Today I have a guest speaker on my blog ... not really a guest .... It's my best friend, partner, and husband -- Stephen. Everyone be sure to leave him a comment and say hello!
So . . . I have a friend named Chris. He and I have spent much of the last 9 years working on various teams and projects together. We spent a lot of time discussing our views on God and church structure. We have not necessarily been 'best friends' but we have always trusted each other, and worked well together. We also enjoy each others company, and our wives and children are also friends. My friend Chris is known for hearing very clearly from God, and will move out in faith based on that.
Several months ago, we were working on an event for our church (Journey Church), and Kelly had to meet Chris to pick something up. We had not seen him recently given our two families were attending different campuses for the last year or so. He was at a church planting seminar series called The Cypress Project. Our church is very active with the Cypress Project and in the church planting movement. All that being said, my wife and I felt led to help him when the time came.
Since he had recently purchased a new house and is a successful local business owner, we assumed he would plant near his new home. When our church helps to plant a church, we always announce an interest meeting, but our friend was planning an out of state move and did not want anyone to 'follow him' only God. When Kelly and I heard he and his family were moving, we wrote off assisting them, as we had also built a home, and I very much enjoy my job, along with the fact that both of our families are local.
When we told our children, they were heart broken, as they had spent many hours with the Mattingly children. Well, about the time we made our decision not to 'follow' them on their mission, he was woken by a dream about our two families being together in this church plant. He did not approach me about this, instead he started praying that if it was God, that God would speak to us. Kelly and I never stopped pondering our initial thought, but we did not know where he was planning to move, or when, or what kind of help he would need.
About 10 weeks ago, Chris and his family came to our normal campus one last time. I had a few minutes to speak with him about where he was going, and what his plans were. We waxed theoretical about the book of Acts and home churches vs the institutional church. I also received some information about where he was going, the fact that he had not built a core team, and that he was praying for God to move in the hearts of some people. This came as no surprise to me, as Chris is known for hearing from God and then stepping out in faith.
This is where things get interesting. All this occurred before service. During service I received a notice of a job opening in the same town he was planning to plant. I spoke with Kelly, she told me to speak with Chris. I did. This started a month long journey of prayer and planning and seeking council from trusted friends. During this time, we felt an even stronger pull to come along side the Mattingly's in this church plant en-devour.
What does this mean for our family?
Well, we are going to move 700 miles, to the mid-west, meet new people, plant a church, and become a bi-vocational ministry family.