The following post was written by a fellow minster I met this week. Cincinnati Sam is a guy I work side by side with at Velocity Church. His story is a beautiful reminder that God still changes lives!
Thu, 26 Sep 2013 18:13:07 GMT
I just got home last night from the Cincinnati Cast-the-Vision Tour during which Nate and I met with several church planters and their teams in and around Cincinnati. The churches were at various stages of planting from fresh starts to churches a few years old. We also met several apprentices preparing to plant more churches in the area. Their hearts are amazing. They are serving their communities and winning many to the Lord. It is truly exciting. There will be more to come on this subject in the near future, but I would like to relate Sam’s story.
Sam grew up Catholic. When he completed confirmation, though, his family stopped attending services. A few years later a friend invited him to another church. While there, the preacher started asking for money to help add onto their stage. He said just 10 people giving $50 would take care of it and then asked who would do it. Nobody volunteered. He then asked people directly, mentioning that they had strong jobs, and he did this in front of the congregation. Same left saying to himself, “They won’t get into my pockets” and figured that is what the church was about. Several years later a woman in Sam’s wife’s jazzercise class was talking about how the Lord was working in her life and in her church. She invited Sam’s wife. Sam was fine with that, but made sure his wife would not “let them get in her pockets.” He did not attend with her.
Sam liked softball, but he didn’t like the drunkenness and profanity that dominated his previous leagues. He thought he would enjoy a church league more. Then he saw on a bulletin his wife brought home that her church had such a team. He found that he would have to attend church twice a month to join and thought that was worthwhile, but vowed they would “not get in his pockets.” He attended. People loved on him. Sermons and worship grew on him. He even started paying attention. He met people like Steven who became friends and showed him Jesus. He soon trusted in Christ himself. As he grew through their education programs and relationships he even began tithing because he realized it was about God’s glory and not a church leader’s greed. He plugged in and served. A little while later his friend Steven was called to church planting. Sam and his wife wanted to help. They gave. Then they decided to go with them to help plant the church. Sam started praying for wealth, hoping to be able to live comfortably and give. God had a different plan. Steven invited Sam to join his young staff as an Executive Pastor because of his financial and leadership background. Same took a substantial…really substantial paycut and joined the church planting staff. Today, Sam is part of a very new church plant reaching and area of Cincinnati that was vastly deprived of believers. He gives sacrificially and is excited about what God has done in the life of his family. He wins others to Christ. This all started with a woman living out the Great Commission and Great Commandment in a jazzercise class.