering with us for gospel advancement for the glory of God, the good of Denver, and the joy of all nations!


oaks art white_Square.jpg