Once dead, now alive
"Replanting a church becomes a platform to display God’s glory. By the power of the gospel, that which was once dead is now alive”
– Mark Clifton
CLIO, MI – I received a text last May from a pastor on the FBC Clio Legacy Team. They asked me to pray about coming back to Michigan to replant the church I grew up in. I laughed. I’m not sure if it was a nervous laugh, an “are you kidding me” laugh, or a God’s got a sense of humor laugh, but it was one of those.
Rachel, our kids and I at that time had been serving at a non-denominational church in Rossville, Indiana for almost 5 years. We had seen God do amazing things there. Lives changed by the truth of the Gospel, and people growing as disciples of Jesus so why would we consider a move? A few years before this text, Rachel and I had a conversation about ministry, and we agreed that we would not look to leave our church family, but if someone reached out to us we would pray about it. So… we prayed and sought God’s will and as we prayed, and waited for God to show us His will. He led us to move back to Michigan as re-planters. So we surrendered with no NAMB support in place at the time, and no other churches committed to support us yet. We had a home to sell and a home to buy. It was one of those moments of waiting and trusting our Lord to work, and He did. God supplied our support from NAMB, other churches and individuals, and sold our home and provided a new one.
After our move we spent the first several months vision casting and building relationships with those who had been a part of FBC. Then on January 6th this year we launched as a re-plant. What was once dead or dying, now has life. What was once without focus, now has vision, and we give God the Glory for His work. We have seen great growth in the church in both numeric numbers, and spiritual growth. God has also opened many new ministry opportunities for us in the Clio schools and in the community. This re-Plant was desperately needed. With hundreds of SBC churches closing yearly there is a greater and greater need for re-planting. There are 32,000 people within 5 miles of the building our church meets in. Think about if the church had come to an end. Thank God for His work though NAMB and SEND Network Michigan, and the new focus on re-planting churches.
There are many challenges to replant a church, and much support and prayer is needed. For a dying church to be replanted, there has to be a humbling of the church to see the need, and willingness to surrender leadership and tradition to start anew. There is a need for other churches to help support the pastors and partner in ministry with them. There is a need to create a new reputation, and a need for refocus on discipleship, gospel proclamation, and call to “be the church” not just go meet with the church in worship. God has worked or is working in great ways to accomplish each of these in City Church. We continue to need your support and prayer, and we want to say thank you to those that have already come alongside us. It is a testament to the power of the gospel to see what was once dead, now alive and growing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rick Marcus serves as Lead Pastor of City Church in Clio, Michigan. City
Church is the Re-Plant of FBC Clio and launched on January 6, 2019. Prior to launching City Church, Rick served in pastor and youth pastor positions in Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky. Rick and his wife Rachel both grew up in Michigan SBC churches and both surrendered their lives to Jesus at Bambi Lake as teens.