Part 1—Bryan and Amy Grant
WORDS // Bryan Grant
As I sat white-knuckled behind the wheel of a 26-foot Penske moving truck, slowly crawling through the mountains of North Carolina, I really began to wonder for the first time what I’d gotten my wife and myself into. A few hours before, we had said our final goodbyes and started the long drive from Jacksonville, Florida to Indianapolis in pursuit of the adventure to which God had called us: a new church plant.
It had already been a whirlwind year for us. Amy and I were longtime friends who started dating in February of 2015, got engaged later that summer, and married the following January. A month after our wedding, we announced to our friends, family and pastor/boss that we’d be leaving our secure and comfortable full-time ministry positions at a megachurch to be part of a new church plant. Six months after that, I sat in the driver’s seat of the moving truck replaying everything.
One of the most important questions we asked ourselves before we made the transition was, “If we do this, are we running toward or away from what God has for us?” We both agreed that if the answer was the latter, we were staying put. The fact is, we had every reason to stay in Jacksonville. Family was there, we had an incredible church, and we had the best group of life-giving friendships anyone could ask for. But despite the fact that we had plenty of reasons to stay, the desire and pull God put in our hearts to be a part of a church plant only grew. Discerning God’s will can be challenging when presented with two equally worthy options.
One thing that Amy and I were convinced of was that God would partner us with someone in our family of believers to build His Kingdom. So, when we heard that our friends, Jon and Kelley Owens, were planting a church called City of Lights, our interest was piqued. When we heard their vision for a church that would embrace and cultivate creativity through the arts as a platform to share the gospel, we were practically salivating. And when they shared their vision for a church that would foster diversity and reconciliation in the community, we felt compelled to be a part of it. After much prayer and council with friends and mentors, we knew we had to go.
As I remembered the events of the past year, my grip on the steering wheel began to loosen as I let God take control of the adventure that awaited.
Reflecting nearly a year and a half after moving halfway across the country, I’m not going to say it’s been all thrill and adventure—although that’s definitely been a part of it. Leaving everything you’ve ever known and the comfort and security that comes along with that is hard.
Being a part of building a spiritual family from the ground up is incredibly difficult and full of challenges.
But if you asked me today if I’d do it all over again, I’d say yes in a heartbeat. Along with the difficulty comes the birthing of new friendships, the satisfaction felt when creating something new, and the thrill of seeing someone come into relationship with Jesus who might not have had we not been obedient to His calling.
If you’re reading this and you’re trying to decide, “Is being a part of a church plant for me?” I’ll state the obvious. Have you prayed about it? It’s far too important a decision to just try on a whim. If it’s something God is calling you to, there will be grace and provision for it. Second, make sure you get advice from trusted friends and mentors. They’ll intercede on your behalf and provide valuable insight. If being a part of a church plant is something you decide is for you, all I can say is buckle up—it’s going be a wild ride, in the best possible way.