Church planting wrecked my family’s life.
When God called us to plant a new Vineyard church, I had been working as a youth pastor for over 10 years.
The church and youth group were great. Our pastor was like family to us. We had a comfortable life, but God began to stir something in us and gave us a new vision.
As a family with 4 young kids, my wife’s way of serving was often to stay at home with them. Even when she was able to help at retreats and events, it was difficult for her because she didn’t have the same connections with the teens that I did. Eventually, when our kids grew up, the whole family became more involved.
Yet, it always felt like my ministry and everyone else was just helping. We began to ask the question, “What would it look like to do ministry as a family?”
At the same time, we helped some of our friends move from our neighborhood in Ohio down to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We all hung out, cooked together, and tried to help them find a church.
As we searched, we realized that there weren’t any churches in their new county where our friends would be comfortable.
Our desire to be a family on mission and our realization that there were many people like us in the area looking for a different type of church collided.
We felt as if God was asking us to start a church for other people like us in Pigeon Forge.
We didn’t have a job lined up or a house, and we had no idea how it was going to work out, but we moved there and started hosting dinners in a park, doing outreaches, and eventually started having a service. Many of our first attenders were our kids’ friends.
We always knew that kids have a place at God’s table and we wanted them to be deeply involved. We decided to always do a kids lesson, include kids in outreaches, and to ask our kids’ opinions on big decisions.
This past Mother’s Day we even had the kids take over a whole service. We had a lesson by kids for kids. They did worship on a ukulele, and our eldest daughter delivered the message.
We prioritize doing life together over putting on a great show.
We are truly doing church together. Church planting wrecked our comfortable life and it was the best thing to ever happen to our family.
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About the Author
Joe Marinich is a pastor originally from Ohio but now ministers together with his family in Pigeon Forge TN. He and his family decided to not jut plant a Vineyard church, but to be a family on mission together that serves the community and that does life with others. They currently use a local theater for weekly meetings and also live cast the service each week on social media.
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