A Big Announcement
This coming Spring, we are moving back to Columbia, Missouri to plant a new Christ centered church for a city that we love.
I have just recently transitioned out of my role as a pastor of community life at Sojourn Church, where I have served for almost seven years, in order to do a short church planting residency. We plan to relocate to Columbia around April 1st and will begin actively (re)learning the culture and building intentional relationships, hopefully starting a handful of community groups and small gatherings over the summer. We have a small, wonderful team coming with us from Sojourn and have a few great folks awaiting us in Missouri, too.
How did all this come about?
In 2010, we left Columbia to receive additional ministry training, and the Lord had plans to keep us in Louisville longer than expected. We have spent almost seven great years growing and maturing as a family, building lifelong friendships, and serving in ministry leadership at Sojourn Community Church.
At Sojourn, I have had the privilege of serving as a community and executive pastor for a great family of believers during a season of incredible growth and fruitfulness. From helping launch the J-Town Congregation in 2010 to becoming an elder at the East Congregation in 2011, from serving in a global role over community groups to officiating weddings and funerals for dozens of families at East, I have had an incredible opportunity to learn, grow and serve in a healthy church.
As a family, we found a home away from home to have our second and third sons, buy our first house, and start elementary school with our oldest son. We have built lifelong friendships with dozens of families, our home has become a hospitable place for our neighbors, and Joseph, Jude and Jack have thrived here. These have been the best years of our life!
In the early months of 2016, though, we began to sense the Lord inviting us to a new season of life. At first, we sensed this to be a sort of “coming home” to our truest gifts and callings as a family. But then God began to reveal his plan for us to come home literally as well—to go back to the place where we grew up, where we are known, and where we can plant ourselves for the second half of our lives.
By the fall, we realized the Father was warming our hearts to church planting in Columbia, and our close community in Louisville helped to test and affirm this desire. By God’s grace, we received immediate support from Sojourn’s pastors and members, and a number of our friends have committed to join our mission as well. We currently have four Sojourn families committed to moving with us, a handful of others here in Louisville considering the mission, and some old (and new) friends back in Columbia planning to join our core group.
Our desire is not to return to the Midwest with firm plans to take the city by storm—we’re too old and wise/tired for that. Our hope is to root our family in neighborhoods where we can maintain a faithful presence. We want to take jobs where we can build relationships with the unchurched; we intend to open our homes to college students, to skeptics, and to the marginalized; we plan to take the long view and grow this new church the old school way—through evangelism and discipleship.
We are currently calling the new work Trinity Church. We plan to be a part of Sojourn Network and are exploring partnerships with a few other non-denominational networks as well. We have some great relationships with existing local churches, including Karis Church, where we served from 2007-10, and are in the process of identifying an area or neighborhood of need where we can put down our roots as a new church body.
How You Can Pray
Please consider praying for us as we start this new chapter in life and plant this new work of the gospel! You can pray:
(1) For us as a family, as we transition out of a church, city and network of friendships that we love. We will need to sell our house, pick a new neighborhood, school district and home in Columbia, and help the boys transition well.
(2) For those joining our mission, as they uproot from their comfortable lives here in Louisville as well. Pray that the Lord encourages and strengthens them as they seek to be faithful to his call on their lives in co-leading this new work.
(3) For this very young church-to-be, as we learn and grow together, establish our vision, mission, focus area, and organization; as we raise funds and join networks; and as we build intentional relationships with the unchurched in Columbia next year.
We are confident that the Lord is going before us, making a way for this new work. As he has done for centuries, he is gathering a people for himself, for his glory and for the good of his people. We are joyfully submitting to his work here, and happy to be joined by a great team and support system for this new season of life and ministry.
Jeremy and Jessie Linneman