A week ago I announced to my church family that God has called my wife and I to become church planters. In the near future we will sell some of our belongings and pack up the rest to move to the St. Louis, Missouri area to plant a new church. It's been a long time coming.
It's been awhile since my first day of school. Where we lived there was no kindergarten, so I started when I began first grade. One major event that year stands out in my life, and it was the beginning of my love for missions.
During that time the Southern Baptist Convention was in the midst of the 30,000 Movement, which was an attempt to start 30,000 new churches in America. My father was called by God to plant a new church on the west side of Rockford, Illinois. So, we loaded everything we owned into a cleaned out cattle truck and moved. I was six years old, but I remember the move and much of the next five and a half years that Dad served there.
We met in people's homes on Wednesdays and Sunday evenings. Sunday morning Sunday School and worship were held at the Odd Fellows Hall. I remember that because we always had to go early on Sundays to clean up after their Saturday night parties. I also have fond memories of the experience because a year later I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. The church moved from meeting in the Odd Fellows Hall. to a house the church built. Worship was in the basement and the main floor was used for class rooms. A couple of years later the church built a new, more traditional, church building and we moved into what became the parsonage. It was my first exposure to missions.
Through the years I have had other experiences that prepared me for my call to become a church planter. There were those trips to Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. There, as a child and young teenager I heard missionaries tell of their call to missions and of the places they served. There were summer missionaries who stayed in our home. Later, when I surrendered to the Gospel Ministry. I was involved in short term mission trips to New York, Bulgaria, Louisiana, and several other places. God was at work in my life, preparing me for His call to become a church planter,. but I didn't see it coming.
Watch for my next post: "My Call To Church Planting."