Last Sunday Shauna and I got up at the end of the service and shared how God has called us to leave DCC and plant a new church here in Calgary.
That’s the call on our lives. But I’m also here to remind everyone that Jesus began his movement by saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He never changed our marching orders. So yeah, not all believers are church planters— but all believers are gospel planters. If we’re not becoming “fishers of men” like Jesus was, we’re not truly following him. That’s what he makes us.
Our calling is always epic because the mission is always to save the world. And we’re all called to the front-lines.
As I walk out my own journey, I want to help ignite the passion and purpose of your own story. With that in mind, here’s how God brought us to such a radical decision point—and how he may just lead you to a more gospel-centred life yourself. Check out these four essential ingredients for living your epic calling.
The desire and dream to plant a church has been growing in me for many years now. That said, I didn’t believe it would ever happen. I was neck deep in church ministry, so I pushed aside these desires as I tried to focus on the work in front of me. Until I couldn’t stop the waterfall, that is. God plants desires in our hearts for his glory, and when the time comes, he leverages those desires to pry us from our pews.
Unknown to me, Shauna (my wife) had also been wrestling with God about church planting for years. This March she came to a beautiful surrender before Jesus on the issue. Soon afterwards she sat me down to talk. She’s a wise woman in general, but several times throughout our marriage I’ve sensed God saying, “Shut up and listen,” and this was one of those times. She told me she’d just given in to Jesus in a fresh way: “Whatever you want, wherever you want, however you want, Lord. I’m yours.” She didn’t tell me this prayer was related to church planting because she’d also told God, “Uh, yeah… You’re gonna have to lay that one on Brad’s heart.”
Apparently God had been waiting for that posture of surrender. The very next day I was shooting the breeze with a dude from C2C Network (a church planting organization). Now get this: We weren’t even talking about church planting. But then, like a thunderclap, I felt a distinct “clunk-shift” in my spirit so powerful it almost felt physical. The shocker? I knew in my spirit: it wasn’t that something huge was shifting in my life; it had shifted, right that moment.
Retreating to my office, I found myself trembling and faint.
“Uh, what was that?” I asked God.
“You know what it was,” he replied.
Oh snap. Because I did know. I was being released from our season at DCC and being called to plant a church. And my answer to Jesus is always yes. When I told Shauna, she smiled and said, “Okay.” We were of one mind and heart and have been since, every step of the way.
3. Step by step obedience
Speaking of steps, over the next few months we took one step of faith at a time. Which was really hard for me. I’m a forest person; trees are not my thing. But God kept impressing us with, Take this step, then we’ll talk. And so we did. One. At. A. Time. My mind kept wanting to race ahead, to pray and think and plan and worry and ruminate. Even the night before I would share our new call with the church Spiritual Leadership Team at our monthly meeting, God wouldn’t let me pray about it.
“That’s tomorrow,” he said. “This is today. Be here. Live here. Tomorrow will worry about itself.”
What this step by step lifestyle did was keep us in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:26). It also gave God room to go ahead of us and prepare the way. We’ve experienced so many supernaturally affirming confirmations that doubt is becoming more difficult as we near the precipice. Unbelievable. As we shared the call to plant with leaders and friends, by far the most common response has been, “Of course you are.” So awesome.
The last step before announcing our intentions publicly last Sunday was a church planing assessment boot camp in Montreal last week. Assessment was cray-zee—six of us couples evaluated for three days by thirty assessors—including psychologists, pastors, leaders, and evangelists. Interviews, intense exercises, and demanding tests riddled twelve hour days, where even mealtimes were stocked with pointed questions, notetaking and endless poking. When the dust finally cleared, we received a full recommendation from C2C to proceed with church planting, which we understanding to be a rare thing.
God had spoken again with crystal clarity, affirming us as we took yet another massive step, culminating last Sunday as we gave our notice at DCC. In my experience, the bigger the step God is calling us to take, the more profound the confirmation he shares along the way.
Desire. Surrender. Step by step obedience. Confirmation. Can you relate to these four essential ingredients for living your epic calling? Are you in the middle of your own story right now? I’d love to hear about it.