Tony and Kim Calabrese
Why in the world are you planting another church in Nashville, Tennessee? Does Nashville really need another church?
Those are questions we’ve asked ourselves and what others have posed to us. And for good reason.
Kim and I never dreamed of planting a church, let alone planting one in Nashville. We are Midwesterner’s at heart, don’t have much allegiance to Nashville nor an established network of relationships there. So why would we pack up everything we own, uproot our family and move 8 hours south of those who were near and dear to us?
In the years of following Jesus and time in ministry, we’ve realized that our calling isn’t necessarily birthed from a place of comfort but a place of dependence. Jesus is often calling us out of the boat of comfort and on to the water where He is at. As 2016 concluded and the new year turned over, we felt a holy discomfort and unsettling in our hearts. We loved where we were at, the people in our lives and the church we were serving. We decided to enter the new year of 2017, like we have the previous years, with 21 days of prayer and fasting. As we prayed, listened and dialogued we ushered into the classroom and learned that God wants to break us out of the box of what we thought was possible and what we deemed extravagant and extraordinary.
For nine months, as we prayed and abided, we knew in our hearts with confidence that God was calling us to plant a church. We decided we would rather be water walkers than boat huggers. The question that remained was, “where in the world are we going to plant a church?” We asked the Lord to burden our heart for a people and a place. Immediately the Lord dropped Nashville, Tennessee in our hearts. In the most random places Nashville, Tennessee would pop up. We became overwhelmed and attentive to this place called the Music City.
The season of exploration (before we said “yes”) was preceeded by a season of determination. As we investigated and learned more about the city of Nashville and the incredible people who call it home, there were things that beckoned for our attention. An ache was birthed and God had undoubtedly given us a supernatural love for the city. That love continues to grow to this day.
We discovered that Nashville is a beautiful city filled with amazing people, beautiful scenery, rich history, music, art, and opportunity. However, research shows that it is also a broken city. As you investigate the spiritual, social and cultural landscape of Nashville, you’ll discover gut-wrenching statistics on poverty, homelessness, crime, addiction, divorce and spiritual apathy.
Our heart breaks looking at those stats, but believe with all our heart that the local church is the hope of the world . The Church is God’s Plan A. We believe that the local church is what Jesus is building. It’s an unstoppable force that nothing can hinder or come against it. We believe the local church is the vehicle that ushers in healing, freedom and life. We believe that the local church is the hope of Nashville, Tennessee.
We have great faith that a miracle is in motion. We have great faith that an entire city will come alive to Jesus. We have great faith that a city will awaken to the wonder and glory of God. We believe a great giant of revival is rising. We believe that the presence of God will go before us and His people will arise, shine and become Radiant.
Thank you all for your encouragement, for your continued support, and for believing in the dream that’s in our hearts. Let’s change the world together!