The journey has officially begun here in Atlanta. We have been holding weekly Bible studies where we have been going through the book of John and trying hard to develop a strong foundation of fellowship and discipleship. It’s been a lot of me not really knowing what I’m doing to be honest. How do you grow a church? How do you network into the area when you’re broke? So in many ways it’s been frustrating but when God calls us to be His disciple he calls us to a daunting task. A task where stability exits stage left and surrender gets the spotlight. God has been teaching me, “David, this is going to be hard.”

In Luke 14:26 it says- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters- yes, even their own life- such a person cannot be my disciple.” I feel like Jesus said this and just dropped the mic and left all listeners with their mouths hanging open wondering about how serious he was about what he had just said. In comparison to God- our loved ones and the things we love should mean nothing.

Sometimes it’s so hard to wrap our mind around that! I think it starts with living for eternity and not just this temporary life that we’re so enamored by. We’re just chasing a fickle mistress named, “Happiness” which is tied to our earthly emotions and nothing pimps that mistress better than our families, friends, hobbies, and money. It’s tied to our temporary desires. By no means am I trying to call it irrelevant! I’m just saying it’s a cheap version of what walking with Christ and being a disciple truly offers us. Joy! It is wrapped in eternity and founded on Christ. If we truly live for after this life on Earth we will find joy that passes all understanding.

The biggest thing we have been working on here is discipleship. For me this means building my life on eternity and looking for more people to live a life more like Christ and becoming closer to the Father through sanctification. It’s been really cool seeing the diversity in age and ethnicity we have right now. We all seem to really want to grow together and that makes discipleship fun.

So this is more about what we’re working towards in the heart of our church then anything, but I believe God is working. I would love your prayers through this time because some days I am struggling with sin, money, and discouragement and some days I’m just not sure of life at all. If you would like to give financially toward me that is always welcome. I pray joy and a captivation of God goes with all of you.

 

“I am NOT a Church Planter. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m not.”

Six months ago at PSL, Jeff Powell stood up and talked about Church Planting. I had maybe heard that term twice, maybe three times in my life before that. I didn’t know anything about it, other than I was not it. That was not my title. Softball player, Coach, Illustrator, Designer, Friend, Sister, Cousin, Niece, Grand daughter, Daughter, these titles I was comfortable having. But Church Planter? Nahh.

Regardless of what I knew, or better, what I didn’t know about Church Planting or being a Church Planter, all I knew was God very clearly, very tangibly, called me to it. I didn’t understand, I had no experience, I didn’t have any facts, I didn’t get an email sent to me detailing my roles and what would be required/expected of me. Yet, there was an unexplainable peace that came with saying “yes” to this. I very truly was starting a new chapter in my story and that page was white, white, white titled “Church Planting.”

So, because I’m human I imagined what this whole thing might look like. I looked at what I knew Church to be. Which, from my experience, has looked sooo many different ways. I’ve gone to church before, yeah, but never before this would I of said I have a “Home Church.” I would go and sit in with the congregation, and then go home an hour after. To be honest, if you were looking for someone to plant, start, or build a Church, I was probably the last person you wanted on your team because I really knew NOTHING about church.

Well, I’ve been here for six months now, and this is 100% nothing what I guessed, assumed, or imagined this would look like. And honestly, thank God that it’s not. It’s not a role that I have to fit, mold, wedge or conform to. For the first time, I feel like I get to be fully who I am. Strengths and weaknesses included!

I have countless opportunities to use the gifts I know I have and walk into the gifts I never knew existed. I get to pursue the things I am passionate about and I also get to walk alongside people who are pursuing their passions. In the midst of that, I’m finding new things that I am passionate about, that I never would of known otherwise. I get to do life in a very real community that truly loves and supports each other, that builds and encourages, and that pushes me, calls me out, and holds me accountable. I’ll be real with y’all, it gets messy, it gets REALLY hard sometimes, but at the end of the day, I know these people are going to choose me and love me regardless of the trials we face.

I get to know people. Let me take a step back. I get to meet people. Which, was a super terrifying concept for me just over a year ago. But God has has been equipping me for this, and now, I have no, to very little anxiety or fear about walking up to a stranger at Starbucks because I heard them say “The World Race.” Which lead into a conversation where that person tells me she’s been praying about a bible study, that she’s been looking for a church, and as we talk more, I find out she too went to SCAD in Savannah and we basically have the same life. Ha! You can’t make these things up! The crazy thing is… that’s a fairly normal occurrence of what happens on the daily. God moves crazy wild in these ways all the time, and all I am doing is getting my daily latte!

This whole thing, “being a church planter” is just a term, it’s a title because in this world we love having titles. The funny thing about titles is that if you take them away, what you have left, is the person behind it. Which is what this life is all about. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in the power that comes with titles and the opportunities that open up because of them. But, I’m more interested in the person behind that title. Church Planter, Designer, Friend whatever title I am to you, that’s not WHO I AM, I’m Brittany and in this season, God has given me the heart to TRULY know who YOU are behind YOUR titles and love you the best I know how. Church Planter simply has given me the space to do that. The best part about it, is all the things that I am stepping into, all the ways it’s stretching and growing me, won’t disappear or stop if/when my title changes.

I have been on the mission in Atlanta for 20 days and it has been an awesome testament to God’s faithfulness. He has been providing in so many ways, especially in bringing new people into my life. If you are planting a new church, one thing you need is people. The first week I was here, I really struggled meeting new people. As I started praying about it, God showed me 3 areas of my life He wanted to mature for His glory:

1) The ability to be interruptible for His glory.
2) The ability to step out of my comfort zone.
3) The ability to rest in the God of relationship.

Be interruptible for His glory:

“As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.” John 9:1, ESV.

How many times do we get so caught up in the distractions of life that we miss the opportunities for relationship that God puts in our path? Jesus was constantly allowing the Holy Spirit to interrupt his day for others. I started waking up in the mornings and praying, “Father, open my eyes to those you put in my path.” As I began to pray this, God was faithful and I started noticing lots of opportunities to engage people. I also need to change my mindset to remember why I am here, which is to build relationships with people and be a light, encourager, and show them the love of Christ. By healing that blind man in John 9, Jesus has also begun to heal my own spiritual blindness. If I want to build relationships with others, I need to be interruptible for His glory.

Stepping out of my comfort zone:

“To step into your destiny you must step out of your comforts.” – unknown

I am not going to build relationships and walk deeper into my identity as a personal witness to Christ (Acts 2:8) if I sit in my comfortable apartment behind my computer screen. I need to put myself in a place where I am going to meet people. My apartment complex has a club house with a TV, pool table, and internet. People are always going in and out, so I have made that my new office. I spend a few hours there each day and work on everyday tasks while I wait for God to bring people into my life. God has been faithful. In one week I met around 10 people, praise God. I’ve been changing everything from when I god to sleep to how when I shop for groceries to revolve around the relationships God has put into my life.

Resting in God’s direction:

“He leads me beside still waters.” – Psalm 23:2b, ESV.

There are so many references in the Bible of God directing our steps. He guides us to the places He wants us to be and He guides to us the people He wants us to love. In the end, we simply need to take time to ask Him where He wants us, listen to His direction, and do our best to obey. We won’t ever be perfect at asking, listening, and obeying but we can rest and have peace that God’s mercy and grace will bring us to where He wants us to be.

I don’t need to worry about meeting people, I simply need to focus on listening to God’s voice and obeying even if it isn’t convenient, comfortable, or logical.

 

The first week in Georgia was spent on a friend’s couch and then my new roommate, Britt and I just moved into our new apartment 3 weeks ago! So if you do the math I have been here for exactly 1 month! I am now moved in and have my own bed and everything! And every stick of furniture except for our couch was given to us… Wow, God is so good.

The Lord is present in everything that’s happened since I’ve moved here and He has such a hand in what’s happening with this church plant that it is blowing my mind! I’ve always had this desire to be a part of a church that isn’t a building, but a people. And Collective Pursuit is that. We are not a proven church formula; we are a lifestyle movement of community toward Christ. I am still blown away at the goodness of the Lord for leading me into such an amazing testimony to what the body of Christ can look like! Thankfulness doesn’t even begin to cover it. Jesus is good, and faithful, and fuller of mercy, grace and love then I could ever measure. He is the very heartbeat of this church plant.

Since finishing the World Race 6 months ago, the Lord has been calling me into deeper waters. And that is exactly where I’ve landed. I feel like I’ve needed to pull up my big girl britches! Almost daily I’m face to face and toe to toe with loud brokenness and messy faith. And I have found myself being stretched by the Father in areas where I didn’t have the slightest clue needed a facelift. But something I’ve come to love about the Holy Spirit is that He always pulls me, He never pushes me.

Each week I have one-on-one discipleship with a mentor here and that includes memorizing scripture each week.  2 Timothy 316-17 that reads, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

After reading that I wondered what the difference was between rebuking and correcting. And my mentor told me this… Rebuking is where conviction happens. That’s the Holy Spirit putting a stop sign up in front of your face. Correcting is what happens after that when He shows you what correct road to take from there… So there’s rebuking and then there’s correcting.

It seems like the longer I’m here and the more I dive into His word, the more room He has to speak to me and call me out when an attitude or a motive isn’t pleasing to Him. A lot of growth is happening. And when there’s growth there’s always an opportunity to fear.

I once had someone tell me that the absolute definition of fear is simply, “the unknown.” The “what ifs” in life are always easy to focus on. But I like to focus on the “who withs” instead. Bob Goff, author of the incredible book, “Love Does” wrote, “When you trust someone, you don’t need to know everything.”

The things I know for sure may not out measure the unknowns in life, but they sure do outweigh them by a billion to one with truths and promises that reflect the faithfulness which is my God’s very character.