On September 7th, Aaron and I took our second scouting trip to Wilmington. Once again, the Lord was incredibly gracious to us in the ways He provided for us as we went, particularly through those folks He allowed us to meet and get to know! Though we were only there for about 24 hours, we had three really good meetings with some very solid contacts. We also had the chance to shoot some video footage for future promo/info videos that we’ll be releasing over the next year.
As we have been saying all along, we simply want to get to know the city. With each trip, the longing for Wilmington to be our home is growing, and especially so as we see the need present there. Home to an estimated population of 117,000 (and growing), Wilmington is most certainly ripe for churches that recognize that only the Gospel of grace is able to heal the brokenness prevalent there.
What We Learned
This brokenness became the theme of each of our meetings on this last visit. In total we met with two pastors of two separate faithful churches in Wilmington, as well as 6 more guys and gals serving the Lord in various ministry contexts there. Allow me to introduce the folks we met with:
- Matt Morehead, Pastor of Crossway Chapel – Matt, along with Jason, Micah, and Greg (pastoral interns) welcomed us into their church building for lunch and fellowship. We sat with them for a couple of hours listening to them share about the many ways they are reaching Wilmington with the Gospel. Matt is a humble and solid brother who unreservedly extended the hand of fellowship and partnership to us as we ourselves seek to plant there.
- Josh Lawrence, Pastor of Connections & Mobilization at the Bridge Church – Josh met with us for several hours, sharing the Bridge’s (a three year old church plant) history, his responsibilities, and some of the ways the Bridge is making a difference in Wilmington. Josh gave us lots of good counsel and encouragement.
- Aaron Marshall, Chapter Director of Ratio Christi at UNC Wilmington – Aaron, along with Grant and Lexi, newlyweds and students at UNCW, met us for lunch and spent several hours sharing with us about Ratio Christi and how the ministry is impacting the students of UNCW. We were very encouraged by their zeal for Christ and the Gospel.
In all three meetings, Aaron and I listened as each group shared with shocking consistency about the issues prominent in the city. As you have heard us say before, there is a real drug problem in the city. The racial divide is quiet – even ignored in some ways – but present. There is a great need for more families to care for the over 450 children in the city’s foster system. There needs to be more churches who acknowledge the necessity of preaching the Bible expositionally (as only God’s Word faithfully taught will truly change lives). We also learned that there is always a need for faithful, clear teaching on biblical manhood and womanhood.
In planting a Sovereign Grace Church in Wilmington, we have no illusions or visions of grandeur. We simply desire to bring the hope of the Gospel through church planting to people in Wilmington who are far from God, so that they become disciples who make disciples in their own spheres. We rejoice that God has already planted churches there who are actively seeking to address some of this brokenness created by sin (churches like Crossway Chapel, The Bridge Church, and Redemption Church Wilmington). Again, in our desire to plant a church there, we aren’t trying to start anything new – we just want to join these other faithful churches and actively seek to apply the word of the Gospel to the darkness we see there.
We Need Help
The above is merely a summary of what we’ve been learning in order to keep you updated on our journey. However, we want to share more specifically about the opportunities God is granting us as we move, live, and minister in the city. We also realize that Two Guys Planting cannot remain this way for long: we are in need of brothers and sisters in Christ who will come alongside us and help us reach Wilmington with the Gospel. Is it possible that God is calling you to partner with us in bringing the hope of the Gospel through church planting?
We are having our first informational meeting at CrossWay Community Church on October 23, 2017 for anyone who would like to learn more about how they can get involved in this new ministry endeavor in southeastern NC. We’ll gather at 7pm, and Aaron and I will share our vision for the city, share some of the opportunities there are to get involved, and answer questions. Childcare will be provided.
We would absolutely love to meet you, and encourage you to come out!
6400 Prosperity Church Road
Charlotte, NC 28269
Please continue to pray for us and our families as we familiarize ourselves with Wilmington, as well as how to actually plant a church there. Pray that “that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thess. 3:1). We want to be faithful to follow God and bring the hope of Christ to people in need, but again – we cannot do this without much support in prayer, so thank you to those who are partnering with us in this way!