Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ten Years of Church Planting

Ten years ago I was 22 years old, fresh out of college, and living with three friends in Nashville, TN. I moved there without really knowing why, and started working at a Christian bookstore, making minimum wage - not really a part of the long range plan!

One evening in September, 1997, my roommate, Andy, told me that a friend of his was helping to start a church, and they were looking for a worship leader. They wondered if I might be interested. Up to that point, I really knew nothing about church planting, but I was definitely interested (yeah, no more bookstore job)!

A week or so later I met with Mark Jackson, and he told me about his plans to start The Church@Hickory Hollow. I loved what I heard, and I felt that this was why I had moved to Nashville. It excited me to be a part of something like this. The amazing thing was that several weeks of talking took place before they ever heard me play the guitar, and that was a good thing, because I didn't really play the guitar that well at the time.

We spent that fall building a core group, and in January, 1998, we had our first public worship service. We definitely had humble beginnings. That Sunday morning I led worship, with my then-girlfriend Mandy singing with me. I set in a swivel chair because I couldn't stand and play the guitar. I dropped my pick two or three times that morning. The swivel chair was nice because I could turn around to adjust the sound to fulfill my other role as sound tech - not that I really knew what I was doing there either.

The Church@Hickory Hollow holds a special place in my heart. This was mine and Mandy's first church together - just about everyone in the church showed up on June 12, 1999 to watch us get married. I was also given lots of opportunities to serve and use my gifts. I had my first opportunities to speak there. I got to work with small groups, to equip and develop leaders, and to lead a band. This was also the place where God laid on my heart a desire to start churches. Because of this call, in September, 1999, I started feeling like God might be calling us to get more training in this area, and one year later we were in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So now ten years have passed. I'm back in Tennessee, though it's now Memphis instead of Nashville. And I now have the opportunity to help start another church. My life is good. God has allowed me to not only dream, but to see my dreams realized. I am truly grateful to Him for this.

1 comment:

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

My friend, you were & are a gift from God. One of the things we loved about you from the beginning was your incredible heart for God... the fact that you could play guitar & lead worship was a bonus.

It's wild & wonderful to see what God has done & is doing in your life.