One of my great God-given passions is coaching young ministry leaders- especially young men with hearts for church-planting. I get to invest in some amazing up and coming leaders here in VT- a group including BCC’s Gospel Community leaders and a couple of church planters from other Vermont towns. These guys love Jesus, authentically live out His message, and lead others to do the same… And they’re only scratching the surface of their God-given leadership potential.
In a couple of weeks, six of us will be traveling to the Exponential Church Planting Conference in Orlando, Florida. This provides a unique opportunity for these guys to learn from other forward thinking church-planters and share together in an “iron sharpening iron” experience. Please pray that God will use our week at the Exponential Conference to continue equipping us and expanding our vision of what God desires to do in our communities. I’ve included a brief bio below for each of the guys.
Many people have asked over the past few months if there is a concrete way you can support church-planting endeavors in this region. The answer is “YES.” Two of the guys listed below are planting churches. Included in their bios are links to their personal sites where you can learn how to financially support their church-planting endeavors. The three other guys are representative of a larger group of nine Gospel Community leaders we’re training right now at BCC. Every year we’re planning two weekend “Equip Workshops” where we fly in experienced leaders (much like those at Exponential) to invest in our leaders and other church-planters in the region. If this is something you’d like to support, you can write a check to Burlington City Church and write Equip in the memo line. The address is…
Burlington City Church
49 Janet Circle
Burlington, VT 05408
Now for the bios:
Brian C moved to Burlington, VT from Connecticut to attend the University of Vermont. Although he did not grow up in a Christian family, Brian became a follower of Jesus as a sophomore in high school, and joined the Navigators campus ministry as a college student where he quickly joined their leadership team. After graduating with a degree in social work, Brian sensed God leading him to stay in Burlington and took a job with statewide non-profit as a family support case manager. Over the summer of 2012, Brian dove into the deep end of ministry by moving into Burlington’s Old North End to start a a Gospel Community with his roommate Dave. Since launching this past August, their Gospel Community has become a ethnically and economically diverse spiritual family of fifteen people from the neighborhood committed to serving their neighborhood together in the name of Jesus.
Phil Corriveau is a Vermonter through and through, born and raised in Underhill, VT. Phil grew up in one of the most Jesus-centered families I’ve ever met and became a follower of Jesus in his late teens. After serving with the Army in Iraq, Phil got his nursing degree from the University of Vermont, and now works at Fletcher Allen Hospital. While in college, Phil was a leader in the Navigators campus ministry and helped start a mentoring group for boys that primarily engaged refugees between the ages of nine and sixteen from Burlington’s Old North End and Winooski neighborhoods. Almost a year ago, Phil and several other friends moved into the west side of Winooski to launch a Gospel Community in Vermont’s second most ethnically diverse neighborhood.
Michael Johnson and his wife Kindra moved to Burlington in 2010 from Colorado, for an engineering job with IBM. Michael became a follower of Jesus junior year in high school and became heavily involved with student ministry while a student at the Colorado School of Mines. Michael found it difficult to apply the ministry skills learned during student ministry to a traditional church model and sought to be a part of a missional community centered church. Both Mike and Kindra recognized God moving them to Burlington was about much more than a job. Although they’re only twenty five, they took in an eight year old foster child last year and will adopt him officially this May. That’s in addition to Kindra giving birth to their first biological son this July, Michael is battling Lyme disease and working on a masters degree, while helping launch a Gospel Community in Burlington’s South End neighborhood. Needless to say, Michael is a warrior.
Austin Smith moved back to Vermont from Memphis, TN, last summer with his wife Ashlea, and children Lily, Dawson, and Ella-Rose. He was born in south Mississippi but spent a considerable portion of his childhood in Plainfield, VT., as the son of a church music minister. Austin moved back to south Mississippi as a teen and remained in the South for college, seminary, a staff position at a traditional mega-church, as well as a short stint in Ecuador. Austin knew God had called him to be a church-planter and sensed God moving him and his family towards his former home state. In June of 2012, they moved to Barre, VT as church-planting interns with Faith Community Church. While helping start a Wednesday afternoon kids club for the children of Barre and discipling some new Jesus-followers, they’ve also begun the process of scoping out nearby Montpelier as the eventual location of a new church. Check out more on supporting the Smiths here.
Ben Presten with his wife Tiffany, and their 3 kids moved from metro-Atlanta, GA to Wilmington, VT in February 2012. Ben became a follower of Jesus while a junior at the University of Georgia- later that same year God told Ben he would one day preach. Over his final two years at college he became a leader at the Baptist Student Union, beginning an evangelism ministry and leading a bible study. After graduating, he started a college ministry at his church and eventually went through church planting assessment and training with Graystone Church in Grayson, GA. Since launching Valley Town Church one year ago, they have seen many people who seemed far from God become followers of Jesus. You can read more of their amazing story on Ben’s blog and how to support them.