Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV) 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
January of 2010 began a journey. God began to transform my dream for City on a HillChurch into a vision. In an intense season of prayer and fasting God spoke clearly to me and since that time I can humbly say I have never heard God more clearly and concisely than I do. His hand of anointing, favor, provision, and protection have rested heavily upon my life and COAH. During that time I knew some major changes were going to have to take place you can’t plant a church and work at a church so my journey began by walking away from my career and into my God -ordained calling. It was during this time that God really began shaping the vision straight out of scripture giving me the mission of reaching the Lost [Luke 15/ 19:10] , bringing home the Wanderers [Ezk. 34], and reaching, teaching, training, and sending Missionaries back into the cultures from which they came. [Matt. 28:18-20]. My passion in life is to Love God, Love People and Preach Jesus. Our church exists today because we believe in God’s Law of Attraction: Jesus said if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me. We believe that God is good and He expects us to be good. We believe that we are blessed to be a blessing. We don’t do good for the sake of good we do good to the glory of God.We believe people are not resources they are people. We care more about who you are then what you have or what you can do for us. Most importantly we believe it is all about Jesus, it has always been about Jesus, and it will always be about Jesus. With all of these core values the dream was transforming into a vision where we would seek to build, become, and be a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time. God also placed another part of the vision on us that is truly God –sized. We believe that we will see five sovereign churches planted in the next ten years from City on a Hill Church. What I love about my dream is that it can’t happen without God! What I love about this vision is that it can’t happen without God! There is no way anyone can take credit for City on a Hill Church all of the glory belongs to God. 2010 has been a year of spiritual markers for me and just when I thought I was cresting God steps in and let’s me see this is just the beginning.
I have experienced one of the most powerful events in my life as a Christ follower and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. April 2010 we began holding launch team meetings by May 2010 we had a launch team of 80 plus recognizing the divine call of God on my life and recognizing me as their pastor. We opened out doors May 23, 2010the day of Pentecost and the original birthday of the church and we have done nothing but grow exponentially since that time. September 2010 we had of first baptism class with 22 baptized. God has blessed us with an 11,000 square foot campus, powerful Worship, Media, Set Up-Tear Down, Children’s, Youth, Men’s, Women’s, Missions, Outreach, Hospitality, Parking, Ushers-Greeter, and other ministries. We partnered with five local and global missions ministries offering tangible and monetary support. Last year we gave away over $13,000 dollars in Missions [local and global] and Benevolence because we believe we are blessed to be a blessing. January 9, 2011 we had a record breaking gathering. God called together 342 people from the North, South, East, and West and it was amazing. We had folks from Sarasota to Clearwater to the four corners of St. Petersburg. Unmistakably, undeniably God! Does this sound like a church plant?No! You know what it sounds like? A sovereign move of God! 2010 was a spiritual marker for COAH all to the glory of God! I am awestruck by the goodness and the greatness of our God. It gets better!
January 6, 2011 will mark my life forever because the divine call of God on my life was acknowledged by the ordaining body of City on a Hill Church, the Board of Trustees.These choice servants of God laid their hands on me, prayed over me, and ordained me as the pastor. Understand I was previously ordained by another Church governing body in 2000. But this was even more special. I am humbled and honored by this incredible group of men and women who recognize the divine call of God on my life and ministry. It will forever be a spiritual marker for me that ranks right up there with my salvation and baptism. What is even more exciting is I believe this was the beginning of us fulfilling the God-given vision birthed in me for City on a Hill Church to see those five churches planted in the next ten years. We can now begin our journey and as God sends us young men and women whom He has called to be church planters we can train them, equip them, prepare them, ordain them, lay hands on them and send them out into change their world for the cause of Christ.
I want to explain ordination. Ordination defined is to invest officially as by the laying on of hands with ministerial or priestly authority. In most Protestant churches, ordination to the pastoral office is the rite by which their various churches:
- recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry,
- acknowledges that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call,
- authorizes that individual to take on the office of ministry.
For the sake of authorization and church order, and not for reason of ‘powers’ or ‘ability’, individuals in most mainline Protestant churches must be ordained in order to preside at the sacraments Baptism and Holy Communion, and to be installed as a called pastor of a congregation or parish. I believe that credentials equal credibility so what this does for COAH and for those future church planters and ministers of the Gospel is it gives us a covering, an accountability that goes far beyond jumping online and becoming ordained. It is easy to do and many can be ordained by the end of the day for a price. Some even become ordained just to mock the process not understanding or respecting that being ordained isn’t a piece of paper it is a body of believers recognizing a divine calling your life. A high value should be placed on ordination that goes far beyond dollar signs it is a lifelong calling. Ordination through City on a Hill Church gives these precious men and women of God the opportunity to have someone recognize the divine call on their lives and confirm and affirm that calling by the laying on of hands. It gives their calling and ministry credibility and it also keeps them accountable to live a life worthy of their calling. Ordination will be a spiritual marker in their lives as it has been in mine to the glory of God.
Just when I thought my church planting experience couldn’t get any more awesome God goes and makes it awesomer [yes I said awesomer!] by giving me eyes to see His plan and delivery system for our future impact on our city, region, and world. Glory to God!
2 Peter 1:3-10 (NIV) 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,