Home Church Planters
I am Joshua Hickman, and my wife and I feel called to be Home Church Planters. I live in Temple, Texas, USA. I’ve been serving Jesus passionately since October 1999. I was 16 years old and my mom made me go to something called a “Revival Service”. Little did anyone know that this annual event, at this small country church in Bastrop TX, would be totally rocked by the power of God in a radical way!
The night my mom forced me to go to church, I was sitting listening to this little southern country worship band singing about Jesus. The only thing I knew about Jesus, at this point, was that He had something to do with two holidays, and my mother had become obsessed with Him for the past six months. So, I’m sitting in the soft green chairs listening to this band sing songs and I began to really think about how empty I felt all the time. I became overwhelmingly lonely and depressed. Then the crazy preacher got up there and started talking about Jesus, and how God is good, and about the Holy Spirit.
The next thing I knew, I was pushing the nice people over who were sitting next to me, and I was crying, and running to the front of this church. I wasn’t the only one though. Twenty to thirty others were with me up there. As we began asking Jesus to forgive us, I suddenly was overwhelmed again, but this time with Joy! I didn’t feel lonely and bitter anymore. Life has been a crazy process since then, but it’s been fun, to say the least.
It was in this same church that I began to learn about life as this new person, and how the Father gave me unique gifts to fulfill a unique purpose in life. At different points in my life over the next 10 years, God would bring many men and women into my life to mentor me. Some would help me hone my musical abilities, some my relationships, and others, my character. The Senior Pastor, however, was the first to really see and then publicly confirm the call on my life as a Pastor. One Sunday morning, after sharing with the congregation a song I wrote, the Pastor ran up to me with tears and laid his hands on me. He began to declare things about me that he said were in the Father’s heart for me. Now, I can’t possibly remember everything exactly as it was said, but I will never forget that moment. The main idea was that I was being set apart in that moment to lead others around me into a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit!
Fast forward to 2017. I am now married with four BEAUTIFUL children and an AMAZING wife. We serve as the Senior Leaders of a small (but growing) network of home-based churches. Although my wife and I are currently the primary pastors of our church, we feel a call from God to actually travel and plant many churches! We are home church planters with an exciting ministry dream. What I love about the way we have been expressing the local church gathering is the fact that my children (all under the age of 8) are so excited every time we have a home group meeting. They are learning to be a part of the church by engaging with adults and other kids as we worship, pray, and discuss God’s Word.
I had been to a discipleship training school in 2008 and had awesome opportunities to do international missions work, but still felt the drawing by the Holy Spirit to deepen my knowledge and study. I believe that formal ministry education can, and does, help boost confidence and understanding. I feel that the instructors in the Getting Started Class did a great job of, essentially, saying the same thing. I remember reading the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian many times, but one time it hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that I have reached a point in my life that I need help understanding more of God’s word from more than just my own perspective. I have a few local mentors, who have all, at some point, encouraged me to look into seminary training. After searching for weeks online, I finally came across Christian Leaders Institute.
I’m so excited to continue to pursue higher education through CLI as we grow as home church planters, a family, and a church community. For us, CLI is already making an impact on everyone in our church! I’ve spread the word to the people my wife and I mentor so that they can eventually pursue additional training.
We would really appreciate prayer for our region, the Bell County area in Texas. As a church, we feel a call to restore the family aspect to the church of our area….regardless of denomination or race or gender. My family and I would appreciate prayer as we continue to work as volunteer home church planters for our new church plant, in an area that has largely never experienced home church, and for financial provision! Currently, I work full time for a Furniture Retailer in our area, and as a full-time volunteer with our new church plant.
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