Better Together: Apostles Working with Prophets

When we posted our first blog post, we mentioned that we would be sharing some of our kairos moments with you – points of conflict, confusion, clarity, or celebration. As we have been laying new foundations together over this past year, we have both learned new things about ourselves, and one another. Tiffany and I are gifted in really different ways. I am primarily gifted as an apostle. The word apostle just means “one who is sent.” Those who are gifted as apostles are gifted at launching out into the frontier. They have an appetite for adventure, starting new things, and designing systems for strategic and sustainable impact.

Tiffany, on the other hand, is primarily gifted as a prophet. She is drawn towards prayer and meditation, as well as ministering to those who are often overlooked and disadvantaged. She has a heart for knowing God and experiencing his presence.

These differences may not sound very big, but when you lock arms with someone to accomplish a certain task, the differences really start to come out into the open. For example, when we went to the public library this past weekend, Tiffany ended up spending a lot of time in the prayer section, and I spent a lot of time in the leadership and organization section. Something as small as this reveals how different we really are.

Apostles Working with Prophets: An Interview with Tim

apostleBecause we value being real and authentic, we wanted to share some points of tension we have experienced between our “A” and “P” and how those tensions have created moments of conflict and clarity for us. But instead of listing those things out in bullet points, we wanted to package it in an interview.

Tim, how did you discover you had an apostolic gifting?

I had a pattern of starting new things and approaching problems with what would be characterized as systems thinking. But the first time I realized I had an apostolic gifting was while reading Hirsch and Frost’s book The Shaping of Things to Come. I always thought I was kind of weird because I did not fit the stereotypical profile of a pastor, but after reading that book, I finally understood that I wasn’t weird. I was an apostle, which meant I was not primarily wired for ministry and leadership at the settlement, I was wired for moving into the frontier and starting new ventures.

How would you describe the way this gifting has been contributing to what you are doing with OneLife?

We are in a unique situation right now in that we are not currently partnered with a denomination. This has required us to build some things, like a reputation, from scratch. When we moved to Nashville, we only knew 2-3 people. One of the primary challenges has been meeting new people and building social capital. My apostolic skills have given me insight and initiative for exploring and entering already existing pockets of people, as well as developing new relationships. That would be an entrepreneurial energy that I have been able to channel for our efforts here. In addition to building social capital, I’ve also been building systems capital. For example, our E-book and Prospectus are things we developed in the past to help us communicate our vision to people. Most recently, I’ve been writing a discipling tool kit for us to use with our future core team, as well as developing content for the church website we are building.

What are some points of tension you have experienced as you work with Tiffany and her prophetic gifting, and how have those tensions helped you to mature as an apostle?

Wow, this is such a big question. I can think of so many examples, but here is the first one that comes to mind. A while back I was in one of my phases of being frustrated about how slow things were developing with the plant. I have met with literally hundreds of people over lunch and coffee since I have been in Nashville, but for some reason, we are still looking for our core team. My initial response was “We need to get out the whiteboard and start brainstorming about how to meet more people!” When I suggested to Tiffany that we have a whiteboard session about meeting more people, she asked me if I had prayed about the situation. My first thought was “What’s to pray about? We need to find people, so let’s find a way to do it.”

Tiffany is really good about seeking God for direction. It goes hand in glove with her prophetic gifting. I, on the other hand, do not have that kind of default response to situations. I look at a challenge and immediately come up with options for how to effectively engage it, assuming the missing link is a good strategy. I got frustrated with her that she was not as energetic about strategizing to meet more people.

Eventually, I decided to pray about it. I asked God (really I was lamenting) this question: When will we meet our core team? I felt like God said “You will, but not yet.” Then I was like “So what are we supposed to be doing then?” He then said “The discipling tool kit.” And I thought to myself “…really?” I then heard him say “You need a wineskin for the wine.” I knew what he was trying to teach me at that point. You see, I had totally stopped working on the tool kit and was focusing all my energies on meeting people. So in response to what God said, I cut way back on meeting people and have been focusing primarily on developing the tool kit.

Later on, a few days after I had that conversation with God, I started to appreciate even more what a gift Tiffany is to me and our efforts here. I need her prophetic sensibilities to help me stay grounded in God and his leading.

Where have you seen your apostolic gifting synergize with Tiffany’s prophetic gifting?

I think one of the ways this happens for us is through people. Tiffany picks up on things about people really quickly. One of the attributes of prophetic people is that they often perceive things way before other people do. When we meet new people together, I often check in with her to see if she sensed anything from the Lord. While I may be able to generate a lot of first time contacts with people, Tiffany is good about helping me discern the relational opportunities in front of me.

What is something you think might be helpful for other people to know about the apostolic gifting?

If an apostle is “one who is sent” then it implies someone is doing the sending. I have met plenty of people who are gifted as apostles. They have the hardwiring for entrepreneurship and systems thinking. But just because you are wired to be sent, does not mean you in fact are being sent. One of the things I have had to learn through the school of hard knocks is that just because I see an opportunity does not mean I am supposed to move on it. God is the one who sends me, I don’t send myself. Learning how to discern what originates with me and what originates with God is one of the reasons why I need to be equipped with prophetic skills and sensibilities. The more I mature in my gifting, the more I only want to be led by the Spirit, and not my own initiative.

Here is a post on prophets working with apostles.

Advertisements

Better Together: Prophets Working with Apostles

In the post Better Together: Apostles Working with Prophets, Tim shared points of conflict and clarity that have come from working with Tiffany and her prophetic gifting. In this post, Tiffany will share her insights about working with Tim and his apostolic gifting.

An Interview with Tiffany

prophetTiffany, how did you discover that you had a prophetic gifting?

I always knew I had a shepherding gift, but I never felt like I fully fit into that. After getting a clearer picture of the prophetic through reading and training, it seemed like everything from my life clicked and made sense. Even as a child I remember noticing things in the church that just didn’t seem to align well with what I saw that God valued. I began to notice how much I’ve always wanted to know God and understand His way and how I tended to compare that with what I saw around me.

How would you describe the way this gifting has been contributing to what you are doing with OneLife?

I find myself frequently asking us things like: Have we asked God about this? Do we feel peace? Is this in line with what we know God wants? These kinds of questions can be annoying to Tim sometimes, depending on the situation, but they are crucial to what we are doing here.

Also, sometimes I get a very strong sense that we should not go in a particular direction. It can be helpful to see further down a seemingly good-looking path and notice that in the end, it may be quite a rabbit trail or a distraction from where God is intending us to go.

For example, a while back there was an opportunity that Tim was getting increasingly excited about. It was a great opportunity and full of potential. As momentum was building everything in me increasingly became more uncomfortable, less at peace, and wanting to scream NOOO! (And I rarely have a desire to scream ; ) Sometimes my whole being can feel the weight of a decision. As we approached a decision time, I increasingly prayed for understanding on why I felt this way. By the time we needed to discuss this, my whole body was feeling overwhelmed and almost sick about the potential direction. It was painful and a difficult conversation but I was able to share my concerns. Tim listened well and after more praying we altered our course significantly because of that.

What are some points of tension you have experienced as you work with Tim and his apostolic gifting, and how do you deal with those tensions?

Tim is a go-getter and is a natural at thinking of ideas to help us step into this mission God has us on. He sees potential in any opportunity or relationship. It’s easy for me to over-spiritualize decisions and ideas, and this can easily cause tension because I sometimes don’t initially see the reason in doing something. Such as… meeting random people all the time.

Also, as I hinted at before, I’m a natural questioner and Tim is an idea man. It’s not hard for tension to come when I start to question an idea that he is bringing up. It’s not necessary for me to question every networking opportunity Tim may suggest we attend, but that is something I’m inclined to do if I’m not careful.

Where have you seen your prophetic gifting synergize with Tim’s apostolic gifting?

If you know us, it’s fairly obvious that we would not be doing, or be able to do what we are, without Tim and his entrepreneurial sensibilities. He is truly gifted in multiple ways to lead this venture. While I don’t have the capacity to carry that role, I do have the ability to fuel it by bringing fresh revelation and building up faith by reminding him what God has spoken over us (despite how things may appear to be going.) In fact, God has made it clear to me that I need to be constantly seeking him and listening, and then sharing with Tim what I hear. Not long ago, as we took the afternoon to pray, God gave me a bit of clarity on a point of confusion Tim had been wrestling with. It was a joy to be able to share that with him. He was really encouraged by it.

What is something you think might be helpful for other people to know about the prophetic gifting?

Sometimes we have a hard job in trying to express difficult truths in a way that people will receive. You have to prove that you are “for” your group, and in this with them. Even with just Tim and I, it’s crucial for me to remind him that I believe in what God is calling us to, and that we are in this together. That will take you a long way in being able to fulfill your prophetic role in the relationship.

Also, before you bring up your concerns, test your thoughts and motives. Talk it over with God until you are clear about what he wants you to say. Let the Holy Spirit guide you through the process. He’s great at it!

Here is a post on apostles working with prophets

Video Blog

We put this short, 3 minute video together (on the fly) to give you a window into our missional context. After you watch the video, read on to see some of the interesting features about the people and places we show you.

The video starts out right in front of our apartment building. We live right across the street from Centennial Park, home of the Parthenon, which is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon temple in Athens Greece. Tiffany and I often prayer walk this park, and at various times, as we feel led by the Spirit, will approach people and ask them if they would like for us to pray for them. We have had several really meaningful encounters with local people by doing that. The park is really a commons area for both locals and tourists as they participate in walking trails, recreation, festivals, and a host of activities throughout the year.

all-logos

One of the most amazing things about this area is the population of college students. Within a 2 mile radius of our apartment, there are a total of 5 universities. Three of those colleges are historically black colleges and universities: Tennessee StateFisk, and Meharry Medical College. Both Fisk and Meharry are right across the street from one another, and each have strong, historical roots in Christianity, and maintain close affiliations with the Methodist Denomination. Vanderbilt also has roots in the Methodist denomination, but is presently organized as a private research university. Belmont, formerly a Baptist college, is now
organizing more generically as a Christian community of learning.                                          The total combined student population of these five schools is                             approximately 27,500.

nhi_logo_sm

We are currently making plans for starting a campus ministry on one, or several, of these campuses in the coming year. As a way to strengthen our efforts and develop momentum, we are entering into a partnership with the New Humanity Institute, a campus ministry organization based out of Boston that specializes in the medical substitutionary model of the atonement, with methods of ministry and leadership that flow directly out of that understanding of the gospel. We are really excited about this partnership!

VANDERBILT
An Ambulance sits outside the ER on the at Vanderbilt Hospital in the early morning.

Another unique dynamic to this area is the high concentration of healthcare workers. There are 4 hospitals within a 2 mile stretch: TriStar Centennial Medical Center, St. Thomas , Vanderbilt Hospital, and Nashville General Hospital – located on the campus of Meharry College. In addition to the hospitals, the nationally known Hospital Corporation of America (HCS) has recently moved their headquarters to downtown Nashville. Due to the high concentration of healthcare industry companies, and the burgeoning movement of tech and entrepreneurship, Nashville is now being dubbed the healthcare capital of the nation, and quite possibly the world. We feel particularly drawn to the medical and tech community, so we are currently exploring ways of participating in these respective domains, as well as their intersection. In an effort to be incarnational in our approach to the healthcare industry, Tim and Tiffany are both volunteering at the TriStar Centennial Medical Center. Tim is serving as a volunteer chaplain, and Tiffany is volunteering in patient mail delivery.

atmalogy-header

With so many college students, and around the clock shift workers in the hospitals, local coffee shops
abound. So a part of our rhythm of life is frequenting these coffee shops to work on OneLife projects, connect socially, and soak in the culture. One of the coolest coffee shops is Atmalogy, an old historical house right across the street from Vanderbilt University. We currently rent a meeting space on the first and second Tuesday nights of the month. The first Tuesday night is focused on the atonement, and the second on discipleship.

parthenon-towersThe actual neighborhood that immediately surrounds our apartment is quite diverse. We have mid and upscale condos that house college students and young professionals, as well as a public housing complex, the Parthenon Towers (pictured to the left), that houses elderly and disabled residents. There’s also a homeless population that frequently spends the night under a pavilion next to the Parthenon Towers. We are currently building friendships with a few homeless individuals that hang out at certain places in the neighborhood.

One of the things we love about this area is its cultural, social, and economic diversity. A 1/4 mile to the left of our apartment is the 28th/31st Street Connector that crosses over Charlotte Avenue, a historical boundary marker that had effectively divided the black and white communities of North Nashville. When God told us to move to Nashville, we asked him to place us in a borderland, a spot that would give us spatial proximity to an intersection of diverse people and places. God graciously answered our prayer by locating us at a place where multiple cultures are represented, and are somewhat rapidly colliding.

There are so many possibilities for ministry opportunities, so please pray for us as we discern how to stay in step with what the Spirit is doing in and around us at this strategic location.

* A big thank you to Jason and Susan Gayton for supplying us with a GoPro cam for filming! 

The OneLife Advisory Board

No one should do church planting alone. There are way too many challenges that can so easily overcome even the best of leaders. We recognize the wisdom and necessity of having both accountability and support while we start this new venture. So in an effort to surround ourselves with wise council, we have invited a team of people to serve on an Advisory Board. As OneLife progresses, we will continue to increase the diversity of people on the Board. To see a list of current Advisory Board Members, click here.

collage-2016-11-05-12_35_58

Thank you to all of our Advisory Board members for supporting us in our vision to start a missional movement of multiplying disciples, leaders and churches in the Nashville area, and beyond.

Landing Before Launching

Starting a transformative movement of multiplying disciples, leaders and churches is a pretty big vision, so one of the challenges we have faced is knowing where to start. What’s the first step? Many church plants, with good intentions, come into a community with a pre-packaged formula about what to do and how to do it. Typically, this includes launching a public worship service as soon as possible. This approach can definitely be useful in some contexts, but we have intentionally chosen a different path. In short, we want to “land” before we “launch.” That is, we have chosen to spend time listening to, and learning from, the context we are being sent to before we “start” anything. 

Incarnational Mission

One of the ways to think about landing before launching is to use the language of incarnational mission. If mission is about going, then incarnation is about how we go. For example, Jesus lived for 30 years as a human being in the land of Israel before anyone knew who he was or what he was here to do. Wow! What was he doing for those 30 years? Why wait so long to get things going? Basically, Jesus was landing before launching – he saturated himself in the culture before he spoke into the culture. He was sent by the Father with a very specific mission, but how he accomplished that mission was through the incarnation – he lived among the people and participated in their reality.

So how do you take this principle of incarnational mission – landing before launching – and put it into practice? To help us out with this process, I created something called the 6 I’s of Incarnational Mission. It looks something like this:

7-is-of-incarnational-mission-triangle

Using this process as a point of reference, we wanted to share some things we have been doing to help us land well. 

Immersion

The first phase of the journey is Immersion. Once you know where you are being sent to, like a seed being planted into the ground, you have to immerse yourself into that context. For us, on the front end, our context is Nashville, but specifically, an area known as West End or Midtown. About a year ago we moved into an apartment and began to “dwell among the people.” In a city like Nashville, there is no short supply of things to do, so over the past year we have been steadily participating in the rhythms of the city, observing the people and places of the city.

Interaction

The second part of the process is Interaction. We all know it’s completely possible, and for some people it’s entirely normal, to live somewhere but never really interact with anyone. For the past year, we have been proactively participating in as many events and social gatherings as possible. For example, I (Tim) go to several meetup.com events a month where I meet new people, set up coffee or lunch appointments, and build friendships. I’m also a part-time Uber driver, which has been a great way to meet new people and get a feel for the geography and culture of the city.

Also, Tiffany and I both volunteer at various non-profits and public events, adding value to the community through service and advocacy. The key, at this stage, is to genuinely inter-act. That is, you have to open yourself up to people and enter into give and take relationships. Going through this process of inter-action has allowed us to develop an affection for the city and the people who live here.

Interpretation

Part three is Interpretation. This is where we currently are in our journey. After a year of immersing ourselves in this context, and regularly interacting with people, we are now stepping back to interpret what we have been experiencing. To help us do this, we have done two things.

1. We did a SWOT analysis to brainstorm the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the city as it relates to our venture of starting a movement. Because Tiffany and I are wired so differently, it was really neat to see how we each saw different things in all four of those categories.

2. We did a day long prayer retreat. Tiffany and I went off to a local park and prayed separately, then came back to share what we saw and heard from the Father. In future posts, we will share some of the things we heard, and how that has given us a sense of direction.

Imagination

The next phase of the journey for us will be Imagination. This is where we will begin to ask ourselves the question: based on what we have been hearing and seeing (from God and our own observations) what would it look like for the kingdom of God to come in this context?  

If I’m honest, I am so glad we have finally made it to this stage. It has been a long, slow, and sometimes frustrating, descent this past year. Landing is not always easy, or fast. In fact, if you have ever flown in a plane, it takes way longer to land the plane than it does to launch the plane. But we are super excited to be entering into this new season. We see so much potential all around us. So while starting small has its challenges, it has presented us with a unique opportunity to flesh out what it means to take an incarnational approach to mission.

In future posts, we will share with you about how we are moving into the Imagination, Innovation, and Improvisation phases of the journey. This is the part I am really looking forward to. Thanks for reading up on what the Lord has been doing with us. We hope our journey inspires you to participate in what God is doing in and around you.

why we live where we live

dsc_0621

This post is meant to catch you up a little. I’m taking you back to October of 2015 to explain the story of why Tim and I live where we live. We had already sold our house and moved out. We felt like we were supposed to be living in Nashville by the end of the month.

“So what area of Nashville are you guys looking to move to?” People asked us questions like this over and over. These are logical questions but I cringed a little every time because my answer was something like… “don’t really know.” Truth is, we hadn’t even started to seriously look yet. Yep, you heard that right. We were already out of our house, supposed to be in Nashville in less than a month, and we hadn’t even started to look for a place to live. Normally we do a lot of research with any decision. We had driven around a lot of areas, prayed, and looked on Zillow a few times to get an idea of what the market was like. That was the extent of our search though. I don’t know how to explain it except to say that we didn’t feel like God had given us permission to look yet.

There was only one thing that we thought God was telling us to do. We were to drive down in mid-October and sleep in our vehicle until He opened up a door. The closer it got to this time, Tim felt like the 14th was a significant date. So, we set up some meetings with various folks in Nashville on the 14th and the next couple of days after that. We decided to take the pick-up truck with a camper shell. We set up the back to sleep in, packed a few clothes and necessities, as well as some food.

Now that you know the back story…here is what went down. We headed down on Tuesday the 13th to go to an evening meeting at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. We went about our day, Wednesday the 14th, and worked on things at a coffee shop and met with people until the afternoon. That morning I had briefly looked at Zillow.com. This one apartment that had been posted the day before stuck out like a sore thumb to me because it was in the West End/Midtown area but was literally half the price of the usual rent in that area. It came to mind and I mentioned it to Tim so we decided to stop and at least check it out since it was on our way back towards downtown.

The apartment listed was F3, but they didn’t have that one ready to look at. So they let us into a different building to check out D2. As we walked up to the apartment, there was a young lady outside carving a pumpkin. She kindly answered all of our questions and said there had been quite a few people to come by and take a look. “They go fast here,” she said. It’s an older building and certainly not updated in recent times. We’re not picky so that didn’t matter so much to us, but the apartment that they showed to us was downright gross. I wish I would have taken pictures but I was a little shocked. It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years. The kitchen and bathroom were the worst. Just an example, most of the ceiling above the tub was covered in black mold! Not appealing to say the least.

We left and weren’t sure what to think. As we drove away Tim asked me what I thought about it.  I said “Hmmm, it’s definitely jacked, but I still don’t feel like writing it off for some reason.” To which he said, “Well, you usually get a pretty strong sense when we’re not supposed to do something and that doesn’t seem to be the case.” I said, “True.” We decided to pull over into a parking lot to discuss, pray together (and separately) and listen in silence. We did this for quite some time because neither of us could seem to shake this place off. “Lord, what do we do?” While I quietly prayed, one of the first things I said to God is, “This place is jacked up!” You know what He asked me, “Does that really matter?” Uhhh…He got me. I already knew this deep down so I just bowed my head and thought, “No. It really doesn’t.”

We asked the Holy Spirit for guidance and one of the first questions Tim felt led for us to ask was, “Do we now have permission to start looking for a place to live?” We both felt a strong Yes. We started to ask if we’re supposed to pursue this apartment. Over the next few minutes, F3 kept popping into my head and every time it did my heart fluttered. Silently I asked the Holy Spirit if we were to pursue apartment F3 (the one that’s listed)? I got a good feeling about it. I asked about D2 (the one we looked at)? “No, not that one.” “Okay, but we should look around some more though right, because we haven’t even checked out any other options?” “No, that’s not necessary.”

Tim and I discussed what we felt like the Holy Spirit told us. He also felt led to pursue F3 but not D2, except he got the sense that we were supposed to pursue F3 without even looking at it first. I thought… “without looking at it!!! After what we just saw?!” Shew, that was a little tough to swallow. The Lord also told Tim “This is my gift to you.” That helped it go down a little easier. It was still scary if I were honest. We continued to pray, seek, listen, and discuss a little longer. We both felt peace and decided that we should call right away and offer to pay 6 months in advance. A minor detail is that we didn’t have any regular income at this time, which would make getting a rental agreement a little difficult.

We spent the next few days filling out paperwork as they sent it. I half expected to be turned down each time we sent something in, especially the income part. We did everything they asked of us and waited. The next Tuesday, Tim told me they had called and asked us when we wanted to move in! They said we just needed to start by paying the deposit and first month’s rent. We didn’t even have to pay 6 months in advance! I couldn’t believe it! It was such super exciting news…minus the one little detail… that we hadn’t actually seen the place yet (as the other apartment lurked in my mind.) I admit that I was afraid and fully anticipated that I would have a lot of cleaning time in my future.

Tim was in Nashville a couple of days later, got the key, and went straight to check it out. He texted pictures to me and I was so thrilled to see that the tub was white…as well as the ceiling above the tub! Shew….thank you God! He really did give us a gift in this apartment. We never would have imagined living in this area because it is out of our price range. I still can’t believe the view out of our window! One of the biggest, most popular parks in town is across the street. So many things are in walking or biking distance, including one of Tim’s all-time favorite places to research, study, and write…The Vanderbilt Divinity Library. This is an all-around great location for us with much potential.

I have no idea how long we will be in this particular spot, but I am still praising God for this gift to us in this time. He’s such a good Father and the Spirit so faithfully led us to it. This experience caused me to trust Him even more than I did before. All I can say is, we could have never picked a better spot if we had tried to on our own. I’m so grateful! This neighborhood has many different types of people including college students and professors, homeless, hospital workers, white collar, young professionals, tourists, and more! We love it! Also, I feel that God gave us this view to keep our mind on the city at large. Many times it has spurred me, as I look out of the window or sit on the front porch, to pray for the city of Nashville. What are you doing here, God? How can we join in? Can’t wait to see!

Tiffany

Pictures from our window…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Why Nashville?

DSC_0079

Tiffany: Back at the end of March, Tim and I went on a prayer retreat. Certain seasons in our lives were ending and we were sort of at a crossroads – or maybe more like it was clear God was opening the door and leading us into something new. After years with the vision to start a missional movement, was this the time? If so, would it be in Clarksville or somewhere else? Learning from past experiences of launching out on our own initiative, there was one thing we knew for sure: we weren’t about to do anything without first seeking God, asking what He was up to, what He was wanting. We wanted to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into that. So we got away for a couple of days to just pray.

The Prayer Retreat…

It’s morning, and we decide it best to split up first. We each go to our own quiet spot to be with God with no plan of when to end. We just wanted to be with Him as long as needed. I lost track of time, but it ended up being several hours. During my time with the Father there were some personal things He was pressing into, as well as some time to just be in awe of Him and allow His sweet presence to fill me. I had lots of questions for Him too. What are we to do? Where? With who? What next? I did get the sense that it was going to be something bigger than what I was imagining. But each time I pressed for details, you know what He kept telling me?

“I’m giving those details to Tim and you need to trust him with that.”

Tim: Going off for several hours by myself to pray is not my idea of an exciting time. As an extrovert, I don’t do well with alone time (unless I have a killer book to read). Turns out, this prayer retreat was a pleasant surprise. Not only did I have a really life giving encounter with the Father, He spoke some very specific things to me about what was next for us. First, he said “I want you to go to Nashville.” There were a few times we went to Nashville and I felt God stirring some things in me about the city. However, up until that point, it was still a question mark. I did not want to move unless God was leading us. I had been waiting for a long time to hear him speak into this area of our lives. I then asked him “When do you want us to go?” I felt like he told me “mid-October.”

After several hours of prayer and worship, I walked outside and found Tiffany to see if she was finished with her time. We met back together and discussed what we heard from God. We were both excited, and somewhat shocked. We had been waiting for this kind of revelation from God for a long time, and now he finally spoke to us about what was next. To be honest, it was a bit surreal. One thing was for sure, our hearts were starting to be filled with expectation.

The funny thing about all of this, is that neither one of us knew hardly anything about Nashville. It was only later that we began to learn about what a significant opportunity Nashville is for the kingdom.

 

The right time…

Fire-heart-21

Hi! This is Tiffany. First, we’d like to share a little of our journey that brings us to this point of being sent to Nashville. If you know Tim very well, you know he is always coming up with new ideas. While I do love that about him…after 13 years of marriage…he has learned NOT to share ALL of those ideas with me. So now when he comes to me with an idea, he is at least somewhat serious. About five years ago he started talking about his longing to plant a church. Really, his vision is more to start a missional movement. He’s a go-getter so the more he talked about it the more quickly I attempted to prepare myself to jump in. Little did I know that it would be 4 years later before we would start to get any further direction in such a venture.

I would consider myself to be a fairly patient person, but four years is a long time to wait. I know many have waited much longer for many things and after this time that we’ve had, my heart goes out to you. Honestly, the first couple of years I spent mostly confused and lonely, wondering if this was even what God would have planned for us next. What excitement I had mustered up in the beginning had worn off quickly. Even though we knew what we were supposed to do… the who, the when, the where was all very fuzzy. We looked into and even visited potential cities and talked to anyone open to listening. Tim is great at exploring possibilities and every possible door we checked out ended up shutting on us.

One thing is for sure, these past few years God has been refining us. He gave us a break from leading for a while. Pruning after pruning has occurred allowing new growth to occur. We’ve learned too much to explain in a blog post, but here are some examples. I remember time after time God’s love for me hitting me so strong and it was at times when I was basically feeling useless for any Kingdom purposes. I couldn’t get a feeling of acceptance from leading or even serving in ministry because I wasn’t doing any of that as I have most of my life. It became clear that He just wanted me to BE with Him and allow Him to love me. I realized the importance of constantly relying on His power and guidance because even my best is not enough in some situations. A similar theme that Tim mentioned he had learned was that relationship with God is more important than being on mission for God. We also spent the majority of this time meeting with the Clarksville Vineyard Christian Fellowship. One of their strengths is engaging the Holy Spirit in natural and humble ways. We’ve grown a lot in this area by being around and learning from them.

I started to realize about halfway through this waiting time just how important such a time would be for what God was planning for us next. As we have longed for more of the Father, continued to learn from the life of Jesus, and opened ourselves to the Spirit’s work in us, we have been transformed. This next season will hold many challenges but we feel like God has and will continue to equip and empower us for the task. We are approaching this time ahead with full expectation that the Holy Spirit will guide us in each step we take. In a post coming up we will share a story of a way He has done so already!

Welcome to our blog!

Thanks for participating in this journey with us! Over the coming months we will be sharing stories of what we see God doing IN and AROUND us as we move into this new frontier of God’s mission – the amazing city of Nashville, TN!

The Transforming Presence of God

We believe God is continuously opening up windows of opportunity for us to experience his transforming presence. Jesus talked about this when he said “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news.” The word Jesus uses here for ‘time’ is kairos. It’s a moment in time when God’s kingdom, his transforming presence, comes near and presents us with an opportunity to be changed.

Life is filled with kairos moments, especially when God is leading you into a new kingdom venture. In our experience, a kairos typically comes to us during moments of Conflict, Confusion, Clarity or Celebration. Our challenge has been recognizing those opportunities, entering into them, and receiving what God is trying to give us.

Some of these updates will be filled with moments of clarity and celebration, while in some of them we will share moments of conflict and confusion. We want to be real and transparent about our experiences so that we can truly share our lives with you.

Our Mission

Arriving at this point in our journey has been through an extended period of one closed door after another. Yet with every closed door, at some point, God opened up a window for us to see more of what he was doing and where he was taking us. We feel like God has been preparing us for a very clear and focused mission:

to be a missional movement of multiplying disciples, leaders and churches that saturates the entire Nashville metropolitan area, and beyond…

This is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks we have ever been given by God. But we feel honored that the Father has entrusted us with this assignment. As we follow Jesus’s example, through our weakness, we expect the Holy Spirit to do the impossible.

The movement, along with the first local church plant, will be called OneLife. That name captures some of our core passions for the gospel and discipleship.

Thank you for participating in this journey with us. As we press into this new venture, we invite you to share your wisdom and prayers with us through comments, or even an email or phone call. We hope, in some small way, our story will also inspire you to follow God even further into his mission.

Final OneLife Logo Color whitebackground