For the last 12 months I’ve been serving as the Campus Pastor for a new Church we planted in the city of Athens…. not quite Athens, Greece… Athens, Georgia… but Athens none the less.
Athens I discovered is actually a really cool town… for a small town it boasts a pretty impressive line up of musical acts that have gotten off the ground in Athens… REM, B52′s, Wide Spread Panic… and the new local heroes ‘Family and Friends’ (look them up!!)
Athens is also home to the University of Georgia, a great school with roughly 40,000 students… so much of the heart of Grace Fellowship Church has been to strategically locate ourselves near College Campuses, with the aim of Reaching, Discipling and ultimately Sending out the leaders who will be creating culture and influencing society for years to come.
In roughly March 2013 our Senior Pastor, Buddy Hoffman, nearly died of a serious heart problem, he survived, but the plan that was in place for him to be preaching consistently at Grace Athens in the Fall semester when the Church would really launch had to be shelved. So I was given the challenge to lead the team, establish the Church and consider whether this was a place Jessica and I could see ourselves long term. My good friends John Raymond and Reuben Bidez joined the team and we began to meet regularly in a Chapel on UGA’s campus in August of 2013.
Though it became clear throughout the year that this wasn’t the place for Jessica and I long term, it has been an incredible journey… we baptized a tonne of people, saw 4 House Church communities launched in Athens, a bunch of Discipleship groups… and honestly had some of the most powerful moments of worship and ministry I’ve ever been privileged to be a part of. It was an incredible year, I got to spend time with students who are going to have massive impact in the Kingdom… and over time my heart really grew to love Athens, UGA and more importantly the people who had become part of our new baby Church.
It’s bittersweet to be finishing up my time in Athens… bitter, because I’ll miss being an active part in what God is doing out there, and sweet because I’ll be able to focus back at Grace Midtown… a community I love.
So for now Jessica and I will be back at Grace Midtown, launching and resourcing House Churches in the College Campuses of Atlanta… personally I feel like God stirred up some stuff in me in my time in Athens that I’ll never forget, he blessed me with a confidence and a desire to lead at a different level. I believe some exciting things are in the future for us..
Such a great season… all my friends in Grace Athens, I’ll miss you guys, thank you for embracing me as your Pastor, keep bringing the Kingdom wherever you find yourself. go dawgs!