Almost eight years ago I was a brand new baby freshmen at Cedarville University looking for a job. I hopped on CU Classifieds and responded to an ad placed for an after school program person. The pay was $10 an hour so it sounded pretty good to me. Even though I was still only 17 (and would be for three more months), I was hired and a few days later I was driving toward Springfield, Ohio for the first time.
I showed up to the Ark and was greeted by Jack, who I had spoken to on the phone about the job. At the end of the two hours of me nervously handing out chicken patties and popcorn to middle and high school students who kept calling me Ms Ronda (I actually recently met Ms Ronda in Minneapolis, which is a crazy story), Jack told me that if I didn’t come back, he’d understand and I wouldn’t be the first. I was like, “What? $10 an hour to hang out with youths? I’m in.”
At the end of the school year I said goodbye to Jack and the kids of the Ark and went off to Maryland to hang out with a very different bunch of middle school students for a couple of months. When I came back to Cedarville in the fall Jack was no longer working with the Ark for reasons that made me want to no longer work with the Ark (and not just because they were no longer going to pay me) so I hopped back on Classifieds and ended up in the director’s office at Inside Out Child Care.
I worked at Inside Out for the next four years. During my last year at Inside Out (or maybe a bit before) I heard that Jack had applied as a head teacher. “Yes!” I said. “Yes! Hire him!” During that last year I finally moved to Springfield and after a few months finally took my roommate up on her offer to join her at Bible Study. Bible Study was at Jack’s house, the house that Jack had bought years before when we were still at the Ark, as a young man. Jack’s house is in the neighborhood, guys. You talk about moving in? Jack moved in. When most of his classmates were getting married and heading off to fancy jobs Jack was renovating a big, old house on an unsafe street for the sole purpose of moving in.
Remember when I talked about street cred? Jack has mad street cred in Springfield. Not because he’s really cool or has a nice car or knows how to rap, but because he keeps showing up. He showed up long before I did at the Ark and in the neighborhood and he continues to show up long after I’ve gone. Well, God saw Jack continuing to show up at the Ark and at Inside Out and at church and Bible Study and schools and juvenile detention centers. He saw Jack serving His people in Springfield and He said, “It is not good for Jack to be alone.”
Last year Jack and Rachel got married and committed to showing up in Springfield (or wherever God might ask them to show up in the future) together until death do they part. Recently, for Jack and Rachel, showing up has meant expanding their Church family by planting a church in Springfield. Well, church planting requires time and energy and prayer and sacrifice and relationship and showing up and street cred and listening and also funds. Everything costs money! So Jack and Rachel could, like most couples moving into “full time ministry” raise support by asking for people to commit to monthly or yearly giving. They could make charts and projections and use math and equations to figure out how much they need people to promise to give them each month so that they can keep showing up in Springfield.
But Jack and Rachel are not your average couple. They are certainly above average when it comes to their jokes and unfortunately, they are above average when it comes to the amount they owe on student loans. Fortunately and encouragingly, Jack and Rachel are also above average when it comes to bold faith. In their own words:
Jack and Rachel do not take salary from the church, but instead work regular jobs in their neighborhood to support themselves in addition to ministering in the church.
Some missionaries and church planters raise monthly support to supplement their income… Jack and Rachel honor that. But they have decided on an unconventional, rather audacious approach.
Instead of raising monthly support dollars to cover their needs, they are simply going to eliminate their major costs!
They have launched an online fundraiser on a borrowed blog interface. They hope to do something outrageous. They want to raise the amount of their college loans and erase the amount once and for all. By eliminating their college debt, Jack and Rachel will erase the lion’s share of their monthly expenses… and thus be free to live simply on a modest income without the need of additional financial support.
41 million Americans have college debt totaling $1 trillion. Can we really just erase it?
Why wouldn’t it be possible? Isn’t the Kingdom of God an abundant Kingdom? Aren’t there people in the Body of Christ willing to give a little from their excess to do the miraculous.
Jack and Rachel believe there is enough. For you. For me. God has enough.
God has enough, amen? We, the Church, have enough. One of my favorite verses on Church is in Acts 4:32-35. “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
Nothing you have is yours. Nothing I have is mine. It’s all God’s, which means it’s all ours. Please consider bringing what you have to Jack and Rachel’s feet as they minister to Springfield, Ohio. For more information (including a video!) and a quick, easy CLICK HERE TO GIVE link, visit their website. (You can also click on the picture below to give.) I needed to see Jack move in, show up, and invest. He has spent years listening to people’s stories and building relationships in his city. This church plant is such a natural move forward for Jack and Rachel, who are invested in the lives of their neighbors.
I needed to see them proclaim boldly in faith their place in the Family of Jesus and what that means. I needed to see them trust wildly in God’s provision and in His plan. I needed to see them calling the situation what it is, not hiding behind Christianese words about being a blessing, but vulnerably sharing their needs knowing that God would meet them. I needed to see people giving from all over the place, believing that Jesus meant what He said, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And I needed to tell you all about it, so that you can see them, too – their faith and their obedience (and their brilliant sense of humor!) – and be encouraged to live more boldly as part of this Family.