LIVONIA, MI – For most of their early lives, only thirty miles of Michigan roadways separated Travis Whittaker and Shea Prisk from one another. Travis Whittaker grew up in South Lyon. Shea Prisk grew up in Highland. The two of them did not know one another until 2009 when their first meeting took place at a conference in Ohio. The two of them began to collaborate on some projects. Their initial interactions were casual yet intermittent. The two men are somewhat different from one another.
Travis has a smooth, calm voice. He appears dressed to go on stage. He inquisitively visits with people asking questions about their life. It’s no surprise because in his earliest ventures Travis was part of a band called Station2. He and his band were performing national and international concerts before God redefined Travis’ calling to become a church planter in Michigan along with his growing family.
Shea is quick and witty in his conversations. He seems most comfortable in caps, t-shirts, and jeans. There is an intensity in Shea that explains why he made a great DJ and emcee for big events in his early years. Shea describes himself as a troublemaker back in his youth. Yet, today his boldness and sales experience has provided well for his young family.
Though only thirty miles separated these men most of their lives, it’s obvious that God intentionally brought them together in 2009 to create an unstoppable divine initiative. One day, Shea took it upon himself to call Travis. The two men teased one another as they often did until Travis with a more serious tone explained to Shea that his phone call was no accident. Travis shared his call to start a new church and he asked Shea to join him on the adventure. As a result, just over two years ago, Travis and Shea started Mile City Church in Livonia, MI.
Everyone remembers the launch day when Shea and his wife were introduced to the members of Mile City Church. They were expecting their first child. Travis said something like this to the congregation, “Shea and Andrea are expecting their first baby!” Everyone busted out in applause thinking that was the big announcement. Travis continued, “They’re pregnant and we’re planting pregnant as a church. Shea and Andrea are going to be the first leaders of the first church plant out of Mile City!” Again, the crowd clapped but even louder in response to this bold assertion. Many throughout the gathering that epic morning probably asked, “We’re not only starting a new church but we are already starting another church?”
Mile City’s two-year growth has been shocking! Many have come to know Christ. Baptisms occur often. Home groups have created deep friendships. People are bringing friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to church. The members of the church have given back financially to the Cooperative Program and other special offerings setting records through their generosity.
While Mile City continues on its increasing trajectory, Shea has stepped out into faith to start a new church in Grand Blanc, MI. Its name is Grumlaw Church. This year, the church will boldly launch their initial services at the Genesys Athletic Club in Grand Blanc, MI. Initially, more than 50 adults have committed to be part of the launch team. Other churches have come alongside the effort sponsoring the new church plant in practical and meaningful ways.
To top it off, Travis announced late in 2017 that one of Mile City’s newest undertakings in 2018 will be a new church start in Lyon Township, MI. Travis will preach in two locations in two church plants while Shea and his launch team create a new church in Grand Blanc.
That is the power of one. Within three years, there will be three new church plants coming from one friendship that was started in 2009: Livonia, Grand Blanc, and Lyon Township.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.