How we got here
Many of you have been praying for our family as we plant a new church in Gainesville, Florida. Hopefully, you will find this update to be encouraging. I hope you can see God’s faithfulness on display in all that has transpired over these past few months.
As many of you know, we began this journey to Gainesville several months ago while I was finishing up my last semester at The Master’s Seminary. At that time, we researched the Gainesville area and found that there is great need for a faithful church which preaches the word of God utilizing verse by verse exposition.
As part of this research, we contacted, Jeremy Draper, one of the Grace Advance pastors who shepherds at Living Hope Community Church in Ocala, Florida about an hour south of Gainesville. He was excited about the prospects of planting a church here and gave us the name of one of his former families from Gainesville. This family had been attending in Ocala up until a few weeks before our initial contact.
With heavy hearts, they had decided to leave Living Hope to find a church in Gainesville. The hour drive had become difficult for their growing family, and they had a heart for the community where they lived and worked. They had been faithfully praying for seven years that a TMS pastor would come and plant a church here. This church is the fruit of their continued faithfulness to seek the Lord in prayer. God used them to contact other people who were also faithfully praying for a church plant. We have been blessed by these solid families.
My wife, Angie; the kids, and I left California on January 15, 2017 after 3 ½ years at TMS. We were praying that God would place us where He wanted us—we kept an open hand to our future while at seminary. We certainly witnessed God’s faithfulness in our years there, and now God was answering our prayers in taking us back to Florida where it all started for us—we live less than a mile from our first home!
We had no idea what the Lord had in store for us as we arrived in Florida, except that God had called us to go and had given us five families to form the core of what would become Grace Bible Church Gainesville. We stayed at Angie’s mother’s for two weeks prior to moving into our rental home right outside of Gainesville in the little town of Alachua. And, we dove right into our work.
Our first meeting as a church was Sunday, January 22nd. We simply met for church lunch, prayer, and to discuss our plans for the coming weeks and months. Our first official church worship was the following Sunday. We started with five families, and have gained another—a dear couple who will be married on May 13th!
We know there are other families in the community who are sympathetic to church planting and to our situation. We have asked them to pray for us even if they cannot join us. We continue to reach out to the community with the desire to bring more families into the fold.
We are working hard to get our name out to the community. We have a strong presence on the web including a brand new website and a Facebook page. We try to keep our content up to date, and I have been posting to the blog on a weekly basis. Please check us out when you get a moment. We know that web presence is the front door to our church, but we are also focusing on good old fashioned word of mouth to make the church known. Yet in all this, we know that God gives the increase!
On the practical side, we are currently meeting in a house with hopes that we can move to a building in the coming months. We have named the church, and designed our logo. We even have business cards and car magnets! We have also adopted our doctrinal statement and bylaws, and we are an official church according to the state of Florida. So, we can do business as a church. I have accepted an engineering job back in my old industry to support my family over the next few years until the church can support us. We have plans as a church to save for building expenses and for future pastoral salaries.
Our five-year plan is to transition to a building and hire a family pastor if that is the Lord’s will. We are hopeful to find a man who is willing to come and pastor bi-vocationally until we can afford to bring them onboard on a full time basis. I plan to stay in my new job as long as I am able to do both to allow for growth in the other areas of the church. My desire is to be devoted to the ministry full-time, but we understand that bi-vocational pastoral ministry is a blessing as well.
I started my preaching ministry in Psalm 145. We saw the faithfulness of God as described by King David, just as we witnessed His faithfulness as we began to meet as a church. We have transitioned into James as we explore the nature of true faith in God. We are thankful for the preaching of God’s word and are praying for its fruit. We have also started a men’s study on Thursday nights and a women’s study on Wednesday’s. We plan to combine those studies one week per month for corporate prayer.
We are thankful for your support as we continue this endeavor. We stand amazed at all that God has done in readying us for this adventure. We also are thankful for all you who have supported us in prayer from the start. We are asking that you continue to pray and continue to follow us as we do God’s will here in Gainesville. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions about our ministry, or if you would like to send someone our way!
Prayer list GBC Gainesville
- For our families
- For our community
- For the other like-minded churches in Florida
- Pray that we would form solid partnerships with these ministries
- That we would reach the lost here in Gainesville
- That we would make godly decisions regarding ministry
- For our Teaching and Preaching
- Pray for wisdom as we choose future preaching series
- For our Unity
- For our fellowship
- For our Leadership
- For our Growth in Maturity
- That we would be a praying church
- That God would add to our number
- That God would grant us ministry patience
- For a Building when it is time
- For my time to be fruitful considering that I’m bi-vocational
- For our men and women’s studies
- For our corporate prayer times