Sunday, March 28, 2010 9:33pm EDT BALTIMORE TEAM
Eight years ago I met Aaron Coe. He was on staff at NorthStar church and running One Goal Sports. I was the youth minister at Acworth United Methodist Church and he was trying to get our church to partner with One Goal. We joined OGS as a supporting church and a great friendship began. At the same time, Ellis Prince was the student pastor at Summit Baptist Church. I knew Ellis from a variety of community events and through character education that we both helped with in the local high schools.
Within a year or two, Aaron had moved to New York City to help with New Hope New York, an initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention and Ellis moved to North Carolina to help plant a church in Charlotte. I occasionally checked the website for the church Ellis was at to see how it was going. I continued working with Aaron and together with a friend lead a College Mission Trip to New York to put on a free sports camp. That ended up leading Aaron to planting The Gallery Church in New York City. God has opened tons of doors for Aaron and given him great favor in New York City.
As Aaron was planting The Gallery Church in New York, Ellis and his family moved back to Acworth and he came on staff at West Ridge Church as the high school pastor. Ellis and I reconnected as I had moved to NCCS to be the Student Life Director and my husband and I began attending West Ridge. Are you keeping all of these moves straight? We became very involved in the high school ministry as small group leaders with Ellis and Ginger Prince. Clint and I enjoyed getting to know them and both had a great deal of respect for Ellis as a student of God’s word and someone that hoped to ignite that same fire in his students.
Two years ago, I was mowing the yard and listening to a podcast message from Aaron Coe at The Gallery Church in New York. He was giving some updates about the church and talked about the new church they would be planting in Baltimore. He talked about a high school pastor and his family from Atlanta that would be moving to New York to work with The Gallery for six months before planting in Baltimore. God told me very definitively that it was Ellis and his family. I called him and he confirmed that he was moving and said he hadn’t even announced it at church yet. I didn’t even know that Aaron and Ellis knew each other!
From that point, God has been stirring my heart for the city of Baltimore and what God is doing here. Around the time that the Prince family left for Baltimore, Clint and I left West Ridge to help plant Freedom Church in Acworth. One of the wives in our small group has a sister that moved up here to be a part of the Baltimore team.
I give all of that background information to let you know that God began this mission trip in my heart eight years ago. It was surreal to walk into The Gallery Church of Baltimore this morning and see what God is doing here through the leadership of Ellis Prince. Just as exciting was to know that our New York City team was worshipping with Aaron Coe and his staff tonight in NYC!
Even before church this morning, David Wise led our group in an amazing devotion about perspective. He really challenged us to look at situations that God has placed us in and ask what God is trying to teach us through those circumstances. It was a powerful message to kick off our week!
This morning at The Gallery Church of Baltimore was the 3rd week in their series: The Ancient Future Story talking specifically about reflections on Babylon. The Scripture passages were: Psalm 137:1-9, Ezra 1:1-4, and Isaiah 45:1-7. The message was very good and had a lot of historical connections. Ellis left us with the question, “What would it look like for our friends to see a picture of the Messiah — the anointed one?”
After church we headed to Chipotle for lunch. Lunch was good, but the fellowship was even greater. We have encouraged the team to try and eat with different people as often as possible. From there we headed to the Johns Hopkins University bookstore, walked around campus, hung out in the park, and then toured the Baltimore Museum of Art. Many of us broadened our horizons checking out the art today!
We caught the city bus back down to the hotel. We hung out here tonight and ordered in pizza to watch the Duke/Baylor game and watch some movies. Most of the time was spent in conversation…some deeper than others! We closed out the night again by having a team meeting. Both nights we have started by sharing highlights from the day. We all tend to talk at the same time because we have so much to be grateful for! After instructions for the morning, we headed to our rooms for the night. Everyone has to be in the lobby at 6:30 in the morning, so we better get some sleep.
Thank you for the prayers. We are eager to get to work in the morning. We truly believe that God is the God of this city and greater things are yet to be done here!
TOGETHER…Cultivating Hearts. Challenging Minds. Impacting Culture.