Many questions have been coming our way and for those who may not have had the chance to ask but want to know, I will do my best to answer them below:
1. What is a church plant? That is a great question and I am sorry it hasn't been answered sooner. Church planting is truly not something that JR and I made up and its actually been going on for many many years. It is in a very basic explanation: moving to a community, creating relationships with people, sharing Jesus with them and as new believers are made a church is formed. It has the idea to think outside of the "traditional church setting" box and do whatever it takes to make followers of Christ.
2. Who is providing your training? There are 3 different groups that will be helping consisting of:
OneLife church, where we will be serving during the training process and is an actual church plant, The Missionary Church which is a network of churches committed to church planting and world missions and strives to be focused on the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and the Tennessee Baptist Association.
3. What is the Great Commission? According to Matthew 28:18- Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
4. Is this a cult or a scam? Ha! Yes, we were asked this question and no neither of them are true :)
5. Where will you live? We aren't exactly sure at this point but our team is looking for us some free missionary housing in the local area now. If that doesn't work, we will go to plan B and look for a rental ourselves, but know that either way God WILL provide! (For those who hadn't heard prior, we recently had to find a place to live in TEN days and He provided, so now a month seems like plenty of time!)
6. How will you survive financially? The network is providing some funding and insurance. JR will be getting a part time job (or more if needed) and I hopefully will find a Mother's Day out program or something similar to provide what I can too. We are also asking other Christians to partner with us. Although we don't all have the call to church plant or be pastors, we do all have the same commission to make disciples as Christ followers.
7. How much financial support do you need to raise? I'll be flat honest. Our family lives off of a $30K yearly budget with no extras or fat anywhere. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to support us through our training process.
8. Do you realize that is a crazy amount of money? Of course we understand it seems crazy to trust God to provide that much money. We have heard several testimonials already, however, that 20K is actually not that much. One family of 3 raised more than double that and another single female raised $19K by herself.
9. Why do you think its okay to quit your job and expect other people to give up their money to pay your bills? There are many different viewpoints on this of course but here is the best way I can explain it. Our life is supposed to be about fulfilling the great commission that God has called us to do and He has set up the church in a way that everyone together is responsible to do that. Not everyone is called to give up their jobs and move to another city to plant a church, however, as the church, fellow believers are called to contribute in whatever way that they can. For some that's financially giving, for others its support through prayer, and for us it is to go. You can read more about this on JR's blog here.
10. How do you have such radical faith? I remember reading a book not too long ago and thought this very same thing of the girl whom I read about. You see, at 18 she moved to Africa and did whatever she could to care for those that she came in contact with there. She has now lived there over 5 years and has adopted 13 Ugandan girls by herself! (You can read more about her story if you wish here.) And when she was asked that very same question she very humbly said, "I am just reading my bible and doing my best to do what He tells me to do. I have made myself available to God, and He has done the rest." Now several months later as I cannot believe that very same question has been asked of me, I very humbly know no other way to answer than just as she did.
11. Where will you be planting a church? We honestly have no idea at this point but know that God will lead us wherever He wants us to go.
12. How did you know that this is what God wanted you to do? I am simply amazed at the various ways He made it evident to JR and I, both individually and together. I knew 5 years ago when we surrendered to the call to full-time ministry that I would be in for a wild ride, but I truly had NO idea!
It was not a sudden thing as I mentioned in my previous post. As He began to reveal His plan for us, throughout those months I really didn't know. But once everything came together by the end of our decision, there was no question in my mind that He was asking us to go. The only question was would we say Yes or No.
13. Aren't you scared? I know that JR and I would answer this a bit differently but I will again be honest. When I look back at how faithful He has been over these past 5 years, from working out every detail of our move from Atlanta to Wake Forest by providing us housing, jobs, friends, a Masters degree debt free and so much more, I am in awe. It would be easy to say, well we did those things and it was by chance that it all worked out, however I disagree completely. We didn't know what we were doing, He did. So yes of course I am scared. I feel as if I am jumping off a cliff blindfolded! I am trusting God in a way that I never have before and walking by my faith in His goodness, not by the things that I can see! That is very difficult for a person who is Type A and wants to plan out everything! I do know a few things that's for certain though. One being that is that it is NOT okay to say no to God. Also, that God loves me, my husband and our two boys more than I can fathom. He has never broken a promise to His people and He wants whats best for me. I will do whatever it takes to follow Him and one day I know He will say, "Well done my good and faithful servant."
14. You can't expect everyone to understand. Obviously this is not a question but a statement and a very true one at that. My prayer is that everyone would understand but the reality is unfortunately that is not true. It has been extremely difficult to explain this to everyone we know and love who surround us. I'll be honest and say that I have never felt so alone and alienated in all of my life. It is so frustrating when I want people to understand but they just don't get it. And if that's you... hold on for the ride! I pray that you will continue to keep up to date with our crazy journey and that you would experience God and His faithfulness in a way you have never seen before! It's gonna be good... and you wont wanna miss it :)
If you have anymore questions, PLEASE ask! We are wide open and are willing to answer anything!!