In 2002 my wife, Kim, and I started to sense a calling from God to do something to reach people in our neighborhood and our kids' schools. We prayed, but God didn't open any doors at that time, so we waited. In 2003, two major events happened in our lives that pushed us to do something. First, our youngest daughter came home from church one day and said, "I thought that you said you needed to believe in Jesus to be saved." We said, "Yes, you do." Our daughter replied, "Then why did my teacher say all you have to do is believe that there is a God?" The second event happened when we were asked to join a small group at our church, which we did. By the end of the small group, I was basically the group leader. Both Kim and I were amazed at how hungry and uninformed the people in our small group were about the Bible.
In 2004, I was coaching softball with another pastor who had some of the same concerns for his daughter and reaching the community. So together we started a house church for our families. It was called "House to House" and our first service was on Labor Day weekend 2004 on a speed boat. We met from September 2004 to April 2005, but not one family came and joined the church. In fact, only three families visited. I realized that having people come to a home for Sunday morning church was very difficult for the families in our community. Though the church was meeting the needs of our two families, God was calling us to do something more. So Kim and I prayed about what to do next.
Having already planted one church, I knew I wanted this church to be started in a way that was different from how I had been trained to start churches. I didn't want the big "kick-off" grand opening; I didn't want to have to come up with a business plan, or to recruit a group of people to join me. And I wasn't just a senior pastor this time; I still held a full time job. So I decided to move to a more public place and simply prayed that God would send whoever He wanted to send, and that the church would be whatever God wanted the church to be. So in May 2005 the church held its first service in a public place, Keystone School, and people came. By August the church had a new name, LifeWater Community Church, based on the story of the woman at the well in John 4.
The church continued with its mission of helping each family find and fully follow Christ. People were coming to know the Lord, being baptized, and growing in their faith. God was moving. By November of 2007 LifeWater had outgrown its facility and we decided to look for one of three options: a rental space big enough for the church to meet in, a piece of property/building that could be donated, or a piece of property/building that we could buy. Regardless, we knew it had to be done within a few miles of where we were currently meeting. God was moving.
We were not very successful in finding a place to go. So, we did a couple of things: 1) we asked the person who owned the building we were meeting in if he was interested in selling or donating the building to us and 2) one of our board members had an idea to send a letter out to all the churches located in the southwest area to see if any were closing or moving. How do you write a letter like that? I couldn't do it. So I prayed. God was moving.
Finally, in February 2008 God gave me the words and I wrote a letter and sent it out to most of the southwest area churches. I remember standing by the mailbox praying, "God do something with this letter. Lead us to where we are to go next." I got a call the very next week from a local church saying that they received our letter and they would help us look. I thanked God for that encouraging call. I knew God was moving.
A few weeks later I got a call from an elder of Liberty Hills Baptist Church. He asked me many questions. He told me that the church was struggling and they currently had no pastor. I told him that I would be happy to help them to restart their church because I believed in the Kingdom of God and in the church. God was moving even though at the time I wasn’t sure which direction He was moving.
A couple of weeks after that the elder called me again and asked for a meeting of the elders of the two churches. We met with their elders and they asked many questions about what we believed and how we did things. Toward the end of the meeting, they asked if we would consider joining together. Praise God, prayers were being answered. I later found out that even before Liberty Hills Church received my letter, one of their members had suggested that maybe the church should consider merging with someone. I was awestruck at how God worked out His plan. We were able to help a dying church, increase our meeting space, and relocate only 1.3 miles from our current location. God was moving.
We spent the summer discussing and spending time together. On August 17th both congregations voted to accept the donation of the church, and to accept the members of Liberty Hills into the fellowship of LifeWater Community Church. What a miracle! We couldn’t have dreamed it any better. Since moving into the church, we have completed significant updates and continue to build relationships between the congregations so that there is no longer a distinction between the two churches. We are now brothers and sisters in Christ. God continues to bless us as we faithfully serve Him. We must never forget this awesome miracle by such an awesome God! We were excited to see what God would have next for us.
The following four years brought increased growth and ministry. But by 2012, both Kim and I were feeling the pull between the demands of my full-time job, and the growing needs of our church body. In June, I approached the Board about the church’s need for a full-time minister. I was willing to either step aside so a full-time pastor could be hired, or leave my regular job and come on board as their full-time minister.
The Church Board voted to take two motions to the congregation: The first motion was that we needed a full time pastor and the second motion was that I was to be that pastor. The congregation voted unanimously for me to come on full time.
The next challenge was our giving. It was not what it needed to be to sustain a full-time pastor. One Sunday, the Church Board asked our people to indicate how much they would be willing to increase their giving to enable the support of a full-time minister. The people committed to increase giving by $24,000. God called and His people immediately responded. It was another miracle that we saw here at LifeWater. In January 2013 I came on full-time as the pastor of LifeWater Community Church.
At almost the same time we were stepping out in faith to support a full-time pastor, the Board felt that God was calling LWCC to reach out to the community. After much prayer by the elders and deacons, the decision was made to approach the church about starting a drop-in daycare. We would use our facility as a place where parents could drop off their children 3 years old up to 5th grade for anywhere from one to sixty hours a week. Our hope was and is that God would use this as another way for our church to reach out to the community and support the family, and that in this way we might help them grow spiritually as a family. In February 2013 the church voted to start a drop-in daycare, and we opened Kids Krossing in May. It is gaining momentum and it is exciting to see what God is doing through this ministry.
As you can see, all through our history we have tried to keep up with where God is moving. It is our heart’s desire to listen and obey His calling for our church. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do next.