One of the vital steps once you know you are called to plant a church is pinpointing a location. There are different ways to do this:
- Get a map, pray over it and see where your heart is drawn to
- Pick a place where you want to live and plant a church there
- Hear a divine call from God to move to a particular location
I think there are many ways to go about it. Here is our story. In my last post,I talked about how I began traveling to Boston. Here I will elaborate on that story. While working with BASIC back in Rochester, NY, we were considering not only whether to plant a church but if so, where to plant a church. The natural (and easy) fit was Geneseo, NY. We owned a home only 7 minutes from the town and there is a campus there as well (SUNY Geneseo). For us, college students are a non-negotiable. We are called to work with and reach students. We booked a babysitter and decided to pray and walk around the town. After the walk, we both decided it was not a fit. Something just didn’t feel right. The only thing we really knew at that point was that we were to lay down our post at BASIC and step out in faith to a land God would show us, so we put in our one year resignation. It was really exhilarating…and really scary!
Finally, after 2 months of agony, the Lord began to speak (October 2008). I happened to be traveling to speak at the State University of New York at Oneonta when one of our intercessors spoke a word to me. She said, “Kent, I know you and Gina are in transition and I only have one word for you. It’s Boston.” I responded by saying, “OK. I know my heart is for Boston but I’m not sure what God is saying. We will pray about it.” Another month passed. I was sitting in a car with one of my friends and advisor to the board of BASIC. I began to tell him this story of what this intercessor said, but before I got to the punch line (Boston) he shouted out, “It’s Boston!” I was flabbergasted! “How did you know that?” I said. He responded, “The Holy Spirit told me to say it before you got to it so you would know that it’s Him.” Before it was all over, it happened a third time a couple of weeks later while we were sitting at the table with our friends David and Betsy Hill. We were telling them the same story when David blurted out (before I got to it), “You’re moving to Boston!” That sealed the deal. We weren’t stupid, the Lord was speaking. Once we knew the area, a specific place was a no – for us. The area of Cambridge near Harvard University had always been the place I was drawn to. In fact, a year earlier in 2007, the Lord spoke to me during a prayer meeting in Boston. He said, “I want to use you at Harvard.” I immediately began to imagine being ushered into the President’s office or to speak in front of the student body to share the gospel. Then He gave me a vision about camping near the gates of Harvard to pray for the University. Not what I had in mind. My friend David bore witness in his heart and decided to join me on this adventure. So for three days we camped in the Cambridge Common in Harvard Square (the same place George Washington and the revolutionary army first gathered!) and prayed in front of the gates of Harvard for 6 hours a day. We left feeling like the Lord was up to something and that living water would again flow from Harvard. Then again, several months later while back in Boston, the Lord said, “When I said I wanted to use you at Harvard I meant in an ongoing way.”
Long story short, He was giving me this burden and providing relationships to prepare us to plant a church in one of the most strategic, difficult, and expensive cities in the U.S. – Cambridge, MA. A city of many internationals, intellectuals, and Harvard and MIT. Harvard alone has been home to 8 U.S. presidents, 19 Supreme Court Justices, 44 Heads of State, and countless governors, senators, and even actors. God was calling us to impact this place and these people with the gospel of Christ and we knew it!
How about you? Is anything “adding up” in your journey?