Many of y’all will know our story. We have been in ministry for many years, and our last church was forced to shut its doors over a year ago. For the past 14 months, Rachel and I have been praying and seeking Gods direction for our family. We have been blessed to be in a local church we could serve in, and rest a bit to find this next stage in our ministry. It’s been a trying time, and we have finally come to the end of a long road and are ready to step into our “next.”
We have been looking at taking another church for some time, we said no to some, some said no to us, but ultimately no place has turned out to be the right place. Rachel and I have taken quite a long time to pray and seek the Lord to figure out what we had to walk in next. Out of that time we have really felt the Lord pushing us in the following ways: we are going to pursue life in a location that we feel the Lord has laid on our heart for sometime now, the greater Gainesville, GA area. We have felt a pull there for about a year, and have not pushed forward into it because we were still looking for a church to pastor. We have decided that the Lord gave us this area because He has prepared us for life and ministry there. We don’t necessarily know why, but it is a place we undeniably know we need to be. Our entire family is ecstatic over this decision, which is rare when you have 6 people with 6 different opinions, who are not shy about expressing them!
The obvious question for us, of course, was what are going to do there? This question has been a daunting one to me for sometime. I have two great passions in ministry: teaching and building Gospel community. I have thought and felt that those two existed in isolation. In fact, I asked my brother in law recently if he saw me as more of a professor or a pastor and he said “be both,” which has been a catalyst for changing thought patterns in my mind. God wants to use both of those passions that I have in our next place of service.
There are two things we are going to be working on: the first being I am going to finish my PHD and pursue a professorship in the Atlanta metro. One of my goals as a pastor and teacher had always been to empower young people to be thinking Christ-Followers who are able to engage the Scripture and culture for the Gospel. By instructing those who are pursuing a higher education, I will be able to pour in knowledge and experience to the next generation of ministers. This is something that I believe all ministers need to do, and it’s a great outlet for my gifts.
Secondly, we are going to be city missionaries seeking to build and establish Gospel centered communities in our area. We have served in church planting for many years, and using some of that philosophy, combined with the philosophy of being outward living disciples, we are going to seek to be catalysts of starting Gospel centered communities. This is not typical church planting, but gospel immersion. This is a slow burn strategy to engage people with the idea of Kingdom and gospel mission, and if the Lord births a church or churches out of it, it will be amazing. We want to see people on mission for Jesus, and will see how God uses that to grow His kingdom.
This type of ministry dovetails with our gifts, and a ministry Rachel is pursuing to instruct women on how to build deep and abiding relationships, and training churches to accomplish this task in their midst. We will leverage our passion for adoption and foster care in this pursuit as well, hopefully starting many communities that embrace this passion to see the command found in James to care for orphans and widows.
We are quite excited and see the Lord in this, so much so, that we are removing some things from our lives that have provided some financial stability, though keeping my full time job. I have also had to put away ideas of what my life in ministry would look like to walk in the mission the Lord has given my family. My amazing wife had encouraged me to do this for so long, it’s an absolute blessing that her patience and grace had reached through the “me” in my vision of service.
This will be a fast transition for us, but one we cannot wait to get walking in. We covet your prayers as we face the task of relocating, finding partners in our vision for our new community, a home church for us to give to and partner with in this vision, and for all the things in the future we seek to see the Lord do.
We love you all,
The Hewitt Family