I remember this moment distinctly…
We had just moved back to Stanly County, and my new office was a coffee shop in the corner of a small town. I was on my way home from lunch and this thought hit me:
“This isn’t about a church at all. This is about me & Jesus.”
A few years before that moment God called my wife Amanda and myself to move to Stanly County so that we could start a church in our hometown of Albemarle, NC. This was something that we wrestled with for a while, and eventually Jesus convinced us that this was exactly what He wanted us to do.
When God calls you to start a church you dream about church. You dream about the different ways you can reach out, the way you want to organize ministries, what you want to preach about, and the list keeps going. I can talk about that stuff all day long. I love the church. It’s been a passion of mine for years.
I made the announcement to the church we were serving in Columbia, SC in the Fall of 2011 that we’d be moving to start a church. That meant that we’d leave everything we knew for years: our jobs, our home, and our friends.
When I announced this to our church, I told them this:
“I don’t know if we’ll be successful. I only know I can’t avoid this; I have to go.”
God wants us right there: where the only thing we want is Him.
When God calls you into something it’s easy to get confused about what’s central in the journey. It’s too easy to let the destination become the object of the journey, but that’s not what Jesus wants.
Jesus said “I am the way…” (John 14:6). The path is Jesus, and if we get confused about that we can make good things supreme things.
In that moment I realized that starting Vortex was simply about being obedient to Jesus, no matter the cost or result. I realized that God knew me and loved me so greatly that He’d invite me into a journey like this knowing that this is exactly what I needed to take the next step with Him.
It’s not about a church. It’s never been about a church. It’s been about taking the next step, and then the next one, and then the next.
This past year I’ve blown this more that I would ever care to admit, but I’m learning that when you’re willing to let Jesus be the journey everything becomes a beautiful invitation into a next step.
When someone does you wrong it’s an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus by giving grace. When someone responds to message and commits their life to Jesus it’s an opportunity to identify with them and realize that message of redemption is just as needed by me right now as it is for them in that moment of commitment.
At Vortex we believe that God has invited us into a life-altering journey to get closer to Jesus and make an eternal difference in the life of others.
I am committed to that message, and it’s changing my life.