unsplash.comOne of the greatest blessings of my life has been serving in a body of believers that was deeply committed from the very beginning to reaching beyond ourselves to advance the gospel, seeking new people, and planting gospel-centered churches. I have encountered a number of churches that planned to be such a church, sincerely strategized to become such a church, but unfortunately never saw that dream become a reality. I remember when Living Hope began in 2006 how we desperately wanted to be such a church, and how we continuously asked God to show us how He wanted to accomplish His great purposes through this new church. From a small group in a living room, to meeting in a neighborhood clubhouse, to an agricultural center (and rodeo arena), to a YMCA, to a high school gym, and ultimately to the wonderful permanent facility God gave us, He continuously increased our number, refined His vision for us, and showed us in so many unexpected ways how He was calling us to reach beyond ourselves.

Now, 10 years later, Living Hope has so much to celebrate! Through many circumstances that can only be attributed to sovereign acts of the King of the universe, and to the significant sacrifices of His people, God has multiplied the dream He implanted in the hearts of a few. Gospel, Community, and Mission have become so much more than a slogan or a marketing technique. It has become the essence of everything our Lord has called Living Hope to become.

Our dream of planting a new church in Memphis in a neighborhood that had great need has happened in ways we never could have imagined. After a number of our families intentionally moved into this neighborhood, and LH began demonstrating the love of Jesus to those living there in practical and tangible ways, God did the unthinkable. He miraculously gave us a building in this neighborhood that was more than twice the size of the new building He had only recently provided for us in Piperton.

Today, Living Hope Vollintine-Evergreen (LHVE) is a vibrant, diverse, dynamic body of Christ-followers serving and growing in the very neighborhood to which God first led us. After only a few years, that huge building is filling up with ministries and providing amazing opportunities for gospel advancement. And I believe LHVE is only a foretaste of how God desires to use our church in the future.

LH360:REACH is the next phase in fueling the vision that first started in a living room in 2006, and is a very appropriate theme for what is coming, as we seek to plant new churches and reach new people with the gospel. It is undeniable that God has done great things before our very eyes in and through Living Hope Church these past years. As we now look forward to our 10th anniversary, let’s faithfully stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before to give and watch God demonstrate once again that He is able to do beyond what we could imagine.

– written by Pete DeMoss, former Directional Pastor of Living Hope, who is now living in Colorado with his wife Mary Kay, and visiting his grandkids as much as possible.