A Church Planting Church Plant
(ThriveBuffalo.Tumblr.com) When Wes Walters moved from Nashville to Buffalo in 2008 to work in music and tech for Restoration Church, a new church that was being planted by a friend, he had no idea in just a few years he would be sent out to plant a church of his own.
Now 8 years after originally moving to Buffalo, Walters and his family have returned to their hometown roots in Alabama to plant another church, this time with Walters leading as pastor.
“I had no idea I would be doing this,” said Walters who is an accomplished musician in his own right and successful recording artist. But it was on his visits home to see family when Walters began to envision a church plant in his own hometown, a burden the Lord would not release him from until he stepped out in faith and obeyed, “I would always say when we traveled for the holidays to see family, ‘I wish there was a church like Restoration Church in Alabama.’”
The Lord was stirring Walters and his wife Leslie to plant a church in their home town when God made it very clear to him that they were indeed to return home after an experience in worship that marked him to do so, “I was sure immediately the Lord speaking to me to return home and plant a church planting church.”
Walters credits Pastor Dan Trippie of Restoration Church for seeing something in him that he didn’t even recognize at the time, a future leader of a new church plant. Walters said Trippie invested his time and energy training him up in speaking, teaching and writing and now has sent Walters out with his blessing and some financial support to make the church plant possible.
Now a vision for a church planting movement that welcomes the seeker to find and experience God and then plants more churches is what Walters is pioneering in Southside, Alabama, a suburb of Gadsden, Alabama.
“Calling church planters back home is something I have been seeing a lot lately, God will speak to people to return to their hometown and plant a new work for Christ. That’s what he has done for us,” explained Walters, who said the Lord really put a heavy burden on his heart to leave Buffalo and plant a new work.
“It’s not going to be a typical Sunday morning church,” explained Walters who wants to reach people who would never come to church otherwise. But the vision doesn’t stop there. AIM intends to become a mission focused community that plants more churches and builds a movement with multiple church plants to saturate the region in Southside, Alabama.
It’s a bold vision and one that will need help getting off the ground. A couple of churches have already committed to supporting the work and helping Walters including Restoration Church and a couple others.
“As soon as we got here, a church called Harvest Field called us up, made us part of their family and offered us space for offices to get started. This is a huge deal because planting a church can be lonely. It’s also a testimony to unity in the church,” said Walters.
For Restoration Church, this plant has always been a part of their vision of a church that plants other churches, something that is part of the DNA of the Acts 29 network that Restoration and now AIM are a part of. The belief is that God’s primary purpose is best accomplished through a community of believers that form a church and reach men, women and children with and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.