So how did it happen that I will be heading to Florida after living in NC for the majority of my life? Well, it all really began about 2 1/2 years ago. I had been mentoring a friend from the River Community Church who eventually, along with his family, moved to the West Palm Beach area to begin a church planting residency program there at First Baptist West Palm Beach; now Family Church. As my friend began learning about missional communities and church planting, I was introduced to a church planting movement method called T4T (Training for Trainers). This church planting movement focuses on training a continually multiplying number of church planter trainers that continue to do and train as they have been taught. It is highly reproducing and its goal is the spreading of the gospel and the starting of new churches. It carries a strong level of accountability because the discipleship that is done requires that the lessons taught be shared immediately with others. From the very start, new believers become trainers themselves as they are being trained simultaneously. It pushes people into the fields and causes them to engage those far from God. It is not learning for the sake of learning. It is learning so that it can then be done and modeled for others. It is all about creating leaders and facilitating exponential growth. It focuses on every believer being a disciple maker.
I was seeing how this intentionality and focus was challenging my friend and growing him as a disciple maker. I myself started reading and studying this material and I saw how it really was the method that was taught to the early disciples. It was the active discipleship I had been looking for. Everything my friend was being introduced to, I started studying myself. It was through this relationship that I was introduced to the 3 Circles Evangelism, the 4 Fields and the 3/3rds method of discipleship. All these titles might seem daunting or like some sort of programming, but it really isn’t. These are concepts taken straight from God’s Word and Jesus’ and the Disciples’ example. They are reproducible and easy to implement. They are frameworks for doing what Jesus called us to do.
If you read through my personal blogs over the past couple of years, you will actually see my journey unfolding. I did not know that God was preparing me for something new. I certainly hadn’t considered a move was coming in my future. After a few visits to Florida over the summers to see my friends and the work they were doing, I started to feel a strong pull towards the same thing. I had befriended some of the e3 Partners on Facebook because they were involved in some of the training going on at Family Church. I started following their approach to church planting and watching many of their training videos and I even attended some of their training when it came to the Wake Forest area at SEBTS. I had contemplated heading down to Florida and assisting in my friend’s church plant while working bivocationally, but God had a bigger and bolder plan than mine.
I spent lots of time in our prayer garden at church praying that God would make the path clear. Then one day, my friend saw a post from Troy Cooper at e3 Partners. Troy was looking for individuals to assist with church planting in the Miami and surrounding area. I contacted Troy and we talked for over an hour about the possibilities in the area. The vision he was sharing matched up so much with the vision for ministry that God had been showing me for so many years. It was a DNA match:) The rest is still being written. I went through the process of being appointed with e3 Partners/I Am Second and was approved. I am now in the support raising process with a target date of January for being on the field in S. Florida as a Church Planting Catalyst Missionary. To God be the Glory!
- God started preparing me LONG before I even knew what was going to happen
- He steered my passions and interest in the direction He wanted me to be
- He formed a friendship that has done nothing but get much stronger and more intentional in focus. Was making a ministry partner who helped me as much as I may have helped him.
- He created ministry connections with people at Family Church and e3 Partners that would be vital in putting me where He wanted me.
- He helped me overcome issues such as letting go of my family home and family and leaving behind a very important church family and ministry at the River Community.
- He gave me opportunities at different ministries over the past 22 years of ministry that have molded me into who I am. My ministry DNA was being made clearer.
- He gave me a heart that recognizes my own weaknesses in evangelism and the desire to put myself personally in a place and ministry that challenges me to model evangelism correctly and intentionally.
- He put key people in my life that have pushed me to equip myself to serve and to push myself out of comfort zones.
- I had started with a very narrow vision to go down and help in just my friend’s church plant and God opened a much wider vision and opportunity to not only be able to work with my friend but with many, many other evangelistic minded individuals and churches!