Todd and Darren Lemons are currently planting The Refuge in Terrell, Texas and are planning on an official launch date of January 6, 2013.
Tell us about your calling to church planting.
Todd – I was part of a plant in 1996 in Savannah, GA and from there called to the ministry. Ever since then, I have felt a strong connection with church planting and after serving with established churches, I felt God calling me to plant a church a couple of years ago. When I asked for prayer from a good friend of mine, Darren, he said he was being called to do the same. We prayed, talked about it, and our visions lined up almost to a “T”. We then were approved by our association and God has confirmed our calling every step of the way.
Darren – I had been serving in Mesquite, TX and was struggling for 5 years with the calling of where God wanted me to plant a church. God kept revealing the Kaufman County area to me. I was getting ready to start the process when Todd and I discussed his calling. God brought us together to reach this area.
What is your vision for The Refuge?
We feel that God clearly sent His one and only Son to meet us where we are and show us the way to Salvation, through trusting in Him and following Him. Therefore, we believe we are called to meet others where they are, instead of expecting them to come meet us where we are. We truly believe in the Great Commission and that we are to meet people, as we go, along the way, and show them the love of Christ, then disciple them into a deeper walk with Him.
Can you share a story of how God has been working already?
One instance would be a lady named Stacy. Stacy hadn’t been in church for 18 years. She heard about our first Vision Casting meeting through a mutual friend on Facebook. He happened to put on his FB that if anyone in the Terrell area was looking to be a part of a new church plant to come and listen. (he is actually my former pastor’s son). Stacy contacted him and got in touch with us and came. She was so excited that she asked if she could bring a friend. Her friend’s daughter accepted Christ at our Vision Meeting and was baptized at our first Preview Service! Stacy is still an integral part of our church and she recently volunteered her clubhouse at the apartment complex she lives at to hold weekly Life Group meetings. We recently multiplied Life Groups and subsequently were able to meet at those apartments as our second location!
Tell us about a struggle or challenge you’ve encountered up to this point.
As a church planter, there are many struggles we face, and some are definitely connected. We can always use more finances. Part of the struggle is hoping we can share our burden for reaching this area with other churches and individuals who would partner with us not only prayerfully but also with financial support. We know that as we reach more people and teach them the principles of stewardship, giving, and tithing, that our finances will increase, however, with more people comes the need for more ministry leadership in the area of children’s, worship, youth, and administration (personnel wise), not to mention the need to budget for buildings and other necessities of a growing church.
Another struggle is to be constantly raising up leaders from within. We know that this is essential for growth but sometimes their is a depth growth before their is a width growth and we believe God is preparing us now for the numerical growth to come.
What is a lesson you’ve taken away from the church planting experience thus far?
One huge lesson is you can never have too many servant leaders and always need to be mentoring and discipling someone while you are also being mentored and coached yourself.
Also, as Dave Devries showed us in a training session, “Home made cookies are so much better than store bought cookies”. A reference to reaching the un-churched and raising up disciples instead of looking at others from another church and hoping they will come and serve with you. When you raise up the disciple, they truly catch your vision as you teach them how to follow Christ.
And finally, how can church leaders reading this get involved?
We would encourage everyone to connect with us through our website and social media outlets (see below) to learn more about our mission. We pray that many will feel led to connect with us and prayerfully be willing to support us in monthly giving and consistent prayer. We are confident that God called us to this area and these people to show His love and His grace. God met us where we were over 2000 years ago, would you help us meet others where they are and show them the same love of Christ we were shown?
You can stay up to date with The Refuge not only through our website and social outlets but also through signing up for our newsletter updates.
Learn more about The Refuge:
The Refuge is affiliated with the Baptist Missionary Association of America. Find The Refuge on Twitter and Facebook. Catch Todd on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Find Darren on Facebook and Twitter.
Contribute to The Refuge:
Donations can be made online or by mail to The Refuge, PO Box 2068, Terrell, TX 75160
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