Monday, June 05, 2006

Just Add Water

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. - 1 Corinthians 3:6

Just over two years ago, David Coram planted a church in Oak Grove, Kentucky. He planted a rather unusual church. It is a church that specifically reaches out to people in the United States Army. Living Waters Fellowship is in Oak Grove, Kentucky, just outside the gigantic Army post known as Fort Campbell (home of the 101st Airborne Division).

There coundn't have been a more appropriate planter. David had just retired after 31 years of service in the Army. He had served as a regular enlisted man and worked his way to become a Warrant Officer and a helicopter aviator. He later felt the call of God to enter the ministry, so he left the Army for a while, attended seminary, then re-entered as a chaplain. And that's where he served the remainder of his years for Uncle Sam ... as a chaplain to our fighting men at Fort Campbell. He served under fire in Operation Desert Storm. He retired as a Major in 2004. He already had the connections, he was already committed to the community, and God had called him to plant.

David Coram planted the seed.

Then, just a few months after he and his wife planted the church, God sent a large group of Baptist students to help him water. About one hundred youth and adult sponsors came to Oak Grove, led puppet presentations and sports camps for kids, performed acts of servant evangelism, and "beat the streets," going door to door gathering information and seeking out receptive people for the new church. And they found many! In fact, some of those students had the opportunity to lead a few soldiers and their families to Christ, right in their own homes or even on their doorsteps. The awesome part is that David and his core went back and followed up with each family and each decision. Several were baptized into membership at Living Waters, and remain faithful members to this day.

If you ask David Coram, he will tell you. That group of students made all the difference in the world. They performed tasks in one week that it would have taken him and his team months to perform. They helped give him a "super boost" of growth and energy. God used them to catapult Living Waters to a new level of growth and energy. And all they had to do was show up and be available for God to use them!

Students watered.

And since this is a military church, David knows that he won't have his people very long ... maybe two or three years. The Army keeps them on the move. So they have to reach people and disciple them quickly. They are one of the "Kinetic Church" models that Roger Ferrell describes in his article, "Kinetic Church Planting." But they're okay with that. In fact, David calls the United States Army the "missionary mobilization arm" of Living Waters Fellowship (and he says that with a huge, cheesy grin on his face). Whenever one of their families is transferred to another Army post, the church "commissions" that family as missionaries to that new location. They challenge them to find a new church plant to get involved in or to step up and plant a new church themselves. It doesn't cost Living Waters or the Kingdom of God a thin, shiny dime! Uncle Sammy picks up the tab! Cool, huh?

God has given the increase.

Can students play a vital role in Church Planting? You bet they can! Find out how at .


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