It's been a super long time since I've updated or posted anything on my own site. Last thing that happened was our son, Valor Dean, was born. So yeah, that's why I have neglected this. But now lets get back to it, and I'll start with an update I sent our home church back in NOLA, Vintage Church.
They are starting a church planting development network/community of sorts, and being among the first guys to graduate seminary and forge a new direction from God calling us outside of NOLA, I'm lucky enough to be apart of their trial run/beta program for it. It's called the GX network, for Gospel Multiplication, based on a teaching series Vintage did a few years ago.
Here is the update I sent them, along with some links on more info on Vintage Church's MORE initiative and the GX network.
Vintage Church MORE Initiative:
Detailed info, including the sending out of church plants at home and abroad:
After being a part of the early days of Vintage, thanks to the invite by our campus neighbors, Scott and Wendy McGuire, Vintage Church has been an immense part of our story and formation as ministers of the Gospel, both as a couple and individually. It was bittersweet to move away over 2 years ago now, because our closest friends and co-laborers in the Gospel were formed through serving New Orleans through Vintage. Needless to say, we are super encouraged and excited that Vintage Church and its staff continue to encourage us as well as help to push the Gospel forward through the MORE campaign there in NOLA and abroad through the many that God continues to send out.
So one story that stands out as a wild example of God’s sovereignty and provision is how we’ve been given a lot of coffee equipment. It’s been a recurring desire and dream of mine to continue to work in the coffee world and use it more directly in ministry as a way to keep our own hands in the marketplace, allowing us chances to meet people from wider backgrounds and stories.
My pastoral partner, Scott Carter, was back in New Jersey, where he’s from, visiting churches and giving updates to those that have previously supported them as missionaries. He mentioned that his new pastoral partner is in the coffee business and maybe someday our church ministry could do its own thing in some capacity as a way to gather and meet people. After church that day, a couple approached him saying they had equipment they wanted to give to him. Turns out it’s 2 espresso machines, a grinder, a decked-out mobile cart with a fridge and water pump, and other various equipment. They had intended to start a business and never did, so their equipment was used a few times for church and then put in storage.
From there others have given us money and equipment, including the coffee shop I currently work for, who gave me a quality commercial bulk coffee brewer to help start us off. It’s incredible that they support me and have even given me equipment to start my own business.
We could of course go on about how God continues to orchestrate such things, but to the point, our hope is that Scott and I can get our own mobile coffee business going to be an alternative revenue stream for us as the pastors, so we can leave our other jobs. If we could get to the point of being financially supported through a combination of our own mobile coffee business and church support, we would be freed to work on ministry tasks more, while also supporting our families through work that also allows us to build more relationships and find inroads into the community.
As our team grows, we are having success and favor with inviting in friends and coworkers who don’t know Jesus and/or aren’t connected to a local church. Besides praying for salvations and lives changed, pray for our leaders and a unified vision.
We have a need for more leaders, as well as spiritual health and protection of our leaders as they preach the Gospel to those in bondage of sin. The enemy does not like it and will do anything to bring division or diminish the heart and drive of those proclaiming Jesus, as well as distract and discourage those hearing the Gospel. We have already been seeing specific instances of spiritual attack and distraction, and are praying against it.
As for our unified vision, our mission and vision is to help people “take their next steps with Jesus” and see lives changed. As Pastor Rob always preaches at Vintage, it’s always a win if God uses us to move an unbeliever even one step closer to faith, or continue to spur the believer to a deeper walk.
So, as we continue to grow, we pray that this vision keeps getting fleshed out well, and that leaders, and new leaders yet to join, can catch the vision and run with it as God uses them to be the church in their own individual contexts and ministries. We also pray that God would continue to use us all to preach Christ and see our friends and neighbors come to a saving faith as God uses us through our vision of helping people take their next steps with Jesus.
Our overall big need is support, both locally and financially. We would love to gain support and camaraderie with other local churches and ministries here in the DSM metro area, which I’ve been working towards. It would be great for collaboration, brotherhood, resource sharing, etc. and maybe even other churches sending some leaders over to join us who are in our area that would share our vision.
The other support need is financial. I have secured some funds for operation cost support through NAMB, but extra would be a big help for equipment, like chairs, which we are running out of chairs quickly from the ones we’ve borrowed. We currently have space, but are running out of seats, which is a problem you want to have!
Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement. The GX network and partnership fulfills a need for encouragement, support, and prayer that anyone stepping out in a new ministry cannot do without. We are humbled and excited to be a part of the Vintage story from our years in New Orleans, and forward to Des Moines and any other community, city, or country that God sends GX partners into. We miss you all and cannot wait to visit our NOLA home and family again.