Two month ago, I returned home from one of the biggest adventures on my life: The World Race. I spent 11 months in 11 countries spreading the gospel. I loved my time in every place. But that season is over now. God has called me to something new, something exciting, and something grand: the 320 Network.

As of this past Saturday, 3 girls from my World Race squad and I moved I nto an apartment in Atlanta. Here, we will be church planting alongside my squad coaches, Jeff and Mary Ellen, who started the 320 Network. Our hope is to meet our neighbors, build relationships, do life together, and show them the love of Christ. As time goes on, we hope make disciples and build a community of believers who love each other, support each other, and who make their own disciples in Christ.

Our goal isn’t to build a church building, have a lot of members, or to start what you would think as the typical American church. Our goal is to build a community, a family even, where we can come together, love each other, and worship our Savior; all in our own apartment!

The church planters and I live very “normal” lives. We all have jobs, commutes, and bills to pay. I am currently working part-time at a running store, which has been great! But now we will be living our lives intentionally, with our eyes open, looking for opportunities to build relationships, make disciples, and show the love of Jesus to others.

Although I am working part-time, I will still be fundraising for this next phase of my life working for the 320 Network. All donations will be going towards monthly bills and anything to help advance our church (food for Sunday gatherings, taking neighbors out for coffee, etc.) If you would like to support and join me on this journey, please donate through my page.

Thank you!

It’s happened again. Someone else won my jackpot prize from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I faithfully filled out the entry page (actually several entry pages). I followed all the rules. I may have prayed that God would guide the PCH team to my apartment to to hand me the big check on live TV.

But…nothing. Zero. Zilch. No check. No jackpot.

So I decided to have a conversation with God about it. I could certainly use the cash. I have a ministry to support, God. And a wife! And a Starbucks habit.

I know you are my Abba, my Daddy. I know you delight in me in the same way I delight in my own sons. So why wouldn’t you give me what I desire?

Of course, God doesn’t owe me an explanation, but because He is gracious, He gave me one.

Psalm 84:11 – “…No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Let’s do some math here. God’s promise to His children is that He will not withhold any good thing from His children. So, if He does withhold something, it must not be good. Perhaps the timing is not right. Perhaps what I think I so desperately need would actually harm me. Perhaps He withholds the gift because I’m not ready to handle it, in the same way a parent would not give the car keys to a 10 year old. Maybe He wants me to seek Him, rather than what He can give me.

Here’s what I’m learning. If He hasn’t given it to me yet, then it’s not good for me yet. I’m learning to trust Him more.

Psalm 84:12 – “…How blessed is the man who trusts in You.”

Still learning.

 

Would you pray about supporting us? Your financial support allows us to continue to make disciples and plant churches here in the Atlanta area. With a population of 6.5 million, it is a huge city with huge need. You can give to our network, or support individuals from this link, www.320.network. Thank you!

Fall is settling into Atlanta- almost. I’m still waiting until the weather is so cold that I can see my breath and the bright yellow sunshine somehow changes to orange. But the leaves are beginning to fall and I can see them even while I’m driving down the interstate. I don’t think I have ever savored watching leaves fall from trees like I do right now…

I often have internal Martha tendencies. Always thinking, always gaging and evaluating literally everything before I even catch myself doing it. That’s the first response from a life-long “coloring booker” who evolves into a “canvas painter.” Without those coloring lines to keep me in check externally in life, I try to remember where they are internally… Lines that take on the scary questions of… Am I doing well? Have I let anyone down? What can I do better tomorrow? I have a tendency to be hard on myself.

Is that how the Father speaks to me? Nope. Does He ask me those questions? Absolutely not! And that’s what He reminds me of to my deflating pride. That nothing depends on me. I have one beautiful responsibility- to know and love Him more- and to pass His love on to others.

You were probably wondering. This is where the leaves come in…

I love watching leaves fall. They are in no hurry. They float and flutter and thoroughly enjoy the journey. And every single one is different. There’s something so pure and simple about the process. It’s just life. It’s just the season. It’s just what happens with leaves.

At my core I am simply a maple leaf who this week was concerned with too many things. But I am convinced that as I continue to stay open and say an active, “yes” to what He’s doing, that there is enough grace to cover every time I fail instead of fall.  Be-leaf me.

 

 

“What are you doing now that you’re finished with the World Race?”

“What’s in Atlanta?”

“What will you be doing there?”

 

On July 26, 2016, I returned to my hometown, Oshkosh, WI, after spending 11 months in 11 different countries (i.e., the World Race). I cannot put words to what it felt like pulling into my driveway for the first time and finally seeing my family since September 2015. The English language, or my use of it, does not do justice to my experience on the Race. It was intense, incredible, challenging, life-giving, and God-filled. But these words may leave you with more questions than answers.

How do I describe what it felt like to laugh with a 4-year old in a Cambodian orphanage and have him run into your lap as you sit on the floor worshipping God? How do I put into words how much fun it was to have a food fight with our host family in Zimbabwe on our last night with them? How do I describe what it felt like playing soccer with kids in Thailand who were rescued from their families because they were at high risk of being sold into sex-trafficking?

I’m still trying to face the reality that the Race is finished. And while I am not on a mission trip anymore with 46 amazing brothers and sisters, the friendships have remained and World Race moments have simply turned into World Race memories.

How do you move forward after such an indescribable experience? You continue doing ministry with members from your squad, of course. For years I have always felt a yearning in my spirit to move to Atlanta, GA. This was confirmed when I learned that a few girls from my squad were joining a ministry called the 320 Network that is based in Atlanta. My plan originally was to move down, get a job, and focus on work and planting roots for a while, but I knew God was calling me higher to intentionally do work for His Kingdom. After much prayer and spending some time in Atlanta, I knew in my heart I, too, should join the 320 Network.

What is the 320 Network? It’s a ministry that plants churches. It was founded by my World Race squad coaches, Jeff and Mary Ellen. But it’s not the kind where you physically construct a building on a piece of land. Their church planting involves house churches, or apartment churches. Church planters, a team of 4-8 people, live in an apartment complex and get to know their neighbors and others in the complex and invite them to church on Sunday. The church is hosted by the planters in their very own apartment. Coffee, worship, a church message, community, all of it is done sitting in a living room.

I will be living with three girls from my squad who I was on a team with for a month. Together, we will make up part of a team that will be opening a new church in a new apartment complex. Our church/apartment will be called the Haven.

Definition: a place of safety or refuge; a place where you are protected from danger, trouble, etc.

While planting a new church, we will host events every month to make connections and friendships in the apartment complex in addition to striking up conversations daily with the people we come across. When we aren’t out meeting people and preparing for Sunday and events, we have team meetings. Along with that, we will be discipling others and be discipled ourselves by veteran church planters.

When I am not working on ministry responsibilities, I will be working full-time counseling teenage girls with eating disorders and working part-time at LA Fitness.

I am so excited to see what God is going to do over this next year with the church, the people we are going to meet, and the community that is going to form. As my team and I begin this new season, we would greatly appreciate prayer in the following areas:

  • That from day one at our apartment, my team and I would be intentional every day about meeting new people and being open to following where the Spirit leads
  • That we would love like Jesus and be a light to our community
  • That the hearts of the individuals we are going to meet would be open to coming to church to learn more and open to hearing more about Christ
  • That the Haven would be a place of comfort, peace, safety, and love
  • That God would do miracles this next year with the church, with the people who come, and with the whole apartment complex we live in

Thank you in advance for joining us in these prayers!

If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with me! I would love to chat.

 

If you would like to support me financially, that is an option as well. I am going to try my hardest to balance my two jobs and devoting plenty of time and energy to this ministry, and even a small monthly amount would be a tremendous help. Funds would be delegated toward supporting living expenses and the ministry, so that I would be able to delegate more time to the ministry and the people we are trying to reach. One time donations are also accepted.

Thank you!!!

dsc_0074

 

I was asked about four days ago to write a blog explaining why I chose to move to Atlanta and work with the 320 Network.

And, if I’m honest, since I’ve been down here I’ve asked myself the same question. But then I think back to the past year on the Race. I was constantly surrounded by community – beautiful, intentional, messy community. We knew all there was to know about each other – our highest highs and our lowest lows. We loved and fought, laughed and cried, argued and then celebrated.

And isn’t that how it should always be?

It’s been my experience that most people are just longing for somewhere to belong, people to call family, a house to call a home. My heart is to offer that to people. I want to meet people right where they are, love them in their current state, and just walk through life with them. I want them to know that they will always have a place to belong, a person to call family, and a place they are always welcome to call home.

My deepest desire is for every single person I come in contact with to feel and experience the deep and breathtaking beauty of what is possible when you CHOOSE to enter into authentic community and relationships, when you admit that you simply cannot do this life alone and begin to let others in on your journey.

There’s a dream deep inside of me of a place where people can come as they are. I mean truly, truly come as they are. A place where community and life happens around the table. A place where people are free to dream and see them become a reality. A haven where it’s okay to be broken because there is a sea of people waiting to love you rather than fix you. This is just the beginning.

It’s time for the world to see that the church is not a building, but a people.

Atlanta, I hope you’re ready to be loved like you’ve never been loved before! The best is yet to come.

It’s a little crazy to think that this time last year, I was already in the 2nd month of the World Race in Nicaragua. Now I’m living in Georgia, 1,600 miles from home, and taking an unexepected step in an unknown direction. The Lord has blessed me with a job I’m already loving at REI. He’s providing new community for me day by day (an answered prayer) and is teaching me more about myself than I thought I’d ever know.
I keep getting asked by people, “Why the heck did you move here from Colorado? It’s awesome there!” Sometimes I ask myself this same question, and I always come back to when the Lord said, “Kody, trust me.” It happened when I first believed in Him four years ago, It happened a couple of autumns ago when I committed to the World Race, and it happened recently when I committed to moving down here to Atlanta. I can’t explain it fully other than I felt the Lord leading me in to unfamiliarity. I love home. I love Grand Junction, and the people I’ve called my friends and family for the past 23 years. I love the seasons, the epic adventures, and the crazy memories from home, but I love the Lord more.
As I write this, I feel like a hypocrite. I do love Jesus, He’s my Lord and my savior, but a lot of times I put my own comfort before Him. I put social media, and adventure, and friends, and many other things before Him on a daily basis. If left to myself, I quickly become a creature of comfortable habits, which dwells in the cave of good intentions. I have the desire to do good, and the desire to love my neighbor and the Lord, but much of the time I don’t put Him and His word first. This season is going to be the season with big changes.
I want to become more disciplined, more focused on what matters: relationships. I’ve learned this past year it’s not the places you go or the things you do, but who you do this thing called life with. It would be easy for me to go home and pour into the friendships I have back home, and not branch out, not put myself in awkward or uncomfortable situations meeting new people. I don’t want the people back home to feel like they’re the reason I left home. If anything, you’re the people who’ve encouraged me the most to trust the Lord and move to somewhere completely new. For that, I thank you.
Now I’m here, I’m struggling a bit, but also thriving. I feel like a tree that is thirsty in the midst of a drought, and I’m starting to tap roots into deeper soil, where there’s water. My source of life is, and always will be the Lord, I just have to remember that each morning. I’m diving deeper into my faith than ever before, and it’s so freeing. I’m so excited to see what’s in store for this next season. I’m walking with palms wide open, and I hope you would join me in prayer over these next few months. My prayers include: being a light to people here who are either unreached, or could care less about Jesus because they’ve been burned by people in the church. Growing deeper in my relationship with the Lord. Also that I’d be intentional with friendships both here, and back home.20161012_113853
I hope you’ll follow me on this new adventure here in Georgia. I’m currently working at REI to support myself, as well as volunteering with 320 network, a house church planting network based here in north Atlanta. I get to work closely with my coaches and a handful of my squadmates from the World Race! I invite you to prayerfully consider supporting me financially after your tithe so I can spend more time focused on building up disciples at our church. Even a simple $5 or $10 offering a month would be such a huge blessing! If you’re interested, you can go to https://320network.givingfire.com/ to send funds my way (did I mention it’s tax deductible?). All of the funds sent will go directly towards supporting me living here in Atlanta and discipling others here.
Again, if you can’t support financially, I truly ask for your prayers. The Lord’s hand is in this and we are so thankful for your prayers. I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you for reading!