“Go and make disciples…”
The work of Hope Partnership includes empowering new church planters through assessment, discernment, training, coaching and peer support.
Geoff Mitchell was the pastor of First Christian Church in Keokuk, Iowa for five years. “We loved what we were doing,” he says. “But, it was time to do something different, more bold.”
The call to start a new church came in the spring of 2011, the weekend after Easter. A friend provided Geoff and Marissa with a weekend stay on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. According to Geoff, God was asking them to do a new thing in the Chicago area. Geoff and Marissa felt the call to start a new church in Oswego, Ill.
When they returned to Keokuk, Geoff and Marissa began doing their homework and making plans immediately. According to census information, Kendall County in Oswego, Ill., is the fastest growing county in the United States. “Target audience was a perfect fit,” says Geoff. “The area is college-educated, two-income families and is ethnically diverse. It is a great mix of people. It’s a great place to plant a Disciples church.” Big Life Community Church was launched in late 2012.
Geoff believes that God has called him and Marissa to lead a missionary life. “Working in an established congregation doesn’t always give you the flexibility and nimbleness needed to do missionary work,” he says.
Some may believe this was a crazy idea. “For us, planting a new church is invigorating,” says Geoff. “We love where we are living and it is a good fit for our family. You start with God’s call and that is enough.”
Learn more about Big Life Community Church at www.biglifecc.org.