And so one day I spread out a map of the United States on my office wall. After a session of prayer and fasting, I put a blindfold over my eyes, grabbed a dart that had been anointed with oil, and threw it at the map. It landed directly over Boise, Idaho.
The first paragraph is true. The second paragraph is exactly what I wanted to avoid. As I began to pray more and more about where we would plant a church, I was calling out to God for divine direction. I wasn’t expecting the Macedonian Call or anything, but I was asking God to present some open door or connection for Compass to plant a new church. God answered my prayers as he helped me see answers to three questions.
Where is there growth?
If you are a fisherman, you go where the fish are. If you are a fisher of men, a similar principle applies. If we want to fulfill the Great Commission, missionaries and church planters should be aware of the growing population centers around the nation and the world. These growing areas need more churches and more gospel influence.
I started looking at all the large cities in the western United States that were growing. Boise was on that list. In fact, since we decided on Boise as our location, the U.S. Census Bureau has declared Idaho to be the fastest growing state, and Forbes Magazine announced Boise as America’s fastest growing city.
Where is there opportunity?
As I was looking at a long list of cities and asking God to present an open door, the door kept cracking open in the direction of Boise. We kept bumping into people at our church that desired to move to the Treasure Valley (the Boise area) but did not want to leave our church. One day, a woman from our church (somewhat out of the blue) texted my wife and told her that she had been praying every afternoon for the past six months about Boise! Two Sundays in a row, my brother (the pastor of Compass HB) texted me and said he just had another conversation with someone moving to Boise. I was also suddenly encouraged by another pastor at Compass to consider Boise. Even though we were praying about several options, all these seemingly disconnected conversations kept pointing us to Boise.
Where is there a need?
I went to college in a town that had several solid, faithful churches, and I used to think to myself, “The last thing this city needs is a new church plant.” While part of my thinking may have been immature, that fact remained that my city had a plethora of great churches while some communities might not even have one. Therefore, I was praying that God would direct me to an area in need of a new church.
As I took my first trip to Boise last year – still unsure if this was where we should plant – this was the biggest question on my mind. Again, God provided a clear answer: Yes! There is a need for more faithful churches in Boise.
The need comes not from a total lack of faithful churches. On that trip alone I met two men who were in the process of planting churches. The need comes largely from the growing population. One of the first people I talked to in the Treasure Valley said, “We need twenty-five more solid churches up here.” These church planters affirmed the need for more faithful churches – especially in order to reach the newcomers to the area that potentially number in the hundreds of thousands.
These are the reasons that led us to Boise, Idaho. Since we announced the plant early this year, God has continued to affirm each of these reasons. Just last week, I traveled out to the Treasure Valley with some of the other pastors and staff (pictured above), and we all left excited about God’s direction for this plant. Please continue to pray with us for God’s direction as we prepare to launch this new church next year!