Rural Church Planting is Alive and Well in Ohio!
Amy Carlisle are church planters in the Northcoast Association. Under the
leadership of Associational Missionary/Church Starter Strategist Jim Mayes they
have been able to identify several towns in north central Ohio to plant churches. Charles is supported
by Cooperative Program funds in affiliation with the State Convention of
Baptist in Ohio.
Below you can read the story in Charles’ own words of how church planting is
alive and well in this part of Ohio!
- Gary Odom, Church Planting Resource Group Leader
Four years ago Amy
and I moved from Texas to Ohio. We had no idea what we were doing; we
just knew that God had called us to Ohio to
plant a church in Shelby.
I remember having the U-Haul in the driveway, halfway packed when we finally
got the call that an apartment was available and we had a place to go. Amy was
about four months pregnant with our first child and I found out for the first
time that I never want to be a truck driver. Living Stone in Shelby started off in the local diner and soon
moved to a store front downtown. Eventually people from the local grocery store,
where I worked, started coming.
It didn’t take us
very long to see that one church wasn’t enough. We drove through the
surrounding communities and saw the spiritual depravity of the area. About a
year ago, God gave us a church planting vision to reach rural America. We began Jericho Journey, a planting initiative
to start two churches per year for the next five years. Currently, we have
plants in Tiro, Plymouth,
and Willard. We are looking forward to a plant in Crestline to begin sometime around
the end of the year.
On July 3rd
we launched a Saturday night worship service in the small town of Tiro (population of about
900) and had 22 unchurched people come.
We are looking forward to watching this group grow. The two local pastors
in town were amazed that these families actually came to a church event. God is
really moving large barriers in that town and we can’t wait for the coming
We also have a
Bible Study started in Willard with a few employees of the local printing
company. Because their shift changes every six weeks, so does the time of the
study. We are hunting a place to have a
Worship service, but have had no leads. As soon as this location can be
secured, we will begin the process of launching this church.
Finally, there is Plymouth. We have had
several spurts of success during this time. Many families have come to visit
and we had 23 people from this town make decisions for the Lord during our
spring crusade. (We had over 100 decisions total.) However, this has been a
very hard town to infiltrate. We have sponsored a local T-ball team and that
has been a great door into the local community. Right now we are looking
forward to the Silver King festival where we will be engaging the community
through evangelism. That happens at the end of July/first of August. We are
also in the process of starting an after school program in the Elementary
Living Stone is a
healthy church that is sponsoring three other church plants. God is really
blessing the work of our hands and we pray that He continues to guide us. We
are looking forward to the last half of the year and expecting great things
from God. We believe that the world can be reached through the cities, but we
believe the heart of America
is reached in the rural communities.