Below is an introduction to the Phillips family and the church-family and ministry that they are a part of in Jessamine County. I have been very encouraged to meet their family and discover that they were actively making disciples and simple churches just down the street from me! We are excited to connect more with them and the work they are doing in the area! – Gavin
It’s hard to know where to start and what to tell about what God has been doing in our lives over the past several years, so I’ll just introduce our family first. My name is Kaleb, my wife is Kate, and our two children are 4-year-old Kristian and 17-month-old Keira. We also have a large dog named Eleanor and a spider named Mitchell who has made his home inside the screen of our kitchen window. We live in Wilmore, but our hearts are for all of Jessamine County.
So, what are we doing?
Well, God told us to leave the ninety-nine and go to the one. And to make space in our lives for people to hear about and to experience the love of Jesus. And also not to have any paychecks, apparently. What that looks like for us is that in 2014 we stepped out of full-time ministry within the traditional church and started spending our time with at-risk/unchurched teenagers and young adults. We became missionaries to the young people that most people didn’t notice were there, the ones who would never walk into a church, who only knew Jesus Christ as a curse word, who didn’t belong anywhere. We didn’t have a plan or a structure or an income, we just had some faith and a breaking heart for what God was allowing us to see. So, we made space. We became mothers and fathers to teenagers without them, we got into messy lives and became a visible Jesus to people who had never seen him, and we started figuring out that it really is all about loving God, loving people, and making disciples…and faith, lots of faith.
Instead of planting a church, we’re discipling people into the church. We didn’t really know what simple church was a few months ago, but we were doing it…in our house on Sunday’s and in a really ugly building in Nicholasville on Wednesday’s, and in lots of places in the in-betweens. We just kept stripping stuff away until there were no barriers left to keep people from Jesus. And then we started praying for God to show us like-minded people. People who were doing what we were doing and hearing from God what we were hearing. People who we could pray for and who could pray for us and people who could be part of the fullness of life and the church that Jesus came to give us. That’s when I connected with Gavin and realized that we were definitely not alone, there are even other people in Wilmore doing simple church! God continues to be faithful to lead us to what we need and to who we need.
God has raised up a lot of people alongside us to support us and pray for us, but we really need a lot more people in our prayer circles. We really have no idea what we’re doing most of the time or where we’re headed or how we’re going to pay our bills, but we just keep trying to listen to the voice of Jesus. One major area of prayer that we would ask for is the students, former students, and teachers at an alternative school in Wilmore called The Providence School. This school is where they send all of the students from the other public schools who have behavior, academic, or social issues. Almost all of the students and families that are connected to Providence do not know Jesus. Most of the people who are involved in our simple churches have connections to Providence, and so we are praying that God would continue to make us a light for the darkness that is represented there.
We’ve seen a lot of young people move from unbelief to belief and into baptism and following Jesus (in fact, as I write this, just last night a young girl prayed to receive Christ after our Wednesday gathering), and just recently we’ve started to see God radically save some guys who are becoming disciples who are making other disciples…multiplication in action…pretty sweet. We’re excited to be relationally connected to the Simple Church Alliance and all the people that it represents. God’s doing stuff, we just want to be a part of it.
Wilmore/Nicholasville “church at the place” – simple churches in Jessamine County geared towards at-risk teenagers and young adults. Sunday’s and Wednesday’s. For meeting times contact Kaleb Phillips: firstname.lastname@example.org