In 2010, I flew to Dallas to meet with some pastor friends. I was very discouraged. As a church, we definitely weren’t where I thought we’d be after six years. I left the meeting early and found a Starbucks to kill some time before I flew home that day.
The question I kept asking myself was, “If our church didn’t exist or had to shut down, would the community even know that we had been there?” I couldn’t help but think the answer was “no.” What followed was a prayerful moment at that table. I felt like the Lord began to redeem why He called us to the Northeast, and I had this vision—a dream of something that was bigger than where we were currently. It was bigger than what I had personally seen in my past church experience. I had to write it down. With no paper, I grabbed a napkin. I started with that question and wondered if God wanted to grow us and change us. God began to give me the names of cities where Freedom Church (at that time, Way of Life Community) would make a great impact. I wrote them in order. Bel Air was the first one. I even had a number come into my heart. We would launch a second campus when we reached 250 people.
I returned home and God continued defining our vision and mission, and we worked toward a launch on February 6, 2011. Within six months, God brought us 300 people. We were doing three gatherings since our room only seated 110 people. Several families were driving in from the Cecil County area, so on February 5, 2012, we launched the Rising Sun campus with 259 people on the first Sunday.
Just a short time later I was meeting with a pastor from Middle River who asked if we would consider taking over their church. That was number three on the napkin list! Miraculously, on February 3, 2013, we launched our Middle River campus. That original building is now our Freedom Outreach Center, serving hundreds of meals weekly and offering care to that community.
Only God could have pieced this vision together and now calls us to go beyond where we are.