How in the world did we ever get here? At what moment did the trajectory of our life begin to point to Boise, Idaho? Where did it all come from? The call, the burden, the vision which drives people like us to walk away from everything we know, to go into a foreign land, to risk so much not only in their own lives but in the lives of their family as well as anyone else crazy enough to follow. For Christians, we know that the source of it all is the Spirit of God…at least on our good days. But the ways in which these callings are revealed to us differ in all of our lives. Sometimes it’s through a traumatic experience, sometimes a newspaper article or a show on the television. Sometimes a passage of Scripture or a conversation in the hallway becomes our flash of inspiration, that deep seed of vision which just won’t go away.
For my family and I it would be too simplistic to say it was one moment which led us to where we are today. But there were definitive moments and seasons along the way. There was the moment when I realized that every single one of the cities in the northwest United States needs more healthy, life-giving, prevailing, multiplying, OnMission churches. There was also the realization that most of the states in the same region provided access to great fly fishing and elk hunting(pre-requisites to effective church-planting).
There was the season of ministry at our first plant, the Cody, WY, Campus of Harvest Church where we had so many good days and sometimes not-so-good days. On the former, days where dozens were baptized, or that one person myself or someone else was praying for FINALLY gave their life over the Christ. On the latter, days where relationships were challenged, and evenings and mornings passed when I didn’t want to leave the bedroom because of the struggle I knew was waiting on the other side of the door. And through all of those seasons, as we walked through life with a group of people in Cody, I saw so many of those people really….REALLY… “get it”. I was blessed to see the light go on, as people understood what “church” is all about and, with eyes finally opened to the wonder of the local church, to watch them surrender their lives its mission. In those moments in that season, I realized that there is nothing else like seeing a local church come to life. I was hooked.
As the months and years continued to pass, there was a call which became stronger and stronger, to the point un-deniability and impossibility to resist. A call, a vision, a passion to take all we had learned and to apply it to the birth of a new church in a new city. We didn’t know where at first, but our hearts felt pulled west, towards and over the mountains. In the months spent discerning what city would be our new home, one timely piece of information presented in a conversation between myself and two of our Conference Superintendents would be the destination-defining moment which has determined and continues to determine the course of the lives of not only myself and my family, but many others who are now joining with us. In that conversation, I realized that sitting between two of our Conferences, the Western & Pacific, was an entire state without a single church of our denomination. Idaho, the Gem State, famous for potatoes, elk and steelhead, with its capital, Boise, placed in the center of a metro area with almost 700,000 people in a state of 1.7 million. And, at the time of the conversation, though we had churches on both sides of that state, we didn’t have any in Idaho itself.
We do now.
On July 20th of 2015, a Uhaul, a Scion and a Subaru packed with furniture, memories, one pastor, one wife(it’s biblical), two daughters, a pug and a cat(regrettably) crossed over the Montana state line, and when we did the Evangelical Church expanded by a state. Passion Church, www.passion4boise.tv, which began as a dream/vision/burden/calling in my heart years ago, is coming to life in Southeast Boise. It is a church committed to reaching & reviving furthest hearts to impact the world. It is a church that desires to be known for passionate prayer and for discipleship which lead to multiplication of ministry at all levels. It is a church which is being weaved into the fabric of the Kingdom network already in place in the Boise Metro Area, with many pastors and leaders already in partnership and support of us.
Though our public launch of weekend services isn’t until September 18th, ministry has already begun. First, with our family striving to shine the light of Christ into our neighborhood. That has led to friendships, some evangelistic in nature, as well as some others which have resulted in like-minded Christians in our community prayerfully seeking the permission of their pastor to come join our effort. We have many churches in the Boise Metro Area who have already partnered with us in prayer, in people, and even in giving of their financial resources to the ministry of Passion. Kingdom-minded leaders of this community who have taken the time out of their busy lives to celebrate and serve our new ministry, entrusting precious resources to us.
In our beautiful community of Southeast Boise, with a population of over 60,000 people, there is a combined Bible-believing, Jesus-preaching local church attendance of under 1,000 people. And the greater Christian community of the Boise Metro Area, including those who are already doing ministry in our part of town, have rallied behind us and welcomed our new church into their fellowship. We’ve come to bring the Gospel of Christ to our beautiful community, to join hands with the other Christian men & women who have already been laboring here for years and years. We’ve come to be a support for people like my new friend and hunting partner, who not only loves Christ with all his heart and is a deacon at his church across town, he is also principal of a school in our part of town. And, walking into a lunch meeting with me, he sat down heavily, looked me in the eye and said, “We need you here so badly.” Because he had just spent the week wading into some of the broken homes from which his students arrive at his school. And he as a leader in our community needs to play his part, but he also knows that he needs the local church to be there in the community with him to stand on the wall as our enemy attempts to destroy the lives of those in our city.
My friends story as well as the story of many others in Southeast Boise is the reason we are here now. Over the coming months we will continue to prayerfully put together our ministry team, raise financial support and, most importantly, be living OnMission together in our community. As we help people to trade the passions of this world for the passions of the one to come, as we seek the Lord with all our heart, as we surrender to His will, serve one another and the world, and celebrate the wonder of what Christ is doing in our lives, as we do these things our new church will strive to reach the furthest hearts of Boise & beyond with the Gospel of Christ, and to help every heart be revived to utility for the Kingdom, ready to impact this dark world around us.
We would truly love for you and your church families to join us in prayer. We have a wonderful prayer team who continues to lift our vision and our needs up to God and we would so grateful if you were to join that team. You may find more information about our church and, specifically, our prayer team at www.passion4boise.tv/pray. There are many exciting, challenging, ministry-filled days ahead in Boise and beyond as we step out OnMission for Christ. Please remember us in your prayers.
Reaching & Reviving together,
Lead Pastor | Passion Church