Category Archives: Lafayette

Wisdom for selecting a home

Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

It turns out that one of the men from the Pondside group is actually the
President / CEO of Lafayette Savings Bank! It’s amazing how God works
things out. I gave him a call, he had someone call me and in about 30
minutes this morning, Jen and I were “easily” approved for at least a
$180,000 loan.

This raises the question now of where we should live and what home we
should build/buy. The reason this is a big question is that in Lafayette,
homes are really inexpensive, and we could get a home of over 3000 square
feet with a loan of under $200,000!

So, I’m asking you to pray with us and also to comment on my site here
with your suggestions / opinions about this.

Jen and I are praying about a few key homes that we could build for a
reasonable amount:


  • $120,000
  • 2037 square feet.



  • 1618 square feet
  • $90,000



First Floor


Second Floor



  • 1737 square feet
  • $105,000



First Floor


Second Floor



  • 2582 square feet
  • $120,000



English Cottage Elevation


Floor Plan



  • 2771 square feet
  • $130,000



Craftsman Elevation


English Manor Elevation


Floor Plan


[The Auburn]

  • 3183 square feet
  • $135,000



Farmhouse Elevation


Southern Classical Elevation


Floor Plan


Our Dilemma

Here’s our dilemma. The Auburn house would be absolutely wonderful both
for our family and for the sake of the new church ministry. There is a
dedicated home office space downstairs by the door, but there is a huge
area upstairs for the kids to play in while the adults are talking or
having a meeting downstairs. However, the house is really big, and Jen
and I are concerned that we might seem to be pretentious by having such a
large house while living off the support of others-who likely have
smaller homes for themselves.

The Others

The Townsend and Clemson houses are really just toned down versions of
the Auburn house. We would enjoy them too, but they both skip the office
(we still aren’t sure we need that), and the Clemson has one less

The Taft and Coolidge houses are both the functional kind of house.
Everything we really need is in these two houses. Jen and I both grew up
in homes without much more than what these two houses have.

And regarding the Leesburg, I just think it looks really good. It’s a
ranch style home (one story), is economical, but we haven’t seen any
floor plans yet.

None of these homes have basements, but one could be added for only


So Jen and I are trying to figure out whether we need to stretch
ourselves a little bit more financially so that we can get a “dream
house” that would be great for both family and for ministry (core group
meetings and larger Bible studies) with the potential downside of people
thinking negatively about us. We are especially concerned about some of
our supporters resenting our apparent affluence.

Or whether we should grab on to one of the more economical and functional
houses, save ourselves some potential concern over money, and avoid the
appearance of materialism to those we are trying to reach.

Pray and Comment.

Please pray for our wisdom in this decision, and please comment or email
me to let us know what you think.

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Jen and I know where we want to live

Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

I want to thank all of you for praying for Jen and me during our trip
this last weekend to Lafayette. We had a really fun time in many
different ways.

Quick Notes

  • We were able to stay with Jen’s cousin and her family. They are so
    gracious and generous each time we visit. Praise God for Mark and
    Michelle Withers.

  • We were able to meet a group of families who have been passionate
    about a new church in Lafayette for almost a year. Praise God for our
    meeting with the “Pondside” couples.

  • We were also able to meet a family that has recently moved from
    California and was part of a BGC church plant out there. They are really
    excited about being on the ground floor of a new church, and the kids
    were even giving me suggestions on what the name of the new church should

  • Jen and I found the place where we want to live. We want to move to
    an area called “The Commons.”

Prayer Requests

Here are the two biggest things Jen and I are praying about right now.
Please join us in prayer for these things.

Pray for God’s guidance for us and the “Pondside”

We had the chance to meet with three families that have joined together
to start a new church in Lafayette to intentionally reach people with the
good news of Jesus. They have been meeting together for a while now and
have adopted the temporary name of “Pondside.” They really seem like
great people, and if they choose to partner with us, it would likely be
an incredible combination.

Pray for us to get a home in “The Commons.”

In driving through the different areas of Lafayette this weekend, Jen and
I really fell in love with a neighborhood called “The Commons” that would
be not only a great place for our family but also a wonderful
launching-point for the new church. Lots in “The Commons” are going
quickly at about $40,000 and homes that would work for us are between
$130,000 and $160,000.

We really need to get loan approval first before we can make a decision,
but if we can make a decision next month, our home could be ready by
early Spring. Buying an existing home is also an option, but most
existing homes are more expensive than new construction right

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Visiting Lafayette This Weekend


I just wanted to send out a quick note to all of you to let you know that
Jen, the kids, and I will be visiting Lafayette this weekend. If all
works out well, we will plan on meeting with some people who are
interested in possibly joining us.

We will also be looking at some of the housing available there to begin
thinking about where we should live when we get there. Keep us in prayer
this week.

Other things to pray for:

  • October 2-We will be presenting our church plant vision to NWBC (our
    current church) and announcing what the next steps are for NWBC.

  • October 9-We will be visiting Bethany Baptist Church in Harwood
    Heights, IL to present our vision for Lafayette. Bethany has already made
    a church commitment to us, but we will be seeking for some individuals to
    join us.

  • October 30-We will be visiting Rogers Park Community Church here in
    Chicago to present our vision. Tim Beavis is the founding pastor of this
    young church and a friend. As a young church, they don’t have many
    resources. Pray that God would bless them to bless us too.

Thanks for your prayers

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A Plan for Leadership Development

Front Page Lafayette Leadership

My assignment from yesterday’s CECL session was to write up a preliminary plan for leadership development in a church. Considering that I am preparing to start a new church, I thought in terms of developing leaders from the “ground up” so to speak.

It’s a rough draft, but this is what I have so far. I’d love to see your comments on it.

Creating a leadership development strategy:

What do I really want to accomplish when it comes to leadership development?

When it comes to leadership development, I really want to help people become fully committed followers of Jesus who are capable of using their unique giftedness to lead others in identifying and taking next steps unique to them.

Being a fully committed follower means:

  1. GOD-CONNECTED: Having a deeply intimate personal relationship with God that incorporates key disciplines of spiritual renewal and works out in a desire to proclaim the greatness of God both to him in worship and to others in personal testimony.
  2. COMMUNITY: Having a real sense of love and camaraderie with others in the various levels of interpersonal relationships: a few spiritually intimate relationships, 10-20 spiritually supportive friendships for care, counsel, and fellowship, a sense of unity and love for the 100 or so in my circle of concern, a commitment to the corporate cause of Christ, and a desire for those outside the family of God to join.
  3. GROWTH: Having a strong desire to identify areas of spiritual weakness or sin as well as areas of practical possibility and taking strategic steps to grow: education, training, experiences (risk taking), and even teaching others.
  4. MINISTRY: Eagerly pursuing God’s goals for my life in a way that makes full use of the person he has made me to be to give full expression to God’s love for others.

Full commitment has the upward, inward, and outward components balanced.

The Development Process

The church will be structured around a cyclical process that carries people through the four characteristics of a fully committed disciple according to their gifting and calling by God.

Level one:

  • Taking a class or attending a retreat to introduce the concepts and life transformation associated with each step of character development.
  • Getting into a relationship that builds the character traits into my life.
    • Mentor
    • Small Group
    • Class
    • Ministry Team
  • Developing a core habit / behavior associated with that character trait.
  • Sharing what I’ve learned from this class with someone who hasn’t taken it.

Level two:

  • Convert current mentor relationship to a coaching relationship.
  • Mentor another person all the way through level one

Level three and on:

  • Lead a small group and develop leaders
  • Coach small group leaders
  • Teach a class and develop teachers.
  • Coach teachers
  • Lead a ministry team and develop leaders.
  • Coach ministry team leaders
  • Launch a new work of God
  • Coach other launchers

My hangups with this method so far:

  • It’s too complicated
  • It’s too formalized
  • It covers too much ground
  • I want to retain the simplicity of “next step” thinking.
    • Yes, there should be some standard steps for anyone to take,
    • But, there will also be unique steps.
    • Serious care needs to be taken to track which steps are the essential ones.
  • Should priority be given in the structure to the person’s individual connection with God or to the person’s connection to the Christian community?

My hangups with the purpose driven model:

  • It fails to directly address the centrality of God / worship in the developmental structure.
  • It splits ministry from mission and discipleship from evangelism.
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Prayer Update

Lafayette Prayer Requests


All of you know at this point that we are on our way to Lafayette, IN in the near future and hopefully most of you have received a full prayer update in your regular mail box at home—if not please respond to this and let me know and I’ll make sure you get one soon!! We have been praying for each of you on a regular basis too and are excited to hear about what has been happening in each of your lives.

We have just a few exciting updates since our last regular letter that I thought you’d like to know about.

  1. We still have a long way to go in raising our support, but God (and many of our friends and family) have been so very generous already. It’s been wonderful!! Pray for God to continue to bless this.

  2. We and Northwest Baptist (where Jeff currently pastors) have decided that we will move in January, although everyone is graciously allowing for some flexibility there. We’d like to have at least 80% of our support raised by then. Pray for the necessary support and all the logistics with a move. We aren’t sure if we will go to an apartment or straight to a house when we get there so there is much to figure out regarding that. We are excited to have a date!

  3. We have 3 churches that we will be presenting our Lafayette church planting proposal to in October, Northwest Baptist (October 2) and two other Chicago churches (October 9 and 30). Pray that it is received well and that God would bless us with serious prayer support, financial support, and even some great Lafayette contacts.

  4. Jeff spoke with a team leader of a small group in Lafayette just last night. This small group is looking for a pastor to plant a church in the area. They have about 4 couples attending the group and a list of about 40-60 people who are “ready to go” when they have a pastor. We, and they, need much prayer to determine if this is a good match or not. Jeff had a good conversation with them last night and we may meet in person the weekend of September 25. This is a really exciting possibility, but we need much wisdom about moving forward with it or not.

  5. We hope to travel to Lafayette from Thursday, September 22 to Sunday the 25th, to see the area, look into housing and meet in person with a few contacts. Pray for safety, great meetings, that we see and hear all we need to see with both people and housing, and that we make a few new contacts in the process.

Thanks so much for praying!!


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Support is now at 37%

Front Page Lafayette

Jen and I just received our latest notice from Midwest Church planting. Last month, we had two new families come on board as supporters and one of them was a monthly commitment of $100! Praise God! We are now at 37%.

If you would like to see our support chart, go to our main website There isn’t much there yet, but there is a cool chart to keep you up to date on our support level.

If God is leading you to make a contribution, the easiest way for you to do so is to click here to access our online response form.

In other news, Jen and I have some appointments to make our presentation to two different churches during October. At the beginning of the month, we will be at Bethany Baptist in Harwood Heights, IL (Pastor Rob Nelson), and at the end of the month, we will be at Rogers Park Community Church (Pastor Tim Beavis).

We still have a long way to go, but Jen and I are trusting God for more miracles just like you!

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It’s Official

Front Page Lafayette

That’s right, it’s official. Not only have Jen and I made a decision about where we will be planting a church, but we have also made the announcement to our congregation!

Are you ready?

We will be planting a church in Lafayette, Indiana!

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