“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
Six years later, my wife and I received the call to lead the mission team to the Lehigh Valley. With a population of over 820,000 people, the Lehigh Valley is the third largest area in the state of Pennsylvania. We began praying and fasting for God to move powerfully inbuilding a mission team and to open the doors for the gospel to be preached. We began praying specifically that God would move in the hearts of 30 people to uproot their lives and move to the Lehigh Valley to start a church. Men and women of all ages and stages of life felt God calling them to move. New college graduates, working professional singles, marrieds with children, and retired empty nesters all began hearing God’s voice calling them to quit their jobs, sell their homes, and live on faith in the mission field. Disciples moved without having jobs lined up, housing worked out, or even having set eyes on the Lehigh Valley, all simply because they believed God was calling. By the inaugural service God had built the Lehigh Valley church to 36 members.
Seven years ago, I sat in the Saturday night session of ICMC as a rising senior in college and heard about the One Year Challenge for the first time. As I listened to the brother preach about the need for men and women to uproot their lives and go where the gospel has not yet reached, I wept. I wept as I thought about all the colleges around me that did not have campus ministries in our fellowship, I wept as I thought of all the cities in the world that did not get to experience the church that I had fallen in love with. I wept as I realized that untold millions of people where dying untold about the truth. I wept because I realized how much work was still yet to be done. I wept because I realized God was calling me and every disciple around me to do something about it. I wept because I knew nothing would be the same, and then God gave me a dream. God placed the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania on my heart. My campus minister found me in the fellowship after that lesson and led me to the roof of a parking garage where we prayed for the church to be planted in the Lehigh Valley.
As disciples began responding to God’s calling, we began fasting and praying for the inaugural service, dreaming that God would do what seemed impossible to us and fill the room with 300 people on that first worship service.
We serve a God that is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. On September23, the Lehigh Valley Church was officially started as disciples from all over the ACR travelled to join us in sharing our faith and celebrate the beginning of the church. We rejoiced as we witnessed God fill the space to standing room only with 392 adults (including around 50-60 first-time visitors), plus children’s ministry classes, and as we saw our first baptism as a church that afternoon. To God be the glory.