Gospel Community Church | Fayetteville, GA
- Kirk McDonald
- Dec 12, 2012
- Series: Church Profiles
- Categories: Church Planting Articles, Latest News
Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church
In 2007, I married my beautiful wife and became a student pastor, where I served faithfully for five years. It was an incredible blessing to see God work in the lives of students and to be a part of their growing relationship with Jesus.
In January of 2011, my wife, Chelsea, and I felt like God was calling us to a new ministry. We called that calling the “holy disturbance.” In February, we attended the Acts29 Boot Camp in Orlando, and after much prayer, fasting, and seeking wise counsel, we believed God was calling us to plant a church. Once we returned home, we comprised a document consisting of the evidence that God had provided us that we should plant a church. In addition, we wrote our statement of faith, core values, and philosophy of ministry. We then submitted these documents to our church family and other trusted brothers and sisters in Christ to help confirm our calling and to seek their blessing. By the close of this process, in March of 2011, we knew God had called us to plant a Gospel-centered, church-planting church that is passionate about making disciples on mission for Jesus.
How did you build up your core? What advice would you give to guys in the core-stage?
In June of 2011, we began our vision nights where we invited practically everyone we knew to pray for the future of Gospel Community Church. We fed people dinner, preached the Gospel, and explained to the 60+ people who came what Gospel Community Church would be all about. At the end of each meeting, family after family received the call to be a part of the core team. After assembling the initial core team, training began. We met on Friday nights for 6 months to preach core doctrines and to begin instilling the DNA of who Gospel Community Church would be.
If I were to give any advice to men building a core team, it would be to welcome anyone and everyone whom God brings. Welcome the believer, the non-believer, old, young, white, black, rich, and poor. In our experience, the people whom we thought would come and be a part of our core group, didn’t come. Some of the families that did come, we thought would never be a fit, but the Holy Spirit knit them into our community. If God is calling you to plant, He will bring you the people that you need, but they may just not be the people you expect.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?
The biggest challenge for our church definitely has been being a parachute. Not only did my family and I move into a city that we knew nothing about, but many other families moved into this city with us. So this means that 90% of our core group parachuted in with us! I did not know anyone, and neither did our core group. This was difficult for me as I was trying to learn what it meant to live on mission in a place you don’t know and teach others to do it as well. Obviously, to live on mission you must be intentional, but we have had to be extremely intentional in everything we do in order to build relationships with the people in this city. After a while, what we discovered is our greatest challenge ended up being a great benefit! As a leader, this lifestyle change was an amazing learning experience for me. Also, it was a benefit because it’s always good to teach your people to be extremely missional!
How did you become involved with Acts 29? What have been the biggest benefits of being in the network?
I’m a bit of a podcast junkie. So I constantly listen to guys like Driscoll and Chandler. When I knew God had called me to plant it seemed like a no brainer that I would go through A29, and after attending a boot camp I was convinced. I wanted to fight alongside men like these. I was so encourage of their commitment to doctrinal purity while keeping a missional approach as well. The biggest benefit to me has been the advice and coaching. I am a young, inexperienced, untrained pastor. While that has its benefits, it also can be very dangerous! So these men have come alongside me and given me advice, help, and sometimes rebuke that has shaped my family, my church, and me. In the early stages, I would meet with them with a long list of questions and they were gracious enough to answer them all. Often times they would not necessarily answer my questions, but help ask the right questions. I am incredibly grateful for the men in the Georgia Region.
What advice do you have for men who are wrestling with the decision to plant?
If you can do anything else do it. I know that’s the standard answer but this has been the most difficult thing I have ever endured. It is long days and even longer nights. It is heart breaking and extremely humbling. You will be put in emotionally difficult situations and will discover how little you actually have under control. Now, its not all misery, doom, and gloom. This season of my life has also brought the greatest joy and satisfaction I have ever experienced. I believe my marriage is the strongest it has ever been and I feel insanely closer to Jesus, but how I experienced the joys are through great trials and pain. “Those that God will use mightily he will wound deeply.” – Mark Driscoll
What’s the most important thing you’d want to share with a new church planter?
Plant a church that’s all about Jesus. Some are tempted to make their church about themselves. They want people to come hear them preach, and fill up the auditorium with people so they feel successful. Others plant trying to gain favor with God and earn their salvation, and still some plant to see social reform in their city. There are hundreds of false idols you can devote your life to under the banner of church planting. The problem is all those reasons spell disaster for the organization and the planter. When planting a church, it must be all about Jesus. His name, His fame, and His glory must be the central purpose of everything you do and every decision you make. In addition, after you plant this has to be a question that you are constantly asking yourself...Is this church plant about me and my idols, or is it all about Jesus?
How do you pastor your family in the midst of starting a church?
I have tried to take a two-fold approach. One is time with them. Monday is our family day, and I guard it like a rabid dog. I don’t answer phone calls, check email, or do anything church business related. I try to be not just physically present but emotionally present on those days as well. A good pastor/shepherd knows his flock intimately, and that only comes with consistently spending time with them. The second thing I do is, throughout the week, try to bring my family with me when I can. This shows the people, that you are pastoring, that family should be a priority, and it allows your family to see you pastor other people.
Outside of the Bible, what is the most helpful book you have read for church planting?
Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
Church Profile: Gospel Community Church
Launch Date: January 2012
Location: Fayetteville, GA
Mission, Vision, Values of Church
What is our mission?
We want to make disciples on mission for Jesus. Our prayer is that God would use us in His plan to redeem what is lost and broken in His creation. We want to see unbelievers become believers! We want to train those believers to become disciples--disciples that will then be on this same mission for Jesus.
What is our vision?
Our vision is to see the city of Fayetteville transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will achieve this by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the preached Gospel message and missional communities—communities that will reach their city by actively engaging in the culture, just like Jesus did. Through these missional community groups, the lost will be reached and more churches will be planted.
We Will Seek the Men First
We Will Be a Church-Planting Church
We Will Seek the Full Counsel of God
We Will Be Christ-Centered
We Will Live On Mission
We Will Be a Gospel Community
Intimate Corporate Worship
What are some examples of God's grace that you have seen in your life and/or the life of your church?
In the life of our church we have seen, recently, a wave of victory over sin. Men struggling with porn, anger, and pride; women who struggle with worry, anxiety, and fear have been reporting that God is doing a work in their life, and they are experiencing victory over those sins. Sin is a terrible poison that corrodes our lives. So when I hear people in our church killing their sin I get fired up, and thank God for his grace!
How can we pray for you?
Pray that God would use us to reach Fayetteville. We want to see this valley of dry bones come to life! Pray for our faithfulness, as we have parachuted into a religious town with lots of churches but not a lot of Christians. This combination makes for hard soil, so we must be faithful to keep our hand to the plow. Pray for humility and wisdom. We are a young church and often lack those things.
March 29, 2012
Event: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp
Author: Panel Discussion
March 29, 2012
Event: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp
Author: Matt Chandler
March 29, 2012
Event: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp
Author: Steve Timmis
Next Boot Camps
Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Friday, September 20, 2013
Crossline Community Church
Laguna Hills, California
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - Thursday, November 07, 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - Thursday, February 20, 2014
Christ Fellowship Church