It is hard for me to believe that we have been doing church for a year. On April 16, 2006, we held our first service in the Eureka HS Theater. The service began with a short drama starring Melody Buehrle and Ben Lancaster. Genesis Church began in the book of Genesis (that is appropriate). Time has flown, and the past year has been exhilarating. We have some great victories, and some very trying times. Through it all, we have seen the grace of God working in incredible ways, and I have a resolve to see Genesis live God’s mission in Eureka and beyond.
I thought I would take a few minutes to write a little about our story for those who haven’t been around since day one. To be honest, I never dreamed of doing anything like this. For twenty years I worked with teens in churches. About four years ago I began to realize God was moving in my life toward some kind of change, but to start a church from scratch, that would be crazy. Yet, over time, Heidi and I knew this was how God was speaking to us, and God confirmed this when our church in Ballwin agreed to sponsor us as a new church. The next step was to go to two families, the Lancaster’s and the Allen’s, and ask them to pray about joining a mission adventure of planting a new church. We didn’t have a name, any funding, or really any idea of what we were doing. But those families sought God and agreed to jump in with both feet in December of 2004. The Castlemans joined our core team a few months later, and we began the training and work to launch a new church. These four families spent hours dreaming and doing the grunt work for a new venture. It’s kind of funny now, but the hardest things we had to come up with were a name (we spent weeks mulling over countless ideas before the name Genesis Church connected), and a logo (We looked at thousands of ideas and even hired a firm that gave us a bunch of designs we didnt’ like, before a friend of Nick’s sent us the logo we now use).
During the summer of 2005 we set a goal to prayer walk every neighborhood in Eureka. Mission teams from Ballwin Baptist and other churches helped us with this goal. It was awesome to walk through so many neighborhoods and pray for every family living in Eureka. That Fall, we began a Sunday evening study that was designed to help us build the core team of people that would help us get Genesis going. Many that are in our church today started hanging out with us at this Sunday evening study. As we moved toward our launch, these were the people who rolled up their sleeves and got massively involved in this adventure. They agreed to show up early on Sunday mornings and stay late each week to set up, break down, and make Genesis a reality. Genesis would not have ever made it if it wasn’t for those of you who have given so much because of your love for Jesus and desire to make a difference in the lives of people.
Nick Allen became a very important part of the vision to make Genesis a reality. When we started, Nick was attending University of Mississippi, finishing his degree. For the first two months, Nick drove back and forth from Oxford, MS each weekend to lead worship, and help in other areas. Nick believed God was leading him to serve in a greater way, and raised much of his support to make this happen. Nick made a one year commitment to serve Genesis as a intern working with our worship team and leading our ministry to college students and young singles. He has also been my right hand man in ministry. Nick’s time with us will end this summer, as he moves to other adventures in life. We will miss him, and I thank God every day for his ministry with Genesis.
In the Genesis Kid’s Ministry, Tiffany Castleman took leadership early as a volunteer and did so much to help us get things going. Her husband’s job transferred them to Kansas City, so Kristi Machica has taken on the leadership for Genesis Kids. We have moved to a team approach to our weekly lessons with kids, and started a new curriculum this Spring that has been terrific.
Well, after 52 weeks of kid’s ministry, worship, preaching, and all the other stuff that makes Genesis a reality each week, we must thank our Creator for the blessing of being a part of His plan. We are so blessed, and so excited about what’s coming. Right now we have two adult Community Groups, along with one for youth and one for college students. We also have six ministry teams that take responsibilities for various parts of our church. In the next few weeks, we will hold our first baptisms, which is incredible. And I hear people share regularly about how God is changing their lives. The first year, we worked hard to figure out how to do church. The next year our desire is to work equally as hard figuring out how to live God’s mission in Eureka together.
A year! It’s crazy, but so good. Thanks for being a part. Keep praying for us, and keep finding ways to get involved in the adventure with us! God bless.