We’re excited to finally put out some big news that we’ve been praying over, discussing, researching, and thinking through. Since we arrived in Louisville for the Pastors College a year ago, the Lord has opened our eyes to his purposes in a more definite way than when we first began the pursuit of carrying on His mission in the world through church planting. Following is simply a brief update, but we will be posting more here soon.
As many of you may recall, when we first started talking about planting a new church, we considered relocating to the Chicago area with the prospect of planting there. However, and we will detail this further in a blog post, it seems as though God has opened up the doors for us to remain in the Southern United States and plant here. It is therefore with great joy and excitement that we announce to you that after I graduate from the Pastors College in June, the Earl family will be relocating to North Carolina with the ultimate goal of planting a new Sovereign Grace Church in Wilmington, NC.
We will detail more about our journey there in the coming months, but for now we’ll spend just a moment sharing with you about the city and our future move there.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Aaron and I were privileged to visit the city of Wilmington last August on an church planting exploratory trip across the mid-Southern US. Wilmington is a growing urban center on the coast of North Carolina, situated on a peninsula with the Cape Fear River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Its location makes it a bustling tourist town, but it is fast becoming a popular area for young families and business professionals. Due to its increasing business opportunities, city officials predict the population in Wilmington and New Hanover County will increase by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. That’s nearly double the rate of North Carolina as a whole.
In addition, there is a diverse population there, both ethnically and religiously. More than half of the population does not have a church home. The University of North Carolina–Wilmington is there, with a student body of over 15,000 students coming from a spectrum of religious and ethnic backgrounds. Wilmington also has the highest rate of opioid abuse in the nation, according to a recent study. Our hearts are stirred as we consider the need there! We see it as a ripened mission field and are excited to plant our roots there and join in the work that God is already doing on the N.C. Coast.
Phase Two: Plan
As we have previously shared, we have been participating in Phase 1 of this church plant, the “Prepare” phase, where mine and Aaron’s education at the Pastors College is shaping how we will minister in Wilmington. This summer, we will begin Phase 2, the “Plan” phase. During this phase, Aaron and I will participate in a Church Planting Residency at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte where we will develop a strategy for the new church before we move to Wilmington.
We will also visit a number of Sovereign Grace Churches in the region to preach and build relationships, as well as make regular visits to Wilmington to build relationships there.
Additionally, I will take part in a church planting “cohort” concurrent with the residency, where I will travel quarterly to Philadelphia for weekend intensive trainings, and Aaron and I both will both participate in monthly training to prepare us for church planting.
Our family will move at the end of June (followed by the Beanes in July) and begin the residency immediately! And sometime in the Spring/Summer of 2018, CrossWay will send our families out from Charlotte and we will move to Wilmington to launch the church.
We want to give a very special “thank you” to those of you who have prayed for us and given to us financially. It is because of you that we are transitioning into this next season of life! Be on the lookout for a blog post with more specific details on our next steps – BUT, we wanted to keep you in the loop with what God is revealing to us about his plan for us.
Thank you for your continued partnership!