Monday, April 28, 2008

Where did the CORE vision come from?

While at Exponential 2008 I had dinner with some church planting friends and was asked the following questions by one of them who was curious:

Where did the vision for CORE come from?
What did it look like?
How do you know it was from God and not just your own idea?

Here was my response:

  1. Burden: The vision started as a burden. Long before I knew God would send me back to Troy, the city where I was born and raised, He placed a constant burden upon me. My wife and I bought a home in Schenectady when we were married. We lived there for twelve great years. It was while living in Schenectady that I felt God calling me into full-time ministry. It was in Schenectady that God opened the door to me for inner-city ministry as I joined the staff of City Mission of Schenectady, where I served and learned for eleven years, as God shaped my heart and mind. I was about two years into my time at City Mission when God began to impress upon me the need to plant a church that would incorporate many of the elements of Rescue ministry. God further prepared me through formal schooling at Mid America Baptist Theologiocal Seminary's Northeast Campus. While God was preparing me for all of this I would often drive through the city of Troy and think and pray for the city I grew up in. I had often heard the news reports about shootings, drug raids and gang violence. I found myself praying often for the city of Troy.
  2. Vision: As I prayed through the burden God met me with vision; a mental picture of what could be, coupled with the passion to see it happen. I wish I could say He gave me the whole vision in the beginning, but it has come in phases. As my wife and I obeyed and went to the place God had shown us, He began to give me more and more of the vision.
  3. Provision: As God began to shape the vision for planting an inner-city church, and as we obeyed and went to Troy, He literally started giving us things; a church building, a house to live in, a once vacant lot (through another church that felt we would put it to good use for the kingdom of God) and finances as we have had need. We are not on any danger of swimming in money, yet we have not lacked anything we have needed to carry out all that God has given us. An oldet, wiser pastor who has been a mentor to me for many years once told me, "Wherever the Lord guides, He will always provide." We have found that to be true.