In February of 2013, my wife, Kathryn, and I moved from Genoa, Illinois (a small town a few cornfields away from DeKalb), to Evanston, a liberal and affluent city with Chicago to its south, Lake Michigan to its east, and Northwestern University at its heart, boasting a population of nearly seventy-five thousand people in just under eight square miles, many of whom are young adults or students who do not know Jesus.
In partnership with our sending church, Redeemer Fellowship (St. Charles, IL), the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, and the Southern Baptist Convention, we are planting Ransom City Church.
We live to see Jesus worshipped, loved, and proclaimed as Savior and King, and our mission is to make disciples who make disciples.
(Mat 28.18-20, 2 Tim 2.1-2)
I am interning with Redeemer Fellowship and the North American Mission Board, under our lead pastor, Seth Williams, as a member of Ransom City Church’s planting team, and worship director. It is my aim to bring the Good News of Jesus to the lost, and to cultivate a culture of worshipping the Lord in Spirit and truth (John 4.24), by organizing worship for our gatherings, networking, and evangelism in Evanston, in order to discern effective strategies for implementing a biblical and nurturing worship ministry.
We cannot do this alone, but we are in desperate need of God, and I am asking you to prayerfully consider how God might use you to help me in this mission, by praying for us and for God to soften people’s hearts to Jesus, by relocating to be a part of our church and ministry, supporting me financially as I labor for the gospel*, referring me to anyone else who might want to help, or by doing all of these things.
On the night of my twentieth birthday, I received the gospel of grace from friend and now pastor, Seth. I prayed, repenting of my sins and rebelliousness, fully acknowledging that I could not go on without God, and that only the atoning blood of the sinless Christ could reconcile me to Him.
I asked God to deliver and redeem me from a life of sin, idolatry, folly, and emptiness. Immediately upon belief in Christ, God’s Holy Spirit convicted me to pursue ministry, and to use my time, talents, and passions that once enslaved me for the glory and mission of God and the good of the Church, no longer living for myself, but only that I may finish the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
How You Can Help:
- Spiritually- By dedicating to regularly pray for us, our team, and the people of the Evanston area.
- Locationally - Prayerfully considering relocating to be a part of Ransom City Church and helping us minister to the city.
- Financially - Supporting the advancement of the gospel and Kingdom of God by generously giving to my ministry with Ransom City church*
- Relationally - Spreading the word about Jesus and Ransom City Church and putting me in contact with anyone who’s interested, or who might want to help in any of these ways
*Please contact me for specific giving instructions if you are interested
I have so much exciting news since my last update! I’m a few months into my internship with Redeemer Fellowship, it’s going on two months Kathryn and I moved to Evanston, and we are definitely seeing God at work and prayers being answered. For starters, my internship is now being recognized by the North American Mission Board (a branch of the Southern Baptist Convention). It’s kind of complicated, but this is a great thing because it means getting close to our goal for additional financial support for Kathryn and I as we labor for the mission here in Evanston. The move went very smoothly and quickly—we’re almost all settled in and we love our new apartment, city, and work, but we greatly miss all our friends and family back home, and our church family at The Church in DeKalb. This is already the third place we’ve lived since getting married last May; I’m so grateful to my loving and patient wife for bearing with me through all the transitional times, and we’re so grateful to have finally arrived at a place we can call home in Evanston. After a much-needed break from the hard work she put in at Casey’s before the move, Kathryn got a job at Gymboree (a children’s clothing store) in the same mall I work in! This is a huge answer to prayer, so thank you to those who prayed for this specifically. She’s happy to have a job she likes with normal hours and it’s a great fit for us at this time. Beyond that, all the remaining members of our core team who moved here have also found work. Praise God for his providence!
My part time job at Apple’s going well, and it’s presenting multiple gospel opportunities. The Skokie store has a very diverse staff of over 100, and I’ve already had many opportunities to share about Ransom City Church and our vision to see Jesus worshipped, loved, and proclaimed as Savior and King with managers, coworkers, and even some customers. After a rigorous training schedule, my schedule is back to normal, leaving me more time for the church, sharing Jesus, and hopefully discipling them in their relationship with God, which excites me greatly. Our entire core group has been very missional in the past month or so, reaching out to the homeless community, meeting people while shopping or getting coffee, inviting them to Ransom City Church, and to believe in Jesus, and I have faith in the gospel impact God is making through his Church here.
In other exciting news, Ransom City Church has officially been publicly launched! As of Easter, we are meeting at 1pm in a room we are renting in a local community center northwest of downtown Evanston, which is located at:
Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center
1655 Foster St
Evanston, IL 60201
We had a dozen people at our first service, and we’re looking forward to more family, friends, and people from the area to join us soon. All of this information, as well as information about our vision, values, beliefs, etc. (updated from the proposal I previously sent out) can be found on our new website:
Definitely pass this on to anyone you think might be interested. If you are able, we’d love to have you join us for worship on a Sunday afternoon! Along with this new space have come the worship and liturgy responsibilities that I was used to at The Church in DeKalb, only now I don’t have a whole team of musicians and volunteers to coordinate and to help me out, (which makes it both easier and harder at times), but it’s been great to be able to spend more time to get back in the swing of things (kind of).
- We still have a few people looking for work and affordable housing so they can join us, so please pray for future members of our team!
- Please pray with me that God grant me the discernment to see opportunities to share the gospel with people at Apple, and the boldness to take them. I’m also trying to get our Ransom City staff member, Chris, a job there; we’re praying that he gets it!
- Please pray that by God’s grace we see more and more people of Evanston transformed by the Good News that Christ Jesus is the atonement for their sins, that they might walk in newness of life, reconciled to our just and loving Father, getting plugged into the body of Christ at Ransom City Church, and continuing to make disciples!
I’ll also be posting a flyer I made up about my ministry with Ransom City Church that includes some information about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and some ways people can help. My goal for my next update is to have more exciting news about what I’m seeing God do in the lives of others in our city through our church in addition to what He’s doing in my own. I’d love to hear what He’s doing in yours!
Peace & Blessings,