Why are Aaron and Laura leaving to plant a new church?
Answer: Because God said so.
Let me tell you a story…
Several months ago, I walked into the kitchen at about 7:00 AM. Laura was getting ready to head out to see her first patient, but I could tell something was bugging her. I asked her what was up, and she looked at me and said, “I need to go home.”
I did like most dudes do–I tried to fix it. For about two minutes, I tried to reason with her, and (of course) it wasn’t working. And then it hit me… what if God is using this conversation to get my attention? So we started the conversation over again. And I did my best to just listen and get what she was feeling. Over the coming week, all we talked about was the initial conversation. She told me that on her way back from visiting her parents, she was upset the entire way home. She stopped in Charlottesville at a Taco Bell (yes!) to get some grub. She sat down. Another dude got his grub and sat down right in front of her. There were tons of seats in the place, and he sat down in front of her… wearing a Parker’s BBQ T-shirt. Parker’s is a huge BBQ place in Greenville, NC. Right there in big letters, staring her in the face: Greenville, NC.
She knew she had to talk to me.
So, over the past couple of months, we’ve been constantly talking about, praying about, wrestling with, worrying about, getting excited about the possibility that God was calling us to Greenville to expand our microchurch network. Along the way, we’ve evaluated and re-evaluated our motives. Mine is totally kingdom related–we’re going to make disciples and start a Jesus movement in G-Vegas. Laura’s are a little more complex (family and friends), but as time has gone on, her reasons have become more kingdom minded. She has a ton of friends in the Greenville area who don’t know Jesus. She knows the area, having grown up there. She has a heart for the people of Greenville.
This has been the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. God called me to Harrisonburg ten years ago. It’s been an incredible journey to this point. By the time we go to Greenville, we’ll have spent nine years here… nearly 1/3 of our lives. We’ve started raising our kids here. Our oldest, Annagrace, has mixed feelings about moving. Some days, she’s ready to go. Others, she wants to say. That’s heart-wrenching! But she understands why we’re going–so that more people can know Jesus. We could have a huge list of reasons not to go, but there’s just one reason that we must. God has said go. We’ve gotta obey Him.
We’ve made some incredible friendships, and renewed others. We’ve seen God change people through our church that probably wouldn’t have stepped into another church. In the past twenty months, God has prepared Discovery to become a church planting movement here in the Valley… and now, beyond the Valley. It’s time for all of us to get behind what God is doing, both here and what he’s already doing in Greenville, preparing the way for us to go. We’re not leaving Discovery. Discovery is sending us.
Tomorrow, I’ll answer the question, “Why Did You Tell Us So Early?”