Church planting? That was exactly our question in the Fall of 2010 when God begin speaking to us about the possibility of being a part of planting a new church. God began to make it clear in His Word, through messages that we heard, through conversations, and through a number of other circumstances that He was calling us to plant a new expression of His body.
On November 9, 2010 we heard a message at Pinelake from Matthew 9 that we felt was completely directed at us. The pastor taught from Matthew 9:37-38 where Jesus says to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” It was one of those moments where God’s voice was undeniable and that night we finally surrendered to God’s calling. We immediately begin asking ourselves 1,000 questions like, “What does this mean?” “Where would we go?” “How would this happen?” “Who would go with us?” and our flesh wanted to answer those questions with 1,000 excuses such as, “We’re not old enough, smart enough, or experienced enough to do something like that.” But God was always quick to reply to our doubts and excuses, “You’re right, you’re not, but I’m enough, and I am all you need.” All of a sudden faith and the promises of God’s Word became more real than they ever had before. We had no idea of the journey ahead, but there was no doubt that we served a faithful God who did know the journey and was more than able to lead us.
Obviously one of the biggest questions that comes with this journey is the where. We were prepared to move out of Mississippi and assumed that would be God’s plan, but as we continued to pray and seek God’s direction, He begin confirming more and more that He had put our roots in this area for a reason. There were a few local cities that God began to put on our hearts, and the day after coming back from a church planting assessment weekend in January 2011 we decided to spend the afternoon driving through one of those potential cities, Pearl, Mississippi. We figured we would be gone a couple of hours at the most and probably wouldn’t come back with any answers, but again God had other plans. After driving around the city of Pearl praying, listening, making a list of churches, and experiencing God speak as only He can, 5 1/2 hours later we returned home convinced that God was calling two kids who grew up in Brandon chanting, “Eat dirt Pearl eat dirt,” to plant a new church in the city of Pearl. Since then God has confirmed again and again that this is His plan and that we need only to be obedient.
As we surrendered to God’s call, we mentally prepared ourselves to move away from what we had always known, including our family and friends. We assumed God would pack us up and move us our west, but we didn’t know where He was sending us. As we prayed and sought God for direction, He let us know that this new church plant wouldn’t be outside of Mississippi as we had assumed, but that it would be in a nearby city. He began confirming over and over again that He had put our roots in this area for a reason. There wee a few local cities we began to feel drawn to, so we spent time driving around those cities and praying for God’s direction. On January 21. 2011, we felt led to drive through Pearl, Mississippi and pray. Frustrated that we still had no direction as to exactly where God was calling us, and having driven through other cities and prayed and returned home without direction, we completely expected this outing to be no different. To our surprise, God had other plans. What we thought would be a quick trip across the Brandon city limits turned into a 5 1/2 hour experience with God. He overwhelmed us with compassion for this city like we had never experience before. We returned home convinced that God was calling two Brandon kids who grew up chanting “Eat Dirt Pearl” at football games to go and serve this city like we had never served before.
Not long after we begin to share the news with small groups of people, God begin putting people in our path who had connections to Pearl, used to live in Pearl, or had a heart and passion to be a part of something new that God was doing. It has been overwhelming but incredibly exciting all at the same time. Over the past few months, we have met with different leaders, pastors, and people in Pearl to share with them what God is doing and to learn how we can partner with them to see God’s name made famous in that city. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and supportive of this vision.
In June, we began meeting in our home with people who were interested in being a part of what we believe God is doing to reach the city of Pearl for His glory. It was another huge encouragement to hear what God was speaking to those that came, and it was only more confirmation that this is a God-breathed and God-sized mission. It’s so much bigger than us. Through God’s provision in June, we were also approved to be a part of the Launch Network training starting in August at Pinelake. We plan to continue to gather and pray together throughout the summer asking for God’s presence and direction as we join Him in what He is already doing to reach the city of Pearl with His truth and love.