Friday is one of the days I point toward other people’s ministry. It’s one of the ways I try to cultivate selflessness in my life. I normally do this through linking up other bloggers. Today, though, I want you to meet a couple of my good friends who are taking a great step toward vocational ministry and living out the gospel among those who haven’t been reached. Keep reading to find out how you can pray for and partner with them.
I’m not going to lie, this is a little strange because you don’t know me. My name is Travis Whitehead, and my passion is to reach those who don’t know Christ – the unengaged, uninterested, jaded, and angry – and share with them the gospel. I want to plant a church that plants churches that plants churches, that builds up and disciples believers and then sends them out to do the same. I want these churches to be in the United States and to work building up the Church overseas through long-term evangelism and training native believers to disciple their neighbors and cities.
Let’s just get the awkwardness and discomfort out of the way early on. I’m going to ask you to support me financially in planting this church. Know that I probably feel more uncomfortable asking than you do in being asked. Let’s just try to power through it.
I was recently invited to become a church-planting resident at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. They are going to train me how to plant a church while I am serving full-time in the small group ministry. I will be here for two years in this position, serving directly under several pastors on staff who will disciple and teach me, then allow me to immediately use that training in the small groups ministry under their authority and leadership. Over those two years, my prayer is that God will develop a core group of believers that will come with me to start a new church in Austin as well as a core group of believers from the Austin Stone who will financially support the new church as we begin to minister to our community as a church body.
According to Forbes magazine, the Austin metro is the 11th largest metro area in the United States. It is the fastest growing metro area in the country. There are 1.85 million people who live here, including 109,000 foreign-born residents, and this number is growing daily. Of this 1.85 million, 36% claim any sort of Christian faith. That would mean there are over a million people who do not know Jesus in one of the largest, fastest-growing cities in America.
My grandmother told me once if my heart hurts for something, that’s God drawing me to action. When God’s people ache for the lost, when our hearts are burdened for people that don’t know Jesus, it causes us to move toward them with the love of the gospel. See, my heart isn’t to just plant a church that is cool and maybe get some transfer membership growth — my heart is to see those who are far away from God be brought near by the redemptive work of Christ and made more into His image through the transformative work of the Holy Spirit. My heart is to see the gospel take root in a city that wants nothing to do with God. If I’m about anything else, then what’s the point?
Now, to the awkward part I mentioned earlier. In order for me to get the training I need through the Austin Stone and to begin to lay the groundwork for the church plant, I need to raise a portion of my living expenses. Specifically, I need to find 21 people who will commit to partner with me for $100 a month for the next 24 months, and I need to find them by September 20. Financially supporting ministers has a Biblical precedent (Matthew 10:9-10; Luke 8:1-3, 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:1-17, 16:1-4; Philippians 4:10-18; Romans 12:3-8). There are examples and instructions to support, and I encourage you to look up the verses, but I’d like to specifically point you to 3 John verses 5-8. What I am asking is for fellow believers to stand with me, to become “coworkers in the truth” as I go and you send. In the body of Christ, there is no separation here in terms of importance. I cannot go without being sent. Support is not some passive thing. The gospel does not compel believers to throw money at an area where there are lost people, as if mission were some facebook picture that demanded you “like or keep scrolling”. No, the gospel compels us to go and to send, illustrated in the charge John gives to Gaius. To financially support those who go is to engage directly in the very working of the Holy Spirit to the extent that those who send are coworkers alongside those who go.
I need 21 Christians who are burdened for the lost to stand up and send me.
Will you support me for $100 a month for the next 24 months?
On my support page, you will find a link to a secure giving site, where you can set up however you would like to give. And if online giving, even through a secure site, freaks you out, there are instructions for mailing in support monthly.
I also encourage you to follow my blog, where I’ll be updating regularly. Finally, keep Austin in your prayers. Pray for the churches and Christians that are here, that God would break our hearts for the lost and embolden us to take the gospel to them.
Thank you for reading all of this, especially when it’s about someone you don’t know. Please pray about supporting Travis and Janelle. If you already feel pressed to support them, go on over to his support page and sign up to partner with them.