The Least Bible-Minded Cities in 2017
At the other end of the spectrum, Albany / Schenectady / Troy, NY (10%) is the least Bible-minded city in America—also for the second year in a row. The New England area takes second and third positions, with Boston, MA / Manchester, NH (11%) as the runner-up, and Providence, RI / New Bedford, MA (12%)
SO MUCH CHANGE!
Lisa and I are so excited to write to you with all of the wonderful changes that have ensued over the past year. About a year ago we both felt strongly that God was leading us to move to the capital region of NY. We had heard of the need there and wanted to join a church to serve the people in the area. However, little did we know that a year later God would be calling us to plant VAST Church (launching FEBRUARY 2019)! As most of you know, we had quit our jobs and moved to Saratoga Springs, NY. Over the past year God has been working behind the scenes to develop the gifts He has placed inside of us, to strengthen our marriage, and to help us understand what it takes to not only run a church administratively but most importantly, to love and care for the needs of people.
In May of 2017, we made the decision to move from Saratoga Springs, NY to Gloversville, NY to shorten Lisa’s commute to the school she still currently teaches at. (The hour drive was hard for her as she was pregnant!) About the same time, we moved I began working with Next Level Church and driving to New Hampshire once a week to serve alongside that church. With a baby arriving in October 2017 and my long commutes to NH, I decided to start driving UBER and LYFT to bring in some additional money. God was aligning all of these changes in our lives to bring us to this point. As I began driving around the capital region, God continued to break my heart of the area. In August of 2017, God placed a vision and passion in both of our hearts that we needed to do more to reach the area we were living in. This is when he gave us the vision for VAST Church and we have been planning and preparing ever since.
God seems to always be at work directing us and guiding us to the plan that He has for us and it is simply our job to listen to his leading. We serve a God so much bigger than the financial worries we face or the emotional struggles we have had. We serve a God that cares about those things and also loves us with an unconditional love that is bigger than we can even imagine. We serve a God that is far more VAST than we can even comprehend. God has been showing us this time and again throughout our lives, and because of this, we want to be a church that shows people the vast God we serve. [We want to be a church that meets people right where they are at and allows them to experience the life-change that comes from the vastness of his love and grace.] Our heart is to build a movement. We know the power of our God, as well as the need in this area and God, is calling us to not just plant one VAST Church location, but continue to plant multiple locations across the capital region and beyond. We believe that the Gospel never changes but the methods that we use to reach people do.
WHERE TO NEXT??
To begin this movement, we have made the decision to focus the initial launch location of VAST Church in Amsterdam NY about 20 minutes from where we currently live.
“Amsterdam, New York, is a small city in the northeastern corner of Montgomery County, a rural 410 square miles in the Mohawk Valley with a population of around 49,600 people. To the north of the county are the Adirondack Mountains. To the south, the dairy farms of rural Schoharie County. Vacant textile mills, some of them five or six stories high, loom over and ring Amsterdam’s city center, which was, for the most part, bulldozed in the early 1970s as part of an urban renewal scheme that left Amsterdam with a downtown mall that now sits mostly unoccupied. With around 18,000 residents, the city is the most populated part of the county. It is a quiet place.”
This is a small look at what we are working with here in Amsterdam NY. Help us plant a life-giving church in upstate New York’s highest poverty, highest jailed, highest suicide rated areas in New York. We believe that God is calling us to plant 10 locations across the capital cities and we are starting here. Will you give so we can see God do incredible things here in the capital region and beyond?
We are so thankful for the big vision that has been placed in our hearts and have been busy doing the practical things that it takes it make it happen. Lisa and I are currently working on:
· Building our Launch Team (We have  people on our team so far, and several people moving to NY to join us. )
· Finalizing our marketing campaign & strategy
· Getting our church website up and running: visit www.VAST.Church to check it out
· Secured a location for our VAST Church worship experiences. HIGH ROLLERS ROLLERSKATING RINK
· Building relationships with other local pastors and leaders with the city. I have started a podcast where I interview other church planters, leaders, and entrepreneurs to help me to learn more about them and the needs of the area (visit www.plantedpodcast.com to listen)
· Raising funds for all the equipment that needs to be purchased
· Spending our Wednesdays fasting and praying for all that is to come
We know that we cannot do this alone and ask you to partner with as we build VAST Church. Whether it is by joining us in prayer, coming to our launch service, helping us get the word out to anyone you know who lives in the capital region of New York, or supporting VAST Church financially, we would greatly appreciate your support.
We have partnered with an incredible organization that will match our raised funds! We are asking that you please consider investing generously with the knowledge that your contribution is doubled! We have set a goal of $100,000 and we believe God will enable us to reach that mark. Lisa and I have already invested over [$10,500] into starting VAST Church (training, curriculum, web-site, office, Supplies etc.) and are preparing to give whatever God would ask of us.
We look forward to keeping you updated on all that God is doing. Thank you so much for your love, support and investment in our lives.
Can’t wait to hear from you!
Brenton and Lisa Johnson
(and our newest addition: Emersyn Emilia Mae)
- Vast church Fund
- VAST CHURCH FUND
- Stacey Holcomb
- Nick Kagy
- Megan Kleiner