By Paul Gilbert
“Over the past few months, the pastors and elders have been meeting with individuals to determine who God might have fill this hole. We're thrilled to announce that a man named Joe Haverlock will be joining the pastoral staff to take over the role as worship pastor at Killearn. He'll be here to meet all of you on September 23, with the hope that he'll be on-site by November.”
Meet Joe & Julie
Join us for dinner at 5:30pm on September 23 to meet Joe & Juli Haverlock, hear about their ministry & upcoming move to Tallahassee and Four Oaks Killearn. Click here to reserve childcare (infant-preK only)
During our annual Vision Sunday sermon on September 9, I took us on a fast and furious journey through the history of Four Oaks, and forecast where we believe God is taking us in this next season.
It's hard to believe, but we will be celebrating 30 years as a church next year. For the first 20 years, we were what you might call a "mobile church." Over the years, we moved from one location to the next, including Gilchrist Elementary, CCS, Chiles, a Tupperware warehouse, and numerous others. We were like the Israelite's, except that we were wandering through the Killearn suburbs instead of the desert.
Yet through all our wanderings, God continued to grow us as a church. And as we grew, things became more unwieldy. We realized that we needed a home base - a staging area for us to launch from. Not a fortress to protect us from the world or a country club to relax, but a staging area for ministry. We didn't want to be a "come and see" church but a "go and tell" church.
So we purchased the Shannon Lakes Plaza, with the strategy of growing horizontally. Of being one church spread across Leon County, ministering under the Four Oaks banner, unified in mission, theology, and leadership while still being empowered to reach different geographic regions of the city.
Five years ago, we launched a second congregation with a large core of about 125 people. By God's grace, that effort has been tremendously fruitful. Now 350+ people attend our Midtown congregation, and they are officially out of space. We're currently exploring options to expand there.
Over the last 5 years, the Killearn campus has been in the process of "rebuilding" in a sense. When the core went to Midtown, it left a hole in Killearn, which has been slowly refilling. God has been incredibly faithful, providing financially, bringing new people, and strengthening our health as a whole.
And so now we find ourselves asking the Lord, "What's next?"
As the elders have prayed and sought the Lord, one of the things that has come up again and again is a sense that God is calling us to plant a third congregation in the eastern part of Tallahassee. We believe that God has kept us to scatter, and that involves multiplying.
As we speak, Josh Hughes and a small core group are preparing to launch in early 2019. They'll be meeting in Appalachee Elementary and seeking to be a core gospel presence in that area. To say that we're excited about this is a huge understatement.
And with the excitement comes two opportunities specific to Killearn.
1) A generational opportunity.
Our current demographic is families with school-aged children and empty nesters. And while we want to continue reaching these individuals, we also recognize that there is a prime opportunity to reach those in the 20-30 age range. We want to raise up people and leaders in this age range who can carry on the gospel mission of Four Oaks for years to come.
There are exciting things happening in this area. I've been doing a Monday morning Bible study with younger guys, and as I look around I'm aware that this is the future of our spiritual leadership. I want to come alongside these guys and equip them for the work God has called them to.
Connect groups made up of young couples are meeting on Sunday nights, for the purpose of helping them get connected to the life of the church.
And Pastor Rob has started a college ministry to connect with college-aged individuals, both in and out of the church.
2) A staffing opportunity.
Josh's departure from Killearn to the east has left a hole on the pastoral staff. We need someone who can lead the worship ministry in the church, a person who can recruit, train, and raise up more worship leaders and musicians. Someone who can connect with the younger generation while also having enough biblical depth and maturity to be a multi-generational leader.
Over the past few months, the pastors and elders have been meeting with individuals to determine who God might have fill this hole. We're thrilled to announce that a man named Joe Haverlock will be joining the pastoral staff to take over the role as worship pastor at Killearn. He'll be here to meet all of you on September 23, with the hope that he'll be on-site by November.
All this to say, there are so many good and exciting things happening in the church. We're excited to see where God is leading us and are eager to continue proclaiming the gospel throughout Tallahassee.
So let me close by saying thank you. It takes $5,000 per day to keep the mission going here at Killearn. It's your generous giving that makes it possible. Susan and I have been here for 21 years, and we've experienced your patience as we learned what it means to serve the body of Christ.
Please continue to pray for the church. Pray that God would continue to empower us to keep gathering, giving, and scattering. Pray for Josh and the folks headed east. Pray for Joe and his family as they make the transition to Tallahassee. And more than anything else, pray that God would be glorified and bring many people to Himself.