(A report on our first six months as a church)
As Liz and I were walking along a mountain river recently, I took inventory of the past year. This has been a year containing the most titanic changes our lives have known since we were married! God has taken us on an epic journey that has radically changed our lives. We have experienced deep sorrow and great joy. Our hearts have been severely wounded and yet greatly enlarged. Looking back we thank God for his faithfulness. We thank God that we have found our hearts again. Our hearts are truly alive.
When asked about the past nine months I have often said, “Jesus only is not enough.” I’m not speaking of salvation but sanctification. What I mean is that Jesus only in times of turmoil and pain is not the ultimate plan of God. God uses people in our lives. Even Jesus went to Gethsemane with his brothers. All of you “Road warriors” who have stuck by us, believed in us, cried with us, and grieved with us, have meant so very much. I don’t know if we could have made it through without your unconditional love and support.
Many of you also were battered, hurting, and felt betrayed in your lives. We worked out our stuff in the “cave of Adullum” together. The phone calls, the letters, the emails, the texts, the fireside chats, the special gifts of love, and the encouraging words began the work of healing and empowered us in ways that most of you will never know. Suffice to say, that Liz and I are eternally grateful to all of you for your generous and open hearts toward us.
Forty Nights of Prayer
The journey of The Road began with 40 nights of prayer—seeking God together in prayer. We gave everything we had to give. Sometimes we saw more of each other than the inside of our homes. What an amazing time.
God spoke to us!! He gave us our hearts back. He showed us that we were indeed to start a new work, a work built on a journey we coined, “the road less traveled.” We felt strongly from the Lord to build this new road on discipleship—building wholehearted disciples of Jesus. Building especially into men, that men needed our attention, that men were being lost due to the feminization of the Church. We’ve spent hours around the fellowship of the ring (fireside) at Hebron Woods, our home, talking, discussing, and praying over how to disciple men. This is still an embryonic work in progress. Thank you men for gathering around the fire, and sharing your life with me even as we think and pray about building wholehearted men.
C Group Training
Jay and Jan Inman opened up their home in September and conducted a training for those interested in starting C Groups (Community Groups) in their homes. C Groups are defined as groups of ten to twenty people coming together around a topic or Bible study, having fellowship, and sharing life in someone’s home. Turnout for the training was excellent and as of last report we will soon have eight C Groups at The Road! Thank you Jay and Jan for your preparation and equipping of our new servant disciple leaders.
New Location and New Structure
After forty nights of prayer, we started in May with our first worship service. Chapel Hills Church blessed us with a terrific situation, letting us use their facility on Saturday nights. Even through the summer months we packed out the chapel. After months of standing room only, in September we moved into the main sanctuary of Chapel Hills.
During the summer we announced our church structure of shepherds (elders) and stewards (deacons). After much prayer and input from the congregation I selected our shepherds (spiritual leaders of The Road): Louie D’Gornaz, Denny Hawk, Sean Perkins, Jay Inman, and Roy Garcia. As our stewards (Administrative and financial leadership) I selected, Ryan Styre, Don Hulin, and Peter Bejadhar. Our overseers, men who are speaking into my life, keep me accountable, and love our fellowship are H.B. London, Dick Eastman, and Paul Stanley, a combined ministry experience of over 150 years! Thanks to these men, I feel so covered, protected, and accountable.
With the numerical growth has come leadership depth in our ministry team, children’s discipleship, youth discipleship, and worship team. The leadership in each area has been remarkable. The willingness of each of you to give of yourself as servant disciples has been amazing.
The Road staff team is growing with new additions almost monthly. Currently we have Melody Pautzke as my personal assistant, Anna Holt is over worship, Ryan Styre oversees finances and facility management, Roy and Betty Garcia are over children’s discipleship, Daniel Holt is over our youth discipleship, Jay and Jan Inman are overseeing our C Groups, Randy and Dani Adams are over video, and Greg Waggoner oversees sound. What a deep blessing to work with each of these marvelous servant disciples.
Making Disciples Seminar
Roc and Bev Bottomly came out October 3-4th and taught on the one thing Jesus commanded us to do—make disciples. Through this six hour seminar, Pastor Bottomly taught on the vision and process of doing D Groups (Discipleship Groups) like they do them in their church, Our Lord’s Community Church in Oklahoma City. It was inspiring and practical. D Groups are small groups of three to six men or women who are meeting around the Bible, prayer, journaling and accountability. I loved Roc’s methodology of “Up, In, and Out” in a D Group. Many of us are excited to take that next step in our journey of building disciples as we move into doing groups with the men and women God is calling us to disciple. Thank you Roc and Bev for coming out and sharing your life with us.
Kicking off D Groups
Let me encourage all of you who attended the Making Disciples Seminar to begin challenging three to six other people to join you in following our D Group format. Use our new “The Road” bookmark for following the passage of the day and working through the process of “Up, In, and Out” for formatting your D Group. If you have a desire to start a D Group but missed the training, let myself or any of our Shepherds know and we will look at how to train and equip you in this style of discipleship.
Liz and I and I know the entire Holt family are so blessed to be on this new Road with all of you! It is the by far the most exciting journey with the most beautiful people we have ever known. Our hearts have come alive!
It is indeed a new work, a new journey, a new outlook—a road less traveled. Robert Frost captured this new adventure in the last stanza of his classic poem,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
On the Road with you,