Five years ago, Scott Avey packed up his wife Jennifer and three kids and moved to Maryland to be a worship pastor at Grace Community Church in Frederick.
“I was so happy to have a ministry and community,” Avey notes. The church quickly became home to him and his family as they developed deep relationships with their friends and the people of the church.
“I had no aspirations of doing anything different than playing my guitar and leading in worship. In fact, I resisted it,” Avey continues. “I had waited what seemed to be forever to have a ministry like this. Why would I ever do anything different?”
Of course, God had other plans. After about a year of attending Grace, Avey attended a church planting conference at the request of senior pastor R. Dallas Greene.
“I wasn’t sure why I was there because what I do – play guitar and making videos – has very little do with grassroots church planting. The entrepreneurial spirit of starting from scratch intrigued me, but I shrugged it off.”
At one point at the conference, a man was speaking about measuring success not by the size of the building or budget, but on whether or not the church is training future leaders. An elder from Grace Community leaned over and asked Avey if there was anyone from their church with the role of leader-in-training. Avey responded that he didn’t think so.
His friend replied, “Well maybe that’s you.” At that moment, God pushed Avey off the ledge.
“All I know is that for about five minutes I went numb and tingly all over. The speaker seemed to be in a muted slow motion. I began to write furiously in my journal.”
Avey responded to the call at the end of the service, confident that God was pushing him out of his comfort zone, calling him to plant a church. But he wasn’t sure how, when or what that would look like.
“After many years of dreaming and planning, and even saying ‘no’ to other opportunities, I knew that to delay any longer was to be disobedient,” Avey said. So, he approached Pastor Greene, to ask about partnering with him to plant a church.
The elders and pastors of Grace Community Church enthusiastically supported the idea, and commissioned the Aveys, as well as five other core families from Grace Community, to begin a gospel community in the target town. They chose Brunswick, a highly secularized area with over 58% claiming no religious affiliation — twice the national average. Located within the greater Washington D.C. metro area and comprised of both professionals and local workers, Brunswick was a place of great opportunity to reach people with the gospel.
Avey and the other members of the church planting team began meeting as a Bible study in a home, christening the church “Grace Fellowship.”
“We started our first meeting in January of 2017 in a home with 38 people (just under half were kids!), and by the second week, we have seen about four unchurched families get involved. Our goal is to build a foundation with these folks of really understanding the gospel: to Know It, Live it, and Give it away. We hope to continue to grow the church, and if God continues to bless it, we will look to have a public launch in the fall.”
“We’ve been under spiritual attack since starting this endeavor,” notes Avey. “The obstacles are great, but prayer God works through his praying people.” –Scott Avey contributed to this story.
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This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.