I grew up attending church A LOT. I was in a church classroom A LOT. When I was a kid, my family attended Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night preaching and prayer services, plus Sunday School, plus missions education programs and Vacation Bible Schools. But… I didn’t grow spiritually, didn’t really experience spiritual depth, and didn’t really learn what following Jesus looked like outside the walls of the church.
When I hit adulthood, I started to grow spiritually, but I would say it was still rather slow going. I started attending church with my wife and soaking up biblical knowledge like a sponge. I entered ministry and attended Bible college and developed the spiritual disciplines. But something was still missing.
Finally, several things happened that prompted a complete perspective change in me and kickstarted my journey toward being more like Jesus. In particular…
- I walked through pain – depression, specifically.
- I began to repent of pride, self-centeredness, and other sins.
- My wife and I began to have tough conversations.
- I went on staff at a church with a strong culture of discipleship.
- We joined a small group of people who cared a lot about doing life together.
After a year in that atmosphere, God led us to Northwest Arkansas to plant a church and gave us a passion for creating a place were people could truly grow. We started planting Grace Hills with some particular convictions about the role of the local church in discipleship, such as…