(Check out my last post to get the first part of the story!)

When you find yourself in a new season of ministry, but you don’t know what that ministry is yet, you do a lot of praying and a lot of listening. So that’s what I did. During that time God began to form some thoughts in my head and heart. Mary Ellen and I have served as coaches for World Race over the past couple of years. During that time I’ve met well over 100 young adults who love Jesus with all their hearts and have a passion to change their world; however, many of them were not connected to a local church.  They told me that they didn’t feel like they fit in there; they were not experiencing the depth of community that they had on the World Race; many felt like the local church was more concerned with internal issues than external issues. Some told me they didn’t need the church. Whether their observations were true or not does not matter – they are true to them. No wonder the millennials have given up on church at a breathtaking rate. (Some polls have found that over 80% of millennials are unchurched.)

As I began to think and pray about that, it occurred to me that if we could mobilize this group (there are literally 1000’s of Racer Alumni) to reach their generation for Jesus, then we might be able to have a profound impact for Jesus in North America. But I also knew that “church as usual” was not going to work for them. (They have given up on that in record numbers.) I sensed that God was leading us into a “fresh expression” of church. The message, of course, would not change, but there is much freedom in how we express that. I had no idea what that might look like, but I figured God did.

Even more praying. Even more listening.

As usual, God was already working. It was during February, 2015, that I met Bobby John in Dunwoody, GA. Bobby is a tech entrepreneur/business owner, but he was also pastoring an Indian church. He was also having a lot of the same thoughts I was. Mary Ellen and I had a meeting with Bobby, and it was obvious that  God was up to something. We found a lot of common ground. We both wanted to plant multiethnic, reproducing churches. We were both committed to discipleship. We were both interested in pursuing a new model of church. We knew that relationship is the love language of millennials.

So we continued to pray and talk and meet. And by April, 2015, I knew that this was what God had for us. We began making plans to move to Atlanta.

Over the next two months we sold our house. I sold my truck, which I had owned longer than I’ve had my youngest son. I gave away my Great Dane. (This is beginning to sound like a country song…) We sold about half of our possessions, loaded up a 24-ft. U-Haul, and, on May 31, 2015 we arrived in Sandy Springs, GA, to begin our new lives and ministry.

Stay tuned for “So Jeff, What Are You Doing Now?” (Part 3) coming next week!

Hey, would you consider a couple of things for us? First, would you please remember us in prayer? God has already acted supernaturally on our behalf in so many ways, and it is because of prayer. Second, would you prayerfully consider supporting us financially in this ministry? Just click on “Support our 320 Network Planters” on our website. Thanks!

 

I’m so glad you asked! You may or may not know that Mary Ellen and I have moved to Atlanta to begin the 320 Network. Let me start at the beginning…

Around Easter, 2013, I began to feel a “holy discontent” in my spirit. All was good in our ministry at Venture Church in Hattiesburg, MS, but internally I was unsettled. Having spent my entire adult life in ministry, I recognized the feeling – God was preparing us for a move into a new season of ministry. So we began to pray and listen to God.

On New Year’s Day, 2015, I was spending time with the Lord, and He clearly told me that it was time to go. He did not, however, tell me where we would be going or what we would be doing!

More prayer. More listening.

Twelve days later I was reading Genesis 12 where God told Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from you father’s house, to the land which I will show you…”. Later that day I saw a tweet from Craig Groeschel, pastor Life Church: “In order to step into your destiny you must be willing to step out of your security.” I put down my Bible and called Mary Ellen.

“I have good news and bad news. The good news is God has told us it’s time to go. The bad news, I don’t think He’s going to tell us where until we leave.” Yikes!

And that’s what happened. A week later I resigned my position at Venture Church, and, for the first time since I was 23 years old, I didn’t have a full-time job.

A lot more prayer. A lot more listening.

Of course, God had a plan.

Watch for my next post to read the rest of the story.

Hey, would you consider a couple of things for us? First, would you please remember us in prayer? God has already acted supernaturally on our behalf in so many ways, and it because of prayer. Second, would you prayerfully consider supporting us financially in this ministry? Just click on “Support our 320 Network Planters” on our website. Thanks!