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Church Planting: Our Mission

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What would it look like if a group of people decided that the rest of their lives would be spent on one thing: making disciples in a specific city. What if they really didn’t set out to start a church in the traditional sense, though? No mailers. No media blitz. No fancy promotion.

That’s silly. No one would come.

They would have to go to the people, rather than expecting the people to come to them.

I think we might be on to something.

One more question: What does it look like when a church stays laser-focused on God’s mission in that city?
They would enter every sector of society.
They would serve the city.
They would spend a lot of time just being with people.
They would meet tangible needs.
They would be moved by compassion for the people of the city.
They would point people to Jesus with every breath.

Every step of the way, they would invite people into God’s Mission!

The way our vision & mission plays out for us practically is to move into the neighborhood, to start loving and helping people practically, cultivating relationships, and identifying people who might be interested in dropping their nets to follow Jesus.

This is less about starting a church and more about being the church!

That means we won’t start by buying/renting a building.
We don’t need any projectors, lights or soundboards.
We don’t need a marketing budget.
We need a place to live and a lot of stinking food.

So what is our mission?

If life is all about worshiping Jesus, most people are missing the purpose of life! Our mission is laid out in front of us. We received our Great Commission from Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). We are supposed to be making disciples!

It couldn’t be any clearer! But so many of us have drifted from our mission. So many churches get distracted by other [good] opportunities.

What would it look like for a church to remain focused on their mission? What if a church could somehow keep discipleship at the center of our work? My friend and I have designed a process/strategy that will always bring us back to the primary mission; that is, God’s Mission in our neighborhood and in the world!

One last question: What would a church need to do to reach this city? Is there a plan for multiplication? What if we planted a church that plants churches? What if, rather than just growing, it was part of our plan from the beginning to send missionaries back into the city?

Our plan is just that! Our vision is to plant more churches in the city, making disciples and raising up leaders!

As we get started on this journey, our family will need help making this vision a reality! We know that God has called us to go, and we believe that God is raising up Kingdom-minded people who will send us! Would you pray about becoming a partner with us in this effort to plant a church in Columbus, Ohio?

Grand Avenue Baptist Church (Fort Smith, AR) has committed to be our sending church! We are so thankful for their investment in the Kingdom! They will be receiving all of the donations for a while, as we get started. If you’d like to help us get started, you can visit our page on their website at www.grandfamily.net/access. There is a PayPal link there where you can donate. It will go straight into their account and their amazing finance team will be handling all of our finances as we start (did I mention how thankful I am for them?!). Thank you so much for considering investing in this Kingdom work!

Student Ministry Worship

Sorry for the poor recording. We’re pretty low tech. But it just seemed like there was a special spirit in the air when this song was sung by our students. Interesting to note, it was the last song sung in the 2013-2014 school year.

Update On The Cox Family

Preschool_CanvasIn March, I announced that my family would be leaving our current ministry role at Indian Springs Baptist Church to plant a brand new church in Columbus, Ohio. Most people have some idea of what it looks like to leave one position for another, but I’ve found that a lot of my friends and family don’t have context for what it looks like to prepare to be church planters. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

1. We’ve been really busy with the student ministry. Graduation season is always really busy as our students are graduating high school and college. Also, all of our services in the summer are student-led, which makes it sound super easy on the youth pastor (it’s not). But it’s so worth it! I love that we’re spending our last precious months investing in our students, so that they can be equipped to do the work of the ministry. I like that picture better than me soaking up my last few moments on the stage.

I’ve had a couple people talk to me about when we’re going to “check out.” I just have a fundamental belief that God has us here on purpose and that the people in front of us are the ones we’ll serve. We’re not gone yet, so don’t expect us to check out. Even when we’re living in Columbus, we expect to keep in touch with everyone via social media. We said we were in it for the long haul, and we weren’t kidding.

2. I’m carving out as much time as possible for fund raising. We’ve been blessed with a huge financial partner (can’t wait to tell you that story)! But we still have a lot of work to do on fundraising. My goal is to raise an entire year’s worth of money before we ever move to Columbus. This will include our family’s living expenses and ministry budget. That may sound crazy to you, but we believe that our God is with us and will provide for us!

Thankfully, we won’t need many funds at all for our first year’s ministry budget. This will be another blog post for another day (again, another part of the story I can’t wait to tell), but we just have a desire to spend a lot of time with the people in our neighborhoods, schools, and community gathering places. This means we’ll be spending a lot of time around dinner tables and coffee shops. We won’t need a facility bigger than our house for a little while. Still, this requires the work of connecting with people who have a heart to expand God’s Kingdom through the work of church planting! It’s a lot of work, but I’m loving it! God has been doing a lot recently to show us that He’s got this!

3. We’re having our third child any day now! This is the point where you’re probably shaking your head and questioning our timing. “You’re going to walk away from a steady salary and plant a church a couple months after you have a baby? Are you crazy?!” My friends will readily tell you that crazy is just one of my shining characteristics.

Seriously, though, it is crazy. We know that. To help you understand, this is not our timing. God has done some crazy things over the last 6-12 months to make it extremely clear that this is His plan for us. Yes, we’re nervous. Yes, our parents are freaking out a bit. But you know what? God is faithful and He’s a better parent than I can even try to be. On the practical level, my wife is in the late stages of pregnancy and is ready to have a kid! We’re doing everything we can to get ready to welcome this baby into our home (cleaning off the old bassinet, pulling out the newborn clothes, trying to help our older kids to understand that this baby isn’t a punching bag, etc.).

4. I’m writing again. A couple years ago, I started a writing project and I dropped it. I grew discouraged with my lack of time to write and just filed all of that content away. Recently, I’ve felt a strong burst of inspiration to pick it back up. In fact, I’ve been writing furiously the last couple weeks or so and think I might be able to wrap it up by the end of the summer! Simply put, this book is about what it takes for the current generation of teenagers to step up and become next generation leaders. I’m convinced that there are a few disciplines that pastors, teachers, coaches, small group leaders, and parents can embrace that will help students realize their potential in the Kingdom. I’ve done some research around this topic and can’t wait to finish it! I’m hoping it will be a great resource for the church!

5. I’m selling t-shirts. Random, right? Well, I joined the team at Ink Custom Tees as an Account Executive. My work travels with me, which means I’ll be selling shirts in Ohio to help make ends meet. I’m thankful for some of you friends out there that have already put an order in for t-shirts (thanks Mandy, Casey and John!) and hope to be able to get churches, schools, businesses and non-profits connected with really great shirts! All proceeds will go to feed hungry children. Mine.

As of right now, we ship out in less than 4 months. We hope you’ll continue praying for us! We have lots of ground to cover, but we believe that the Lord has already covered it! We’re just walking the path that He has laid out for us!

One Last Thing Part 2: “Punishment or Preparation?”

In this message, I cap off the series, the school year, and my role as lead teacher at the Student Ministry of Indian Springs. In last week’s message, we looked at the life of Elijah (his prediction of a drought and time with the Widow at Zarephath).

In this week’s message, we answer the question, “Why did God choose to use Elijah here?” The key to this question lies in Elijah’s trust in God from the first moment that we meet him. It all stems from where your heart is, for our actions proceed from our heart, mind and soul.

“God Is Enough” (Stand-Alone Sermon)

Scott Workman, our summer intern, gives a message about the sufficiency of Christ, and how we try to fill our need for Him with other things. The following quote inspired the message: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God made known through Jesus Christ.” – Blais Pascal

One Last Thing Part 1: “Consider The Source”

It’s the end of another school year. More than that, this series comprises the last two messages that I will give in this student ministry. When given the opportunity to utter last words, you want them to count. This message was laid on my heart as the last thing I wanted to say to the student ministry.

The sermon title, “Consider The Source,” refers to the fact that God is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, as well as the Giver of all good gifts. HE is our source. As we live our life, we tend to put our trust in the gifts and not the Giver. This sermon series will stem from Elijah’s story in 1 Kings 17-19. When God calls us to do something, we need to remember that He will equip us for the task and walk with us through the tough times, even when it doesn’t make sense to us. We walk by faith, not by sight! Here’s Part 1 of “One Last Thing.”

Stand-Alone Sermon: “Lame Substitutes”

In one what was supposed to be the first part of the last series, this sermon ended up as a stand-alone to call the students of Indian Springs to a night of reflection and repentance.

WorldViews Part 4: “Christianity”

Jared wraps up the series by talking about Christianity, and how it contrasts to the other three world views that we talked about in this series.

WorldViews Part 3: “Islam”

In Part 3 of WorldViews, Jared introduces the basic beliefs of Islam and how it contrasts with Christianity.

WorldViews Part 2: “Judaism”

In part 2 of WorldViews, Jared explores the world of Judaism. As we progress through these different belief systems, its clear that Judaism and Christianity have a lot in common. However, the most important element that separates Christianity from all belief systems is Jesus! Here, Jared dives into the background and basic beliefs of Judaism.