Recently the Lord has pressed the Appalachian poor on my heart. So I Googled “Appalachian poor.” The Appalachian Regional Commission popped up and had a ton of information including the map at right.
As I researched, it turned out that Holmes County, Ohio, the county with the most Amish people in America, is also home to some distressed Appalachian poor communities. And it’s only one hour from where I live!
So I took a risk. I started driving. I didn’t know where the Lord would lead, but I knew I needed to drive.
As I drove and prayed and drove and listened, the hills kept getting bigger. Yep, it’s the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Deeper in the backwoods, off to my right, I could barely see a clump of ramshackle houses and trailers. As I pulled onto their road, God made it clear in my spirit that this was the right place. So I parked and headed up the walk to the trailer below.
I knocked on the door and a mom with a baby on her hip answered. I had to say something, but didn’t know what to say so I stumbled around telling her that “I’m a Christian…here’s my Bible… I’m a church planter and I felt like God told me to come here and I know this all sounds crazy.”
She said, “Well, as crazy as that is, listen to this: my father-in-law just died, but before he died he pulled a bunch of us around here together for church in this trailer. But since he died we haven’t known what to do!”
Holy smokes! Talk about RORI (return on risk investment) GOD IS AMAZING!
These fine people are very excited about SEEDnet helping them plant the church that their dad wanted.
We need to take more risks like this. The best-case scenario is we talk to God as we go, listen to God as we proceed, and enjoy real time RORI. The worse case scenario is we talk to God and listen to God the whole time which is also a great RORI. It’s a win-win! – by Nathan Wells
(Nathan Wells is the founder and executive director of SEEDnet, a church planting organization that takes Jesus to spiritually, emotionally, economically, and developmentally oppressed areas. He will speak at Flinch Conference on Friday night, July 24, about Planting Churches in Risky Places. This story first appeared on flinchconference.com.)
Today is the last day to pre-register for Flinch Conference, the national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Click here for more information. Pre-registration for the conference closes at Noon (EDT) today, you will still be able to sign up for workshops and riskursions. And some meal and bus tickets will be available at the Welcome Center at Flinch Conference.