Did you know that more than 32% of church plants fail within the first four years? Yet, here we are celebrating 15 years today!
Many of you have yet to hear it, so I will share the story of how we got here. It’s always great to look back at what the Lord has done. Then we will look forward to what’s to come.
In late 2007, when Beth and I had only been married a few months, my dad asked if we wanted to help him start a church. He would be the pastor. We would lead worship.
I enthusiastically said, “Yes!” After all, as a 19-year-old guy, I thought I had it all together and would be the best worship leader around.
I’d been leading my youth band for several years. I had all the experience I needed, or at least I thought. It didn’t take long before I found out I didn’t know much of anything.
Our first service was on March 30, 2008 in a hotel conference room in Claremore. It didn’t take long to figure out we were called to Owasso. We moved into a storefront at 76th and 129th just four months later.
In just three years, we went from occupying one suite to four suites at the 76th Street Professional Plaza. Then, an opportunity opened for us to share a huge space with a church in Collinsville.
In March 2011, we held a combined service with The Presence Church. It was an awesome service where we passed on a move-in ready space to another church. They are still there today.
During this move, I was in my final year of Rhema Bible College. My dad made me go. And boy, am I glad he did. Who I am and where I am today resulted from the two years I spent at Rhema, letting the Word of God transform my life.
Just a few months into our time sharing a church building in Collinsville, we were reminded that we were called to Owasso, not Collinsville. It was miserable being in the wrong place. So we returned to Owasso a year later, in April 2012.
This is a good place to point out that being in ministry with your dad isn’t exactly the easiest thing. Through all these moves and changes, my dad and I butted heads quite a bit.
I was opinionated, very opinionated. I thought everyone needed to know what I thought. So I always told dad what we should do differently at the church.
Actually, I nagged him so much that one day he sat me down and told me, “That’s enough. You either stop sharing your opinion, or you can step out of leadership.”
I remember going home so frustrated and telling Beth we would leave the church. But that conversation shaped me.
I bet some of you need to have a confrontation like that. So, I’ll give it to you now. Your opinion is not as valuable as you think it is. The more you share it, the more you look like a fool.
A wise, godly person keeps their opinion to themselves and only shares it sparingly, at the Holy Spirit’s direction. I’ll give you a heads-up. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit tells you to be quiet.
Not many people are bold enough to call you out in an area where you need to grow. But thank God, my dad doesn’t hold back. He was willing to sacrifice by putting our relationship at odds to help me grow and become the man I am supposed to be.
Aren’t you glad he rubbed off on me? I’m here to help you grow. If you have to get mad at me in the process, that’s fine. As you grow, you’ll be thankful I loved you enough to tell you the truth.
My dad deserves great honor for investing himself in our church over the years. We wouldn’t be where we are without him. I am so thankful he is still a part of our church.
My dad, Mark Young, is the founding pastor of our church and led us for the first ten years. Most believe that the founding pastor has to stay put until he dies, but this was never God’s plan for my dad. And my dad knew this before he even started the church.
Starting at about year five, he was looking for the next lead pastor. He was ready to pass the baton. Everyone would look at me, but I would just say, “no way”.
At the time, I had little indication that God would lead me to pastor. As far as I was concerned, I would be a worship leader for the rest of my life.
I was even leading other worship leaders through my blog and YouTube channel called Collaborate Worship, which I continue to do today.
My content is viewed by more than 200,000 people around the world each year. It enables me to serve worship teams in the US, the Philippines, Nigeria, everywhere!
God led me to start Collaborate Worship, and boy, has He blessed my obedience. It now provides for my family and my two employees. It’s incredible.
So there I was, a worship leader thriving in my role. And then everything changed in 2017.
Passing the reigns
It’s like God opened a new door within me, and I began to see the future of our church. I didn’t hold the vision for our church up to this point, but suddenly, I could see it.
The only problem was I couldn’t see myself as a traditional pastor. In America, we have an idea of what a pastor should be and what he should look like; I just couldn’t fit the mold.
One day, while I was hiking, the Holy Spirit challenged me when He said, “Who says you have to pastor as everyone else does?” I couldn’t really come up with a good answer.
This question made me realize that God didn’t call me to be someone else. He called me to be who He created me to be. And that’s what released me to accept the call to lead this church.
Sunday, June 10, 2018, I became the lead pastor of NoLimits Church. The transition was mostly smooth, and I had a very calm first year. Then came COVID.
I had no idea my introduction to lead pastoring would include navigating a plandemic, political upheaval, and moral annihilation.
2020 was a very defining year for me. Like every pastor, I had a decision to make. Was I going to continue pursuing comfortable Christianity? Or was I going to get dressed for battle and lead God’s people as we destroy the works of the enemy?
You know what decision I made. That’s probably why you are here. You want to be part of a church that ain’t woke. A bold, courageous, and powerful church full of the Holy Spirit. That’s us!
The summer of 2020 was a season of transformation for me. I went into my cocoon as a feel-good pastor and came out with guns blazing, ready to destroy the works of the enemy.
That August, I dove headfirst into a series about Daniel in the Old Testament. He is our example of standing firm in the things of God when the culture around us is mocking God.
I wish I could say that everyone received my newfound boldness with open arms, but over the new few months, I managed to cut our congregation in half.
What used to be an average of 70 in attendance turned into 30 or 40. If you looked at the stats, you’d think I missed God.
Lots of people in my own congregation were gossiping about me. Only one of them was brave enough to tell me to my face.
He said, “I imagine you go for a drive in your convertible after Sunday service and think about how awful you feel about these messages you preach.”
I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “I’ve never been more sure that I am preaching exactly what the Holy Spirit wants me to preach.”
He gave me a look of confusion and ended the meeting by saying, “If you keep doing this, the church will die. But if you do it how I recommend, the church will grow like crazy.”
Now that I think about it, this sounds really similar to the offers Satan made Jesus in the wilderness. A great response would have been, “Get thee behind me Satan! For it is written, fearing man is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”
And that’s exactly what I did. It didn’t look good, it made people mad, but I trusted the Lord. As I did, the persecution continued to increase. Not a pleasant outcome of obedience. But if you are not facing persecution for your faith, you probably need an adjustment.
With each passing Sunday, the Holy Spirit filled me with more and more boldness. I didn’t even care that I was preaching to fewer people because those who were left were hungry for the things of God. We were all growing together.
Out of that internal growth came external growth. It seemed to come out of nowhere. We were a small congregation for over a year when suddenly, what God promised started to manifest.
Now we have around 120 people here every Sunday, and there are only 100 chairs in this room! And here’s the best part: you are all hungry for the things of God. You aren’t here to play church.
So now what? Where are we headed? What are we going to do about this lack of space? What’s next?
Well, most importantly, I am going to follow the Holy Spirit. I’ve asked Him about multiple services. He said no. I’ve looked into several buildings. He said no.
In haste, we could sit here and devise our own solution. But if the Holy Spirit does not lead it, it will be to our detriment. In these last days, we can’t afford to make decisions without the Holy Spirit.
Some of you think I’m dragging my feet. I’m not. I’m alert to the direction of the Holy Spirit. He will show me when and where. But until then, we will continue to gather and prepare.
It’s not that we have no idea what the Holy Spirit is up to. He has shown me what’s to come, and we are simply waiting for it all to unfold at the right time.
Visions of the future
You may remember the vision I had last summer. I was out praying at Oologah lake when the Holy Spirit gave me a vision of another pastor handing me the keys to his building.
He said, “I failed to raise up the next generation. I’ve been praying that God would correct my error. And here you are!”
This vision will come to pass.
And then, on January 28 of this year, I was praying in tongues at my office. It was bursting out of me with great power. Then I began to interpret what I was praying, and here’s what the Spirit said:
“NoLimits Church will occupy the city of Owasso until Jesus Comes. Our leadership and influence will make Owasso a safe haven until He comes. We will occupy by:
- Owning businesses in Owasso
- Serving on the city council and school board
- Having three church locations: East, Central, West
We will be the leading force in Owasso. No other organization will have the influence we have. We will steward the influence well. It will be marked by righteousness.”
Wow. Y’all, I didn’t come up with this. It’s not like I had my vision board out and tried to come up with something to impress you. This was a true prophetic word from the living God.
This is what He wants from us. This is our assignment.
For prophecy to come to pass, we have to cooperate. God reveals His will to us and then we have to walk in it. We can’t just sit back and wait for everything to happen to us.
That’s why we’ve been in boot camp the past month talking about the fear of the Lord. A casual approach to God will not be tolerated here. I am not saying that we are going to kick people out. I am saying that the Holy Spirit will not tolerate it.
If you are not up for the assignment He has set before us, He’ll move you right out of the way. It doesn’t mean you are not saved. It just means you are not ready for what He is doing here.
That’s why, if you are paying attention, everyone’s character flaws are coming to the surface right now. Those things that were buried deep within are now floating on the surface.
The question is, will you skim them off and get rid of them? Or will you push them back down and hope no one is looking?
This is God’s grace at work.
He is showing you exactly what needs to be dealt with. Not to shame you, but to make it easy for you to see so you can get rid of it!
If you refuse to face these character issues, as painful as they are, it won’t be long before you move on to another church.
You might blame it on the music being too loud, or that it’s hard to get a meeting with Pastor Kade, or no one noticed your Facebook post, or whatever.
But the reality is you were faced with a character flaw. And instead of dealing with it and asking God to help you grow, you blamed something else.
Don’t let that be you because you will just keep coming to this same place again until you stop blaming others. Take responsibility, and develop character.
Romans 5:3-4 NLT – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
God is using money to reveal most of these character issues. How many of you have faced a test with money recently?
Maybe you were tempted to hide the truth in order to benefit financially. Maybe you misused money and then tried to hide it. Or maybe God asked you to give, and you didn’t. Maybe He asked you to let go of some income and trust Him.
How did you do? Did you pass? Or do you need to take the test again?
Let’s allow Jesus to teach us something about money to help us out.
Luke 16:10-13 NLT – “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
You know what’s shocking about this? To Jesus, money is a LITTLE thing. Most of us think it’s a big thing. But no. It just a little thing. So God uses it to test our character.
Our integrity with money reveals the strength of our character. Since money is such a little thing, it reveals how we will handle greater responsibilities.
If you are still fighting with your personal finances, you don’t get to move on to the greater responsibilities. You’ll stay stuck right there until you learn how to manage the little thing: money.
Those who struggle with money struggle to serve God. Money has this way of becoming god. It’s this little thing. But when we make it a big thing, it keeps us from serving God even though we want to.
How do you know if you are enslaved to money? It makes your decisions. When God tells you to do something with a negative financial impact, you listen to money instead of God.
Learn to see money as God sees money. It is a little thing. It is the first thing God uses to measure your faithfulness. If you are faithful with the little thing, He can release you into bigger things.
In other words, it is easier to be faithful with money than it is with anything else. That’s why you have to get the money thing figured out before you can move on to greater responsibilities.
If you struggle with money and want to get things sorted out, let’s start the transformation today. This doesn’t happen overnight. You are going to have to work at this. But admitting your error is the first step.
For the record, I believe all of you can make it here. You have what it takes to be a part of what God is doing here. You just have to decide to grow your character through the holy fear of God.
Listen to what happens when you do what I am urging you to do today:
Psalms 128:1-6 NLT – How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord ’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!