Thirteen years ago, my husband Michael was in a band called Conduit. The band consisted of him and another guy named Mike, Mike's girlfriend Kristi, and an occasional drummer. The Mikes played acoustic guitars, covered Storyhill and Nanci Griffith songs, and checked into motels to spend unfettered time writing some pretty spectacular original songs together.
Conduit, 1999. Front row: Michael (my hubby), Kristi, the other Michael. Back: John the drummer
In the following year, Kristi was my personal attendant and Mike a groomsman in our wedding (we recessed to their beautiful performance of All I Want Is You); then, eight months later, my husband stood up as Mike's best man and I was their wedding planner.
our church's first church plant. Around that time, my husband and I had begun sensing that God was also calling us to be church planters, but we agreed that this was not the time. We had our own adventures in ministry over the next four years, until we were blessed beyond measure to partner with another couple to start a church in 2006.
Despite their physical distance and separate ministries, the two Mikes stayed in contact over the years. Four years ago, a tragic event in the life of a mutual friend birthed another band, which served as a creative outlet and circle of support. As pastors, they also began meeting a few times a month to check in with and encourage one another. My husband has often referred to Mike as his soul-brother (since I, obviously, am his soul-mate).
And then, exactly one year ago today, during an ordinary morning coffee date, the Mikes shared an extraordinary conversation.
My husband had asked Mike about his recent trip, during which he helped facilitate some conversations and logistics of a church merger. Mike had felt very encouraged in his role, and just generally as a pastor, and shared some of his thoughts with my husband. And then, without planning or warning, Mike found himself saying, "What I really want to do, though, is plant a church with you."
In all their years of friendship, this idea had never been discussed between them, though my husband and I had always believed we would start another church, and this couple was in the forefront of our minds as ideal partners. So without hesitation, my husband affirmed Mike's desire and asked if he had any ideas or interest in a particular location. Mike immediately shared that he and Kristi had a longstanding love for New York City and had been, over the years, looking for an opportunity to minister there.
Now, my husband is a native of California, a lover of the great outdoors and wide open West. He's been to NYC a handful of times, and just two weeks before this meeting with Mike, he had specifically remarked to a friend that he'd "never want to live" there.
But the moment the words came out of Mike's mouth, my husband instantly and irrevocably could not imagine living anywhere else.
I'm not sure how long their conversation lasted, but the moment it ended, both men called their wives, shared this crazy thought, and received immediate (and joyful) YES!'s from both Kristi and me. By the end of the day, the four of us were emailing like giddy schoolchildren, all amazed and slightly afraid of the fact that, in just one conversation, we were suddenly convinced we would uproot our families, our lives, and our current ministries to pursue this God-sized idea.
Many, many more conversations with trusted friends and ministry partners over the last year, as well as two visits to New York City, have firmly convinced us that this is, indeed, what God is calling us to do. Lord willing, we will all settle in Brooklyn one year from now.
Thirteen years ago, Michael introduced me to Jesus.
He introduced me to Mike, and to Kristi.
We got married. They got married.
None of us had any idea, those years ago, of the joys and disappointments, challenges and blessings, that our marriages and ministries would experience. Through multiple moves, churches, and family circumstances, we had no indication that, one day, in one moment!, the four of us would - seemingly out of nowhere - be called to join together in the adventure of a lifetime.
But GOD knew. He looked on us on our wedding days, watched us share in each other's celebrations, and KNEW the awesome plans that he had for us. Like a generous Father, he must have smiled at his secret and thought, "oh, you haven't seen nothin' yet."
So, what now? There is SO MUCH MORE to the story!
- Would you PRAY FOR US? Today, we are beginning 40 days of prayer and fasting. Contact me if you'd like to know specific requests during this time.
- Can we share our vision with you? We love talking about God's work in and call on our lives. Contact me if you'd like to share a meal or a coffee date with us to hear all the exciting details, hopes, and plans that we have for NYC.
- And, you know, we'll be selling our house...soon. Contact me if you're looking for a great home in South Minneapolis!