A New Partnership for the Next Season

I was talking to a fellow Christian in our area back before Christmas, telling him about Rooted and about what I do as a church planter and he said, “It sounds like you are a missionary, but to America.” I said, “That is exactly what I am.”
This month marks 2 years since we began this missionary endeavor in Whitestown, IN. It has been a long and slow process, partly by design and partly by default.
As we’ve progressed, we’ve purposely taken the time to understand the context, how those in our area think, relate, and act, what their hopes, fears, needs are. We’ve spent time networking with community leaders in the area to show we’re here not for ourselves but others, connecting with fellow pastors and churches to show we’re about building for God’s Kingdom and aren’t interested in taking their people, and just generally doing the prep work we believe will aid us as we move forward.
It has also been slow because I’ve served Otterbein UMC while beginning, devoting just ¼ to ½ of my work hours to Rooted. Beginning in March this will change. I am sad to say my time with Otterbein is now over. I love the people of OUMC and will miss them, but God is calling us to turn our attention more fully to our own community, and for Otterbein to their own neighbors under the skilled leadership of Rev. Donna Ward. We continue to have the same mission, but lived out in separate contexts.
I am incredibly excited to announce that effective March 1st, I will assume a role as an associate pastor with Zionsville UMC, who is partnering with us to start a disciple making movement, and birthing a new community of faith in Whitestown in the process. This is not only logical, since there is a great deal of overlap between Zionsville and Whitestown, but is strategic.
We live just 4.5 miles from ZUMC’s building, and we know that within 20 minutes there are 241,129 people, almost 60% of which are not involved in any community of faith. That means there are 143,712 people within 20 minutes who do not know or are not following Jesus. There are 40 publicly listed churches in this area, but in order for them to reach those outside of church, they’d each have to grow by over 3,500 people (even the tiny little country churches).
As Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, so pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2).
What we need isn’t just a new church (we need lots of churches), but even more importantly a movement of followers of Jesus Christ existing as everyday missionaries where they live, work and play, as people sent to their neighborhoods, their workplaces, their schools to pursue the Great Commission and to live out the Great Commandment, loving God and loving people. We believe partnering together will help accomplish this mission and increase the impact.
We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with a church that has a long history of faithful ministry in area, and a church that has consistently shown that they exist for more than themselves. While we’ll gain the help and involvement of some wonderfully talented leaders, we have the opportunity to share the missionary approach we take to church planting (and life in general) with the congregation so that together we can pursue the mission that God has given us to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
As we have at every step in the process, we want to invite you to be involved.
First, we want you to pray for us and for our greater community in which we live. We believe prayer changes things, and is vital to our success.
Second, we want to you to prayerfully consider partnering with us financially. My wife and I have found that when you can’t be personally involved, continuing financial support allows others to be. We support 4 different missionaries with Cru because we know the immense impact this makes.
Third and finally, if you are in our area, we’d love for you to be a part. We are looking for those willing to go through a discipleship process where we meet in small groups before beginning to then go and lead others. Maybe that sounds terrifying, but let me promise you this: It will change your life. If you live outside our area, do you know of those in the NW Indy area who might be interested in taking part? Friends, family, former neighbors or colleagues?
God is building his Kingdom here on earth, healing broken hearts and restoring broken lives. I am so excited to be a part of this amazing work right here in Whitestown, Indiana.
In Christ,