The Paradox Church | Ft Worth, TX
- Jim Essian
- Jan 7, 2011
- Series: Church Profiles
- Categories: Church Planting Articles, Latest News
Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church
God called my wife and I to move from Detroit to Fort Worth, TX in 2006 after spending 8 years in professional baseball. His call to plant a church became clear soon thereafter and we began praying and envisioning as early as 2008.
How did you build up your core? What advice would you give to guys in the core-stage?
If you are planting in the city you are living in then I would just say be a good Christian: be on mission, love Jesus, disciple men. Then, when it is time and the Holy Spirit has cleared you to go to work, you have already built a foundation.
The best way to train your initial core to be on mission is to take them on mission. Have them around when you meet with other people, continually tell stories about the people you are meeting with, the gospel conversations you are having, and the guys you are praying would meet Jesus. Just be a man on mission.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?
The biggest challenge in Fort Worth, TX is the work it takes in the deconstruction of false or incomplete views of what a Christ-follower is. It takes a lot of patience; something most church planters don't have...or so I've heard.
How did you become involved with Acts 29? What have been the biggest benefits of being in the network?
I heard about Acts 29 through listening to Mars Hill's podcast. The biggest benefit for me is the - coming from a lifetime of being in a baseball clubhouse -the camaraderie and brotherhood of like-minded, yet diverse, men.
What advice do you have for men who are wrestling with the decision to plant?
Pray more than you think you should pray; Wait longer than you think you should wait; And intern at an Acts 29 plant, preferably one that is just starting or still very much in its infancy.
How do you pastor your family?
My wife loves Jesus and is so in tune with the Holy Spirit's work in her life she makes it easy. I simply try to have regular Gospel conversations with her, I pray with her almost every night, and I am constantly trying to learn how best to be a grace-strengthened, gentle, kind shepherd-husband to her.
Outside of the Bible, what is the most helpful book you have read for church planting?
Desiring God by John Piper and trying to teach its principles to our men.
Mission, Vision, Values of Church
"lives transformed for the good of the city and the Glory of God"
:: re|focus – to focus something again
the first and most important thing the paradox church will be about is Jesus. we must re|focus our view of the true Jesus, as one who holds all things together (Col 1:17). Jesus is truth (Jn 14:6, Jn 16:13). He is revealed in the truth of Scripture (Jn 17:17) and we seek to glorify Him in truth (Ps 51:6).
we all worship something. your time, energy, creativity, money, and resources go to something that is ultimate. the Cross frees us to re|focus our passions for the One, True, Ultimate. all of life is worship (Rom 12:1).
:: re|form – to become changed for the better
re|form happens in authentic, gritty, raw community (Pr 27:17). right now our people meet in homes and celebrate life with good food and good wine and good laughs. a community of re|form has depth. we stir one another up to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24). we pray together, struggle together, go through miscarriages together, deaths, pain, hurt. through grace and love and truth the Gospel is made known and re|form occurs.
we are called to bring about re|form in our city (Jer 29:7), not by railing against it from the outside but by loving it from the inside; by caring for orphans (and the poor), and widows (and single moms), and the homeless, and the fatherless, and the oppressed (Jas 1:27) - like Jesus (Luke 4:18-19).
:: re|surge – a rising again into life or prominence
reconciled christians are to re|surge, living out the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). knowing that God put us where we are and when for His purpose (Acts 17:26), we herald the Gospel (Rom 10:14-15) and live it out being purposeful in everything we do. hobbies, work, dinner, marriage, music – everything – is done on mission for the Gospel and for the city, and for the people of the city, like Jesus did (Jn 1:14, 17:18) – even as we seek the city to come (Heb 13:14).
for any of this to happen our men must re|surge. men need to be confronted, challenged, and trained. they will be raised up and instructed to love and lead their wives and family (Eph 5:25-29), lead their church (1 Tim 3), lead and teach other men (2 Tim 2:2), fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12), and build a paradox culture within the city.
What is your philosophy of community in your church and what does that look like practically in your church? Of evangelism?
True biblical community is impossible without real, raw, Gospel conversations. It takes grace; which takes conflict; which takes fighting sin.
Evangelism has been reduced to "inviting your friend to church" in the South. So what I have been trying to constantly remind our people is that we don't just invite folks to a gathering, but into our lives and homes. And if Gospel conversations are normal, just an air you breathe, than the proclamation of the Gospel should happen early and often.
What are some examples of God's grace that you have seen in your life and/or the life of your church?
He has shown us his flexing power to save and transform.
He has given me City View's leadership as an authority, advocate, and counsel.
He has given us men who desire holiness and to grow as leaders.
He graciously gave us favor with a number of churches and individuals so that we didn't have to buy anything. So much was given to us: trailer, stage, sound equipment, projector screen, etc.
How can we pray for you?
Pray that I would be a man who so desires and fears the God of the Universe that I would die and pray daily with deep affections for Him. Pray that I would lead my wife and daughter fearlessly, ferociously, and lovingly.
November 14, 2013
Event: 2013 Raleigh Boot Camp
Author: Ray Ortlund, Jr.