My First Recruit…Well Kinda
My life and ministry experiences gave me a unique skill set and desire for church planting. My skills were developed while working at my first appointment at The Rock La Roca in every role from pastor to custodian. My heart for church planting was fostered through experiences that had left me a broken man. I had found healing in my brokenness through my relationship with Christ, and I wanted other broken people to experience the same healing I found. This desire spurred the vision of planting Embrace Church.
I pitched the idea about planting a church to New Church and Congregational Development (NCCD), and they supported it. NCCD was established to encourage church plants and planters within the United Methodist Church in Kentucky. Young people between the ages of 18-35, especially men, are virtually nonexistent in the church. Without younger people coming in and taking the reins, churches will begin to die. I had a challenge in front of me, but knew with God’s help it could be accomplished.
I decided I’d better get to work. I started meeting everybody and anybody to ask them to be a part of this new church. My first recruit didn’t exactly work out so much as you can tell from my journal entry, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”:
There are some things seminary just doesn’t teach you. I paid $50,000 for an education I could have gotten by just living in the 40505 zip. Life in the “05” has been my schoolmaster over the past few years, especially in the last 48 hours. It all started when I came home from Aaron’s house where we were watching Office Space. I came in about halfway into the movie, and then Peter came by a few minutes later. We were all cracking up hysterically, specifically when I said the boss Lumbergh looked like one of my seminary profs. After the movie, Peter took me home. I noticed my roommate was out. I started getting worried because I noticed his bike was gone and it was 11 p.m. I was alarmed because he’s usually in bed by 9:30 p.m. I knew something was wrong at that point. I decided I was going to look for him around 7th street because it is a huge drug-trafficking area. I grabbed my keys and left the house only to say, “Dude, where’s my car?” It was then that I knew Dustin took off with it. I called Peter back because I knew he was up. Peter picked me up around 12:30 to go look for my car and Dustin. As we were driving along, we were being solicited for drugs left and right. What are two young, white guys doing creeping in a vehicle after dark on 7th Street? There was no sign of Dustin so I went home. I decided I was going to call the police and tell them my car was stolen. While on the phone with the police officer, there was a knock on the door. It was Aaron along with Dustin. Dustin had been up all night and wanted a place to lie down for an hour. I couldn’t let him in because I knew as soon as he got up he would need another fix and my whole house would be empty. Dustin told me my car was at a nearby house at the Lighthouse Recovery Ministries. Dustin had taken my watches, knives, some money, and sold my car for $20! Here is where it gets weirder. Aaron and I went on a reconnaissance mission to steal my car back. When I got into my car, I noticed a burned mark on my floor from crack that had been smoked and fallen. As I was pulling out, a prostitute tried to get into my passenger seat. When Aaron and I get back to my house, we called Tey, the director of the Lighthouse. Tey said that the guy who bought my car was complaining to her how two African-Americans came and stole his car. Since I couldn’t let Dustin in the house, I made him sleep in the garage. I came and sat with him a few hours and I could tell how sorry he was. The person who stole from me and sold my car was not Dustin but in the grip that the cocaine had on him. I loved him like a brother and still do. I could tell that he was repentant. We ended up taking him to detox. I am still going to work with Dustin because I believe in God’s plan for his life.
Church planting didn’t seem to be off to a very good start. I was left hurt and in disbelief again. I knew I couldn’t give up and needed to develop a strategy quickly before discouragement set in. I needed God’s wisdom to help plan what he wanted this church to look like. All I knew to do was pray!