Trevor Atwood is the Summit’s current church planting resident. In July, Trevor and his family will move with 24 others to plant City Church outside Nashville, TN. Here is a little more about how God led him to reach the city of Murfreesboro and how you can be involved.
How did God call you to plant a church?
I never thought I would plant a church when I moved to RDU 5 years ago. The answer to this question is a 5-year journey that culminated in a realization that God was going to reach people with the gospel and transform individuals and cities through gospel-centered churches. God used the Summit Church to spark a desire to plant and to equip me to do it. During my time at the Summit, I learned the importance of church planting, watched us send church planters, and heard the stories of life transformation that were happening in their respective cities. At the same time, the leadership and those around me were affirming my gifts of leadership and preaching to plant a church. After experiencing God re-orienting my life around the gospel in RDU, I wanted to see that multiply in another city.
I get 2 questions quite a bit: “Where is Murfreesboro?” and “Why would you plant there?” Murfreesboro is a city of over 110,000 about 30 miles south of Nashville. It is the fastest growing city in TN and the 12th fastest growing city in the nation. It is also home to the largest university in the state, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), which is 26,000 students strong.
When we first began to explore where to plant a church, we thought we would just pick a large city with few churches. We landed on San Francisco for a while, but soon realized we were overlooking what God had done in our lives for 10 years in Murfreesboro: my wife and I were alumni there; I had worked for 7 years there as the director for a non-profit community organization which gave me good relationships with local pastors, businessmen, and community leaders; my wife and I had loved, served, and discipled several college students during our time there; and we had good relationships in the community.
This led us to take a vision trip last October. On that trip, I discovered that the 18-34 year-old demographic was widely unchurched. The pastors I met with told me they had all but disappeared from churches. Yet this demographic makes up over 30% of the city, the largest single demographic in Murfreesboro. In addition, of the 26,000 students at MTSU, under 1,000 are involved in any church or para-church ministry. All in all, we figured out that Murfreesboro was more than 70% unchurched. The Bible belt had clearly missed this city.
How can people get involved in City Church?
Give. Church planting is expensive and we don’t want to be a financial burden on the people we are seeking to reach.
Pray. We need partners who are willing to take our requests for prayer and rejoice with us over the work God is doing.
Go. Come with us. Move your life to Murfreesboro to invite people far from God into your life, sharing the gospel with them along the way.
Maybe you’re a college student who just graduated and you are trying to figure out where to plant your life. You’ve got to get a new job somewhere, so why not take a chance on God and choose a city to invest your life in and let God provide a job for you there?
Maybe you are a young professional and you’ve realized that you want your life to count. Maybe you could transfer your job to Nashville. Or maybe you could just resign and trust God to give you a new one in Nashville or Murfreesboro.
Maybe you are a nurse… there are great hospitals minutes away from where we’ll plant.
Maybe you are nearing retirement age. Why not leverage your retirement to make it count, and retire near ‘Music City, USA?’
Maybe you’re thinking about a graduate degree—why not go to school in Nashville or Middle TN State University?
Some of you have been feeling this stirring about wanting your life to count… maybe this is the opportunity for you. Make a Kingdom decision and move to Murfeesboro/Nashville, and let God provide the job for you.