As I look back on the past nine years and all that has transpired in our lives as church planters, I am amazed at what God can do with a remnant of willing people. People who desire to be a part of something that is actually going to matter 100 years from now. People who are committed to do more than just produce moments but rather produce a legacy … a group of people that want there to be actually evidence someday that they did more than just exist.
That was our passion in 2006 when we embarked on this crazy week called an Assessment Center, and it’s still our driving mission as the Church of Celebration Metro is now just over eight years old–a mission and a vision to make Jesus famous, first on the 380 Corridor of North Texas, second in the vast state of Texas, third in our country and finally to the ends of the earth.
God took 24 adults and 10 crazy kids, meeting in doctor’s office waiting room, and turned it into a church of over 700 members. COC is not a church that just exists but a church that is advancing and daily experiencing life change. In just eight short years, over 300 decisions for Christ have been made and just shy of 250 people have gone public for Christ through baptism. Just recently COC Metro purchased 30 acres of land in the epicenter of current and future growth in the North Dallas area. Plans are being made now to potentially begin construction on our first permanent facility at this main campus location in the fall of 2016.
God is good, way good, and with Him nothing is impossible if only we are faithful enough to RISK BIG! But starting one church was not what God had called us to. He asked us to start a movement and we answered the call not knowing exactly what all that meant. But we knew if we were willing, He’d show us the way. And that is exactly what He has done as two years ago we launched Vision Texas. To date, Vision Texas has six fully launched, healthy churches with four more planters assessed, approved and in the process of planting.
Now, I wish I could say that every road we have traveled has been smooth and straight, but where would the fun be in that? Where would all the church and life lessons be if all we knew were calm waters? Church planting has been the greatest challenge I have ever embarked upon. As the old saying goes, ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people, but what use would ministry be if it weren’t for the people? With people, comes drama. With people, comes trouble. With people, comes chaos. With people, come barriers. But I can honestly say, every single barrier has been used by God to not only teach us to depend on Him more, but to grow up in Him as well. Chaos, drama, the unknown, God uses it all to push us to the next level in our own walk and in our ministries.
One of the keys to pushing through the barriers we have faced over the past few years has been the coaching that the Converge network has provided me and our entire team. The coaching I have received over the last 18 months has not only impacted my personal life and leadership but has set our ministry team up for great success, for doing more than just existing.
Brad Wilkerson is the founder and lead pastor of the Church of Celebration Metro located in the fast-growing city of Prosper, Texas, located just 40 minutes north of downtown Dallas. He also helped to launch the church-planting movement Vision Texas.