While there may have been a time when skepticism was largely pushed to the cultural margins, that time has long passed. Churches and their leaders no longer get the benefit of the doubt. Instead, doubt is alive and well. Skepticism has become a staple in the increasingly post-Christian West. Sadly, however, many churches continue to go on with business as usual. And many of them continue to shrink and die as a result.
I have the privilege of leading a church that has consistently reached skeptics in the five short years of our existence. What we’ve done is not innovative, but it has been intentional.
Like most pastors, I didn’t go into ministry because I wanted to preach. I went into vocational ministry because I wanted to see lives transformed by the gospel.
God had stirred up my heart and pursued me. I had been skeptical and he opened up my eyes. I wanted to help others come to know Jesus as I had. So I began serving, got some training, and entered into vocational ministry.
Early in ministry I joined a church plant and we began rapidly growing. We moved into a new building. The crowd continued to grow larger. Excitement was high. In many ways, it was a dream spot for a young church leader to be.
Just over six years ago my wife Megan and I and our then two kids packed up everything we owned into our Honda Accord and made the drive from Los Angeles, CA to Lincoln, NE with the hopes of planting a new church. When we arrived we hit the ground running. We would spend most of that year throwing parties at our home, investing in people, building a team, raising funds, making a plan and then in March 2011 we launched.
Six years into this journey I can say it has been a great ride and God has been exceedingly faithful. By many accounts, we’ve lived the church planting dream. We’ve seen people from many different faith backgrounds find Jesus. We’ve grown substantially and consistently each year. We have a small army of amazing volunteer staff. And this last fall we got to plant our second campus.