Back Brentwood Baptist TRAIN takes off for the first time with three passengers on board
September 6th, 2012
Hear that? Listen close. That's the sound of the Brentwood Baptist TRAIN taking off for the very first time.
Last year, our leadership created a slew of 5-year goals—and one of those goals is for our church to start 15 "daughter" churches during that time. It's best explained as a 3x5 Plan, which simply means this: recruit, assess, train, send, and support three church planters per year for five years.
That means that those new churches will start new churches who will start new churches who will start more new churches. And so on. So that at the end of it all, Brentwood Baptist could potentially be a great- great- great-grandparent to new works all over the world.
In August, we welcomed the first three TRAIN passengers on board and into an 11-month residency program. For the next year, they'll cast vision, develop their leadership skills, learn about funding, and more—in conjunction with a group of church planters through the Launch Network.
Meet Blake Finuf, Chris Fowler, and Josh Lilly—along with their families.
Originally from Kansas City, Blake is married to Mindy and they have two young sons, Liam and Levi. He studied and got his degree from Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia.
For the first eight years of his ministry, he's served among students at churches across Kansas City. Then, three years ago, he moved his family to Birmingham, Alabama to serve as high school pastor at a local church.
"I got called into ministry at 20 years old," he said. "At that time, I said, 'I think God's calling me to do student ministry right now, but He's preparing me for something else down the road. It wasn't until we moved to Birmingham that I saw what that was."
At a leadership retreat last fall, Blake met Bob Carlton, Brentwood Baptist's Church Multiplication Minister. He found out about TRAIN, applied, and got his ticket this spring.
For now, his family plans to plant a new work in Kansas City. He says KC was at the bottom of his wish list, specifically because it's his hometown. But through various circumstances, God confirmed this was the direction He wanted them to go.
"I'm just excited to unplug from ministry that I've know my whole life, so I can be stretched, challenged, and shown new ways to do great ministry through Brentwood Baptist."
Chris went to Mississippi State University after leaving his hometown of Arab, Alabama. After graduation, he met his wife, Jana, and they married in August 2007. Today, they have two young daughters, Ella and Ava, with a third daughter daughter due in December.
His first ministry assignment was with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, then later as a student pastor at a church in Alabama. When he migrated to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, he served as a lay leader at a local church.
In 2008, the Lord called Chris' family to church planting. He said, "I didn't know what that meant. I had to ask people. When I found out what it was, it seemed like a good fit with my skills, traits, and gifts. I have an entrepreneurial type of mind and I like starting things from scratch."
Chris and Jana first pursued planting in Denver, Colorado for several years, swearing they'd never go back to the south. But then the Lord changed their hearts and gave them an affection for their homeland—particularly in the Nashville area.
Chris googled church planting residencies and found TRAIN. By the time he applied, more than 100 applicants had already submitted and almost every one of them had been referred personally.
"Here was an opportunity to get incredible training and get to spend a year in the city we want to minister in," he said. "Though there are other unreached areas around the country, we need gospel-centered churches in the south too. And the Lord has opened up multiple doors for us to be here."
The Fowlers are excited about beginning this journey. Chris said, "We're looking forward to being exposed to multiple models for church planting and training at a church that has such a missional focus and cool approach to ministry."
For the past two years, Josh, Sarah, and their son, Micah, have been doing college ministry and helping to start a couple of churches in Fort Collins, Colorado. Before that, the Texas natives went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and served in the college ministry arena within churches around the Austin and Dallas areas.
Last year, they got connected to TRAIN through the Launch Network. On the first day of their official assessment to join the network, God spoke and told them they weren't ready to plant yet. But they went through the assessment anyway, staying completely upfront with the leadership on what God had clearly said.
"They said, 'We know why you're here and we think you're a potential partner. We're going to pass you guys, but we agree that you're not ready to plant yet. But have you ever heard of a residency?'"
Bob Carlton was there and introduced them to TRAIN. So they visited Brentwood Baptist in April and were extended a call to join the program in May. Now, they have hopes to plant in the Nashville area after they've completed the program.
"This program is everything from developing your visions, values, and missions for your future church to training in the areas of leadership to be a pastor to figuring out how to live missionally," Josh said. "We look forward to getting to know this city and planting roots here."
Want to love, encourage, and develop a relationship with these families, plus get to know more about where they're going to plant? E-mail us and we'll get you connected.
Click here to learn more about Church Multiplication at Brentwood Baptist or TRAIN Church Planting Residency.