I am in a unique position in our church: I get to have one foot in the world of our week-to-week life as we gather together for worship on Sundays; then, I often get to place the other foot in contexts like The Salt Company Spring Conference, which took place in early February. It is in those contexts I get to hear the vision for the next churches The Salt Network is planting. I also get to watch college students see a bigger purpose for their lives – a purpose that sees them transferring schools and applying for jobs in new cities for the sake of the gospel.
In partnership with another network church, Candeo Church in Cedar Falls, our Veritas family has already tearfully sent out the Hill family from Cedar Rapids to Gainesville, Florida. The launch team for Salt Church is still forming with plans for The Salt Company and Sunday services to kick off this fall semester. Students from the University of Florida in sunny Gainesville hopped on a plane and flew up to snowy Des Moines to be part of The Salt Company Spring Conference last month. As the last session finished and students filed out, some other Salt staff members and I saw this knot of students on their knees praying together. They were asking God to move on their campus in big ways. In the years to come, Salt Church Gainesville will be able to look back on that weekend and the prayers of those students as the tools in God’s hand that He used to accomplish His plans.
Austin Wadlow, the teaching pastor at another network church, Keystone Church in Ankeny, is heading out this Fall to plant The Commons, a church in East Lansing, Michigan at Michigan State University. East Lansing is home to 70,000 college students and the launch team of The Commons is excited to make an impact on campus. Austin named the church after Acts 4:13, where the disciples are described as “ordinary, common men.”
The Salt Company Spring Conference ended with an announcement for the first of the 2020 church plants, led by Chris Cook. Chris previously worked on staff at The Chapel in Baton Rouge, the same church our very own Michael Rhodes served at for over a decade. Chris has been traveling to universities throughout the Midwest and after prayer and seeking God, chose the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Over the next school year, Chris will build a plant team, invite graduating seniors to relocate and take vision trips to Bloomington as they look forward to what God will do in Fall 2020.
Please join us as we pray and watch how God continues to develop the teams launching these churches; that they would be used as instruments for the gospel to be spread through their campuses, cities and states. The song we sang at the end of the Spring Conference is fitting – All glory be to Christ our King!