The Gospel message is a story of brokenness, sacrifice, and restoration.
Thanks to Jesus, it is our story, and thanks to Jesus, it is becoming the story of our broken neighborhood.
Our story began the day after I made a pact with my Dad that I wouldn't date my first year of college. The next day I met Hannah and that night declared to the guys in my dorm that I’d met the girl I was going to marry.
At that time I had been living a double life that involved partying hard on Friday and Saturday, and then cleaning up for church on Sunday, but then I met Hannah. She was pretty much glowing like Moses after he came off the mountain (but beardless), and had this life and light coming out of her that wasn’t religious or duplicitous. I wanted what she had, and shortly into our freshman year I surrendered my life to Jesus, and committed myself to living on mission and following Him wherever He led me.
We got married a couple of years later, and before we knew it, Rebekah was being born, Hannah was graduating, and we were moving to Kansas to take a job as the Director of Youth Ministries at Westbrooke Church. We had three more children (Caleb, Titus, and Lydia) while I did the youth pastor thing for 8 years at Westbrooke. It was a beautiful season and we learned a lot about making disciples and growing deep with the saved. Unfortunately, we ended up with a ministry a mile deep but an inch wide as we dined like kings at the feet of Jesus, while largely ignoring the physically / spiritually starving people outside the church doors.
I stepped down from that position to figure out the other half of the Great Commission found in Mark 16:15- preaching the Gospel to the lost and the needy. After 2 painfully unfruitful years of trying to figure out evangelism on our own, we moved to Texas to partner with an inner-city church-planting organization called Mission Arlington. We were thrown into the ministry headfirst and learned a lot about evangelism while planting a church in the armpit of Arlington among the “least of these”. Unfortunately, we ended up with a ministry a mile wide but an inch deep as we were so busy making spiritual babies that we had no time to raise them.
After four years in Texas, we felt called to move back to KC to marry these two sides of the Great Commission coin: evangelism and discipleship. Our longing was and still is to see Jesus transform our needy neighborhood from a physical / spiritual desert into a physical / spiritual oasis.
Over the years we’ve had the privilege of watching God cause our desert to bloom in countless, beautiful ways. The first two years were primarily spent rehabbing our once rotten ministry building that now stands as a giant billboard portraying God's redemptive power. The last few years have been showing and telling our community about Jesus and His transformational love.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations
of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
~ Isaiah 58:11:12 ~