Home > Uncategorized > Why Charlotte? Why Us?

Why Charlotte? Why Us?

Skyline2013We received an incredible amount of support in response to our announcement last Friday to which we can only say Thank You! Over the coming year’s diet of blogposts I’ll without a doubt put up some posts relating to this journey we’ve started in on. It’s a way for us to process everything and a way to keep you updated on how to pray. If you’d like more information about our plans for Charlotte, LET US KNOW HERE 

When Courtney and I began to feel a sense of confirmation that we were going to plant a new church, the next obvious question was…where? How do you decide on a place to go plant not just a church, but the rest of your life? Thankfully I am surrounded by some pretty strong Christian men whose wisdom helped me as, once again, I try and figure out what God is calling me to do. After praying, fasting, and having a lot of conversations I think we came to the decision by working through a familiar set of three filters*

1. Opportunity: Where does the community say I am needed? 3 reasons Charlotte rocketed quickly to the top for us:
1. The People – I’ve been visiting charlotte for 10 years since my college roommate moved to the QC. I love the energy and sense of pride that permeates Charlotte that says “whatever ATL, we are the true southern city!” These people embody the good parts of southern culture (hospitality, sweet tea, and work ethic) while also embracing the progressive personality of a true metropolitan city (hating traffic, loving the arts, & hopeful for what’s next). Charlotte is projected to grow by 71% in the next 15 years making it the co-fastest growing city in the US (respect RDU). While much of that growth is coming from the Northeast and internationally, people are coming from everywhere to the Queen City! Which means…catch this…we can reach the nations through Charlotte. Seriously, one estimate is that there are close to 100 languages spoken in the charlotte metro area. People groups Americans could never go visit are represented by refugees living in Charlotte. My prayer is that you get as excited as me about what that means for a church. Now lets keep going. Young Professionals are flocking to the city and they represent a key demographic that responds to new movements like a church plant. UNCCUNCC is the 2nd largest university in the state and will likely become the largest in the next 5 years…and they now have a football team! Add in 4 other growing colleges and you have a huge  population who often make the faith decisions that will determine their life trajectory during these undergrad years. I decided to live for Christ my freshman year and ever since I’ve felt a real calling to be a part of a church that reaches and disciples college students.

2. The Spiritual Climate – One thing I feel a real burden to make sure our launch team, friends, family, and supporters understand is that Charlotte of 2014 is not Charlotte of 1980. More churches are closing their doors than opening them every year in Charlotte. Despite population increase, church involvement is on the decline. The top 9 most unreached neighborhoods in North Carolina are inside the city limits of Charlotte.** The growing population demands more gospel-centered church families! Many more!  Even so, God is doing great work through several faithful churches in Charlotte and we are honored to bring reinforcements Studies confirm that the average new church gains 1/3 to 2/3 of its new members from the ranks of people who are not attending any worshipping body, while churches over 10 to 15 years of age gain 80 to 90 percent of new members by transfer from other congregations.*** So a booming city like charlotte needs new churches to engage those who don’t have a church family yet!
On top of the stats, The idols of financial security, social significance, success, and leisure have become the unspoken gods worshipped by most of those in the city. Underneath these idols is a deep insecurity marked by fear of failure or exposure. I know these idols because they are mine as well! And I’m so thankful God saved me from them. The gospel brings freedom from these idols that many have become enslaved to. The Charlotte of today needs the gospel more than ever. We are hopeful and honored that, with God’s grace, we will get to build a gospel-centered church family for the Queen City.

3. Our Sending Church – A theme in this post is relying on the input of others. Charlotte was identified by The Summit Church and many missions agencies as a strategic city to plant a gospel-centered church. I recognize I have biases that I cant even see so I relied heavily on the counsel of our church. When their desire matched mine, I knew we might have something really good in the making.

2. Passion: What am I passionate about? For me this was one of the instigators of the entire process. When i started my position as a small groups pastor I was hungry. My passion to see the church be a healthy body of Christ made me hungry for creating the best possible small groups the church could have. building a healthy church was a moral imperative for me. I HAD TO DO IT. And you know what? By God’s grace that passion has not subsided one bit. If anything, it has grown. I am confident God has called me to vigilantly disciple & shepherd his church for the rest of my life. But, recently God began to stir two other passions: Leading the church and teaching the scriptures. As I processed those with the elders here at the Summit they challenged me, rightly so, to make sure that wasn’t pride or wander-lust, but genuine God-given desire Paul tells timothy about in 1 Timothy 3. This took time. the better part of 2 years actually. I’m so grateful for that process as I feel much more prepared now than I did two years ago.

3. Ability: What do others say I’m good at? This was the scariest part for me. I wanted to be good at preaching and leading. But just because I want to be doesn’t mean that I am. I cannot stress this enough: The best thing I could do for my future was to submit my pride to the counsel of others. And this is another reason I am so grateful for 6 years of preaching practice here in different arenas at the Summit. because while i might have had some natural gifts, I needed a lot of practice. Many are in that same camp I think. They desire to do something so they assume they are good at it. What a humbling process that was for me! Basically my coaches 6 years ago said “you might be good one day, but you need work. go get some practice.” Now, I still need a lot of work but man I’m a different preacher than 6 years ago. By God’s grace I’ll be a different preacher 6 years from now. But, ultimately during this process those around me have affirmed that God has called and equipped me for teaching the bible and leading the church.

* These criteria are adapted from a post by J.D. Greear who took it from Tim Keller…who probably got it from Paul. Here is J.D.’s post on it.
**Tracked by NCBSC in analysis of the most recent U.S. Census
*** see Center Church by Tim Keller. pg 359. Multiple studies cited

Categories: Uncategorized
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  1. September 22, 2014 at 10:14 am
  2. January 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm

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