It's an incredible thing when God asks you do something unforeseen. It's also a difficult thing. From that footing of faith and fear, I make this announcement. Over the past 2 and a half years I have been serving at Christian Covenant Fellowship in Carterville. My family and I believed that was where the Lord would have us for a lifetime. However, over the past 6 months the Lord has graciously caused an earthquake of a calling under our feet to shake us from our comfort and drive us to dependence on Him. He has called us to plant a Church. Christ Church of Carbondale, IL. We are planting through the Southern Baptist Convention with Christopher First Baptist Church as our sending church.
Why are We doing this?
Firstly, because we believe this is what Jesus wants us to do. And secondly, because we want to see lost people reached. We want the gospel to go forth, people to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus. We want to make disciples, that will in turn make disciples themselves.
"But isn't there enough churches already?" Glad you asked.
In 1900, there were 28 churches for every 10,000 Americans
In 1950, there were 17 churches for every 10,000 Americans
In 2000, there were 12 churches for every 10,000 Americans
In 2004, there were 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans
Tom Clegg and Warren Bird, Lost in America: How You and Your Church Can Impact the World Next Door (Loveland, CO; Group Publishers, 2001), 30, as cited in Planting Missional Churches
According to missiologist Ed Stetzer, there are 120 million undiscipled people in the United States making it the largest mission field in the Western hemisphere and the fifth largest on earth. So the truth is, Carbondale needs the gospel. Bible believing Jesus loving churches aren't able to keep up with the population rate, and there are unreached people in our midst.
Carbondale is the most religiously, ethnically, and racially diverse city in Southern Illinois with literally hundreds of nations and people groups represented.
The Population of Carbondale 25,902
There is only one Southern Baptist Church for every 4,317 people
Just under half of the population of Carbondale are between the ages of 18-24
Carbondale, IL is a global community- one in which people from countries all over the world come to live and further their education. Because of the presence of SIU, “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth” have come here. In Carbondale, we have the opportunity of global impact for the Glory of God.
January the 24th will be our first official Sunday gathering. We will be meeting at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries Building at 10 am. For the past couple months, Jordan and I have been praying for God to woo other hearts to this mission. He has promised to provide our needs, and right now Christ Church needs people who believe the bible and are willing to be missionaries in this endeavor. We pray that by His grace, He would do amazing work in Carbondale.
Our core team has currently been meeting on Monday nights, preparing together, worshiping, and fellowshipping. Praise be to Jesus that he has brought some amazing people already to be a part of Christ Church! I would like to introduce you to our pastors.
Andy Claud will serve on staff as a pastor, and his primary responsibilities will be musical worship, teaching, and personal discipleship.
(Andy, his wife, Kathy, and their son, Asaph. They are also expecting a baby girl, Elisabeth, in March)
Russ Kreuter will be another of our pastors, and his primary responsibilities will include preaching, teaching a small group, personal discipleship.
(Russ and Jenny Kreuter and their three children Ella, Silas, and Luciana)
I will be serving on staff as a pastor. My primary responsibilities will be preaching and personal discipleship.
(Myself, and my wife Jordan Sparks and our son Ransom)