We need stories. They help and they heal. They challenge and they change us. And the good news is we all have a story to tell!
In this Sojourn Story, Brandon Shields, Lead Pastor of Soma Indy, shares a bit about the start of Soma Church, what drew him to a partnership with Sojourn Network, and how they are seeking to be a faithful, gospel presence in Indianapolis.
This story originally aired during the 2016 Leaders’ Summit in Louisville, KY.
More Sojourn Stories...
We are relational people serving a relational Savior. We’re also ambitious, driven by the same desire as the apostle Paul, who said it was always his ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known (Romans 15:20). We want to be on the frontlines reaching people for Christ, which requires forming strategic partnerships. But relationships aren’t expedient. They take time and require patience. Therein lies the rub.
How do we, as pastors and church planters, move forward in faith, seeking opportunities to preach the gospel in the neediest of places, while still maintaining that essential relationally-driven component?
Aaron Gray, pastor for preaching at Sound City Bible Church sat down to discuss this very question with us.
A few weeks ago, I was able to fly down to Beaumont, Texas to catch up with Josh and Esther Jean. After spending a few years in Louisville, KY studying at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Josh and Esther moved back to Beaumont, their hometown, to plant Sojourn Church of Beaumont. Trips like this are an absolute joy and so encouraging for me personally, as I’m reminded of all that God is doing in towns like this across the country through faithful men and women like Josh and Esther. So, even though Beaumont might be considered one of the saddest cities in America, I found that God is doing a work here that should give the church reason to celebrate and continue to “be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
God thinks food is a good thing. So does Ronnie Martin. Each week, after Sunday services, Ronnie invites those present to a feast, something he’s been doing since the day he planted Substance Church. According to Ronnie, the Sunday feast at Substance isn’t anything extravagant, but it does represent something bigger than itself. It serves as a window into a new world, a new kingdom. The meal is a tangible occasion for welcoming one another in hospitality, extending generous grace, and fostering true community.
This intrigued me, so I asked Ronnie to explain a bit about why he’s woven this practice into the rhythm of Substance. This is that conversation.