Over the past several weeks, as I make plans to pick up my life and move to Orlando this coming summer, I’ve continually been confronted with the question, “Why Orlando?” For me, there is not just one answer to this question. Here are the top three reasons I have decided to become a part of the gospel mission to Orlando through Grace Alive church:
1. I Desire To
No. No over-spiritualized answer. Matt. 28 calls us to go to the nations and reach people with the gospel. There are several different church plants that I have seen sent out through Mercy Hill, and I praise God for that. In fact, I’ve been hoping that one would come along that I would be excited to be a part of. When the Grace Alive plant was first talked about at Mercy Hill, I immediately felt a desire to go.
Grace Alive is planting in West Orlando which seems to be a place that resonates with the heartbeat the church. This region is especially made up of many different ethnic groups. I want to be a part of a gospel-centered, multi-ethnic church plant in a city that I have never experienced before.
2. Orlando Is My Samaria
Cam Triggs, the pastor Grace Alive, recently spoke on John chapter 4 and made a reference to verse 4, “And [Jesus] had to pass through Samaria.” Everybody during that time took the longer journey to avoid the city at all costs because the Jews and Samaritans did not get along. We believe God is calling us to our Samaria, which is Orlando. Orlando will be uncomfortable, racial reconciliation will be tough, and starting over in a place that is unfamiliar will not be easy. But the gospel pushes us to tear down the walls of self, to step out of the boat, and to trust God to do above all we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). In our society, comfort is one of the most precious things we cling to; mainly because we like to be in control of our money, our jobs, our friends, our family, and really everything that surrounds us. The big question I have been faced with lately is to ask myself is “What is my Samaria?” Your “Samaria” is a place that is unknown, that is uncomfortable, and that would not be the first place you would choose to pack up and move to. This was Orlando for me.
3. I Want to Share the Message of Hope
I want to share the message of hope to a city that is broken and searching for answers. Orlando is home to Disney (the happiest place on Earth), but many of us have seen through the news and other media outlets that Orlando is completely broken and searching for answers. Approximately 86% of the people that live in Orlando are unchurched or dechurched. This number has burdened my heart, and I want to help decrease that number with the gospel and through the work of the Holy Spirit. I believe this church plant will open new doors to see the gospel change the lives of many people and for Orlando to experience the hope of the gospel amidst its brokeness.
Gospel sacrifice can be exciting because you have to fully rely on God and be expectant that He will be faithful. I am eager to see how God molds me and uses me in this time of immense change in Orlando. Seek in prayer where the gospel calls you to go, and do it. Pastor Andrew made this statement in one of his sermons, and it has resonated with me, “God is not as concerned with where you are, but with what you are doing while you are there.” Pray with me and consider joining the launch team so that the people of Orlando can see Grace Alive in us through the power of the gospel.
-Charles Presnell (Mercy Hill Member)