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planting

4 Lessons From Church Planting

4 Lessons From Church Planting

Folks let me be honest. Church planting is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life! The ups are way up and the downs are way down. But God has taught me some real important lessons. So in this post, I want to share how this journey has really impacted me. How it has impacted me personally; grown me, and is still growing who I am.

Church planting has caused me to realize that no matter how hard I work, I am still ultimately, not in control. 

10 Reasons You Should Show Up

10 Reasons You Should Show Up

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Check the update at the end of the post below! Wow! Who would have thought that what began as a late night conversation between my wife and I (which my wife totally shrugged off at the time) would be coming to fruition in just 5 days! I don't know if you've heard but this coming Sunday, October 12, we are having our first monthly preview service with a series called Built for More. You maybe wondering what a preview service is.

Its a full worship celebration, almost identical to those we will have when we officially launch in March, just 6 months from now. The only difference? These services will be once a month on the second Sunday. The preview services dates and time can be found here.

So we, Team Freedom, want to give you 10 reasons why you should attend a preview service?

  1. It's probably 5 minutes from your house...everything is around the corner in Niles.
  2. You like free coffee. We won't judge you if you come back for seconds, or thirds...well maybe...kidding.
  3. You work a lot! Come enjoy some down time.
  4. You've been meaning to find a new church anyway.
  5. Are you new in town? So are we. You'll fit in great!
  6. We love kids and our Freedom Kid's team is willing to take good care of yours while you have fun with the big kids.
  7. Our service is short and straight forward.
  8. You don't have to be perfect and have your life altogether to be accepted.
  9. You know you are built for more. So we are kicking off an awesome teaching series to lead you to living out your full potential!
  10. We love Jesus, we love people and we love seeing people find freedom in Jesus.

There you have it! 10 reasons why you should join us for our preview services starting October 12 at 10 a.m. inside Eastside Connections School!

Here's the address: 315 N 14th Street, Niles, MI 49120.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Update:

We had an awesome time! Here are some pics >> First Preview Service

A New Thing

A New Thing

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What if you could walk in for the first time and yet feel at home? What if it didn't matter where you were from or what you've been through? What if you could connect authentically across racial, ethnic, and economic boundaries? What if you discovered that what connects us is much stronger and richer than what divides us?

What if you could learn about Jesus and learn how to develop a deep and authentic faith that impacted everyone around you?

Maybe it's time for this new thing. This is Freedom.

Freedom Community Church is being established to lead people to freedom in Jesus so they can passionately follow Him, love across boundaries and leave a lasting legacy in their community, region and the world.

You're invited for live music and refreshments while meeting the team behind Freedom and learning more about the vision to raise a new Banner in the City of Four Flags.

Meet us this Saturday at 5pm at the Four Flags Chamber of Commerce!

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Got Facebook? Here's a link to the pictures from the event: Click here

Really...Another Church?

Really...Another Church?

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I've come to enjoy getting the question "So, what do you do?" I can never tell the reaction I'm going get when I answer, "Well, I'm actually in the process of establishing a new church with a few friends." Some people, even "churchy" people don't get why in the world I would venture out on this endeavor.

Truthfully, even I've wondered why we're starting a new church. Then I remember that I'm not starting anything new. God is at work and has always been. We’ve only been invited to join Him as He builds His Church.

From the beginning of Christianity, God has used the establishment of new churches across the world as the primary vehicle of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They come together to celebrate Jesus' life and mission. They come together to learn how to live out this mission, and are mobilized to teach others to do the same.

Unfortunately, some churches have fallen into one of two extremes. They've either become self-serving and stagnant or they've compromised biblical principles for the sake of progress.

However, there are some churches who have stayed true to the central message of the Gospel found in the Bible. They've also progressed with the world around them. These churches are not stagnant but are alive with individuals who live and serve with passion and purpose as they follow Jesus.

When God laid it on our hearts to establish Freedom Community Church in Niles, Michigan, He called us to establish that type of church.

We were compelled by His words in Isaiah 43:19 :

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

I've had the privilege of speaking with leaders in the community and it's been amazing to hear what's happening in Niles! God is truly doing a new thing in our community. Freedom has been called to join Him.

Specifically, we've been called to help people find freedom in following Jesus.

Along with that, we've been called to help foster intentional community across boundaries. We believe we are greater together than we are divided. We've also been called to inspire and equip people to pursue excellence at home, in the marketplace and in our community. We believe that as we learn more about Jesus, we will begin to reflect His nature; how He loved and served those around Him.

Maybe God is doing something new in you. Maybe after reading this you feel compelled to be a part of this "new thing" God is doing. Here are three ways you can do so:

  1. You can pray for the establishment of Freedom Community Church
  2. You can help Freedom meet its financial needs by giving generously to the work being established
  3. You can join our launch team whose goal is to successfully launch Freedom Community Church

We would love to have you be a part of this “new thing” that God is doing.

Let us know how God is calling you to join him at work in Niles with Freedom Community Church by sending us a message here.

So, are we starting a new church? Yes and no. Yes, we are joining God's global movement to establish authentic communities who embrace, teach and live out the mission of Jesus. No, there's nothing new about that!

Our Journey to Freedom

Our Journey to Freedom

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What happens when you are invited into an opportunity you weren’t looking for? Yet, this is one of the greatest opportunities you could ever imagine! What’s more, is that the opportunity is something so big, that it makes your knees weak. Yet, you know you don’t have to walk it out alone.

That's precisely how my wife and I felt when we believed that God was calling us to start a new church. After much prayer and reflection (and trying to talk God out of it), we knew that this was where God was leading.

However, we were not to go at this alone.

Two names immediately came to mind who needed to hear this news. It was a bit awkward because I knew that I was supposed to ask them to join us.

The first individual told me that God had been revealing the same thing to him. The second individual took some time to think about it, then came back and said that he felt that this was something he wanted to explore with us.

Just like that, we had our first two core members of the team that was going to start this new church.

But where?

We thought God would lead us to a big city with millions of people to reach with the gospel! We were wrong! We were not moving to the big city but to a small town.

God convicted us that the city He was calling us to was in our back yard, about 25 miles from where I grew up. Niles, Michigan, was the city we were to plant this new church.

Niles was a familiar place because it was a community I worked in for 6 years at the beginning of my career. A city in which my wife and I were looking to purchase a home and raise our family. God was bringing us back full circle.

We had friends joining us. We knew where we were going. Now, we needed the vision.

That too came. God was calling us to plant a church which would be known for its love for Jesus; love across boundaries; where individuals understood the importance of legacy; and a church that would multiply in our region and beyond.

Our mission would be to help people find freedom in following Jesus!

Freedom to live a life consumed by the love of Jesus. Freedom to dwell in intentional community with each other regardless of race, culture or economic status. Freedom to impact our local community for the sake of the next generation. Freedom to invite others to do the same.

We accepted the invitation. Will you?

What if you’re also invited? What if God is giving you an opportunity to be a part of His work in the community of Niles, Michigan through Freedom Community Church.

  • He may be inviting you to devote some extra time in prayer for the establishment of Freedom.
  • He may be inviting you join our core team that will meet and plan to launch Freedom.
  • He may be inviting you to help make the vision of Freedom a reality through your financial support.
  • He may be inviting you into an opportunity to partner in all three ways!

We know it can be uneasy to step out on faith. We’re living it! However, the freeing reality is this: its not about us! God is doing the work. We are invited into the awesome opportunity to join him.

This is Freedom.

Send us a message HERE to let us know how God is inviting you to partner with us.

Freedom to Dream

Freedom to Dream

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We just had our 2nd core team meeting last night! It was a great evening. Unfortunately we had a couple of people missing due to illness and another couple in the process of moving homes but it was still a great time.

Freedom to Dream

The best part for me was listening to the kids playing in our basement. I look forward to the sights and sounds of children running through "Freedom Kids", the name of our children's ministry once we launch. Foundational to our church will be our emphasis to raise up children who love and follow Jesus.

Because of this, my wife Christine is already looking through children's curriculum and preparing the structure for Freedom Kids. I guess that's the teacher inside of her. She is excited to pour the experience she gained as an elementary school teacher into the children's ministry.

Freedom to Lead

Last night our prayers continued to center around prayers for the growth of our core team, prayers for the individuals who will make up the church and prayers for the City of Niles; its people, its community leaders and the organizations that serve the well-being of the city.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 teaches us to pray for those "who are in high positions." So we are committing to praying for our community leaders as they play a role in supporting the liberties of the faith community. We encourage you to do the same.

Freedom to Gather

Finally, we excited about the potential to launch a couple of connecting groups and planning our monthly events where you can learn more about Freedom and get to know the team. Stay connected to find out when our first gathering will be. Subscribe to our updates to receive periodic (non-spammy) updates on what we have going on.

Prayer Requests:

  1. I will be speaking at North Park University in Chicago this Saturday at their Center for Youth Ministry Studies. Please pray that all goes well and my workshop equips leaders.
  2. Pray for our upcoming board meeting next week Friday, April 11th. This advisory board is responsible for legal and financial oversight of Freedom.
  3. Pray for the continued development that is going on behind the scenes for the launch of Freedom Community Church—a new church plant in Niles with the mission to help people find freedom in following Jesus.

Does all of this sound interesting? Want to be a part of Freedom? You can partner with us in 3 ways.

(1) Pray for us; (2) Give your time and treasure towards the mission; and/or (3) Join the core team that's forming to launch Freedom.

Let us know how you want to participate by connecting with us: HERE