Saturday, February 1, 2014

It is hard to believe that I have just completed one month of my church planting internship! I am grateful for all of the encouragement and prayers that I have received so far, and I thank God for what He has been doing in my life. Let me tell you about some of the exciting things that have taken place.

First, I love leading my Gospel Community group. We are working through the Gospel Resource Network’s Missional Community Field Guide together, and our discussion so far has been very profitable. I sense a growing unity of mind and heart among us, and I look forward to seeing how Christ will use our unique gifts and skills to impact our neighborhood for His glory.

Second, I have greatly benefited from my new approach to reading and studying God’s Word. Toward the end of last year, I came across Pastor Jim Elliff’s article “My Preferred Way to Read the Bible.” Instead of quickly going through a one year plan, I am devoting myself to saturating myself in specific books of the Bible. In January, I focused on 1 Peter the first half of the month and 2 Peter the second half. This approach has been incredibly helpful. I don’t think I have ever gotten so much out of reading the Bible. For February, I am going to work through Hebrews, so I look forward to spending a lot of time in this wonderful book of Scripture.

Third, I have enjoyed my weekly internship gatherings with pastors and other men desiring to serve in ministry leadership. We have been reading through Tim Keller’s Center Church and Charles Bridges’ classic work The Christian Ministry. Read how Bridges talks about the necessity of pastoral ministry (which obviously includes church planting leadership):

His sovereign pleasure has ordained this office as a first link of means in the chain of salvation; so that without a Ministry there should be no hearing of the word—consequently no faith in the only Saviour of whom it speaks—no calling upon his name—no salvation. It is not our province to prescribe what he ought have done, but to mark the consummate wisdom of what he has done, and to exercise the humility of faith, when we cannot discern the reasons of his dispensations. Doubtless he might have instructed as well as converted Paul by a miracle; but it was his pleasure to direct him to a fellow-sinner for the explicit revelation of his will. The angel also might have been an instructor to Cornelius; but, in order to maintain the order of the divine economy, the Ministry of the word was made the medium of conveying evangelical light to his soul. This, therefore is the ordained means of conversion, and of subsequent establishment in every stage of the Christian life; and its necessity must continue, while there is a single sinner to be brought into the family of God, or a single grace in the heart of the saint to advance to perfection.

What a humbling and encouraging reminder of the ministry that lays before me as I prepare to serve Christ as a church planter in Utah!

At the same time, this past month has also showed me areas where I need to grow in grace to become a church planter who will honor and glorify my Savior. I am nowhere close to the prayer warrior that I need to be. I am still too reliant on my own efforts and strength to accomplish what lays before me. I have repented to God for my self-reliance and lack of dependence on Him and will make every effort through His grace to improve in my prayer life.

Additionally, I want to become more intentional in evangelism. Between my work, church, and internship responsibilities, most of my time is spent around fellow believers. While this can be helpful, it also allows me to stay in a “Christian bubble.” I need to be more attentive to the opportunities that God providentially brings to me. And I also want to be more proactive in developing relationships with others who need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for me as I seek to be faithful in proclaiming the hope of Christ to others in my community.

Finally, I would appreciate your prayers for my family as we begin planning a trip to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah this summer. I would like for my family to experience some time in the place where we plan to move in the next couple of years while I can hopefully engage in some evangelistic ministry. So please pray for wisdom as we seek to work out these details.



  1. God is so good John. loving reading your blog. we are praying for you.

  2. Thanks for the update. Your openness and honesty are refreshing. We will continue praying for you and your family.

  3. Thank you both for your encouragement and prayers!

  4. I am praying for you and for God to prepare the hearts and minds of those people in Utah who will hear your testimony and come to faith in Jesus Christ through your ministry. Having grown up in Utah and having been converted to Christ out of Mormon church membership, I know the opposition you will face there, but also the need for the light of Christ there. God is faithful and will prepare the way for you.