STARTING A CHURCH IN 2011

Yes, it’s true. My wife and I, along with some other great friends, are starting a church in 2011 in the Rochester, NY area! We did not come to this decision quickly or lightly.

For the last eight years, the idea of planting a church has been like a boomerang to me. At the end of every year, as I’ve fasted and prayed about the New Year, I’ve consider such a venture, only to end up discarding the thought. Then like a boomerang the idea comes back into my spirit the next year. This year, it stuck.

Let me say right up front that this does not mean that I will stop traveling and doing ministry as Derek Joseph & Isaiah Six. Though I believe I will always have a traveling music and speaking ministry, I believe it’s time for me to settle into local church ministry as the primary call on my life. My traveling ministry will just be more strategic as far as my schedule is concerned. There are many reasons for wanting to start a church:

1. I know that I am more than a worship leader. I have a passion to teach God’s Word and make disciples.

2. I want to establish a “beachhead” for the message of God’s grace.

3. I want to reproduce myself in others, specifically among young evangelists, worship leaders, and young leaders.

4. I have a passion to build godly and healthy homes in a day when the family is being decimated in our society.

5. I have five children and one on the way. I’d like to make things simpler for my family and be more available as a “man in the bleachers” in their lives.

6. I’ve been getting worn out from the road and feel the grace to do it as a full-time vocation lifting.

7. Isaiah Six will serve me better as a supplemental part of my life (financially and ministry-wise). I do not believe this will diminish our presence or impact in the Body of Christ (see below).

8. Planting churches is consistent with the teachings of the New Testament.

As far as Derek Joseph & Isaiah Six goes, it will be an expression of the local church I plant. I’ll probably travel 1-2 weekends a month, though I’ll only be able to miss one Sunday a month. There are many events that can happen working around Sundays. The events we do will be high-quality, high-impact events, and I actually hope to finally develop my vision to do evangelistic “youth crusades/campaigns” in cities. We will also continue our online video and audio podcast ministry that the Lord is blessing so much right now.

My present home church (Elim Gospel Church) and their elders are completely supportive, and I am very thankful for their hearts toward us. As far as the church is concerned, I believe the name will be GraceLife Church. My six values in building the vision are:

1. Elder-Driven: I want to put together a team of men who are functional in ministry and equally share the authority and responsibility of the ministry.

2. Community-Driven: I want to have a relationship-driven church that will have a strong small group component.

3. Grace Theology: Grace is not just a singular truth, but a series of doctrines that hold the entire Christian life together. This will be the center of our message and discipleship.

4. Family: I want to “build the church through the home.”

5. Missional: I want to be raising up believers that impact every sphere of our lives locally, nationally, and globally.

6. Worship: I want to have a relevant, Christ-centered, charismatic worship culture, teaching worship not only as music, but a lifestyle.

People have asked me if I’m excited, and my answer is that I am sober-minded. We are not going to date this church, but marry it! Please be praying for us as we move into this next season of our lives. We know we are called and trust fully in the grace of God and the Holy Spirit to lead us.

Much grace,

Derek Levendusky

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