His Gracious Will Revealed

Over three years ago I was aiding the good people of Jesus Our Shepherd church in Atlanta in their desire to plant a new church. They had in years earlier conducted a capital campaign in order to build their first building. The raised a considerable amount of money for a church of 45 to 50 on any given Sunday. However, as they continued to pray, they felt the need to abandon a building of bricks and mortar in favor of building a people, a new church. Their prayers led them to grant to a qualified and called planter an amount that would go a long way in helping a church get off the ground. Their search for a planter, with which I was aiding them, had been, thus far, unsuccessful. They were obviously anxious. A prophetic word from the Lord came to me for them. “Be not anxious. You’ve already met the person meant to plant this church!”

Little did any of us know that, more than three years later, it would become clear I was that person.  The leaders of Jesus Our Shepherd and the Richardsons having been praying about this possibility since October of last year. We’ve met on a number of occasions. With each step the possibility of the partnership became more of a reality. A couple of weeks ago the leadership of Jesus Our Shepherd voted unanimously to extend a call to me to be their planter. The Richardsons had ongoing conversations that we needed to complete. Seeing them to the end, it became clear that this in Atlanta is the door that God opened for us, one that He has kept open for us and one He is asking us to enter. Today I met with the senior pastor and deacon of Jesus Our Shepherd, Tom Belt and Bill DeBardeleben, and enthusiastically accepted the call.

So today we launch “Grace Fellowship: An Ancient Future Church” of the Anglican Mission in the Americas. In the next 90 days we will transition physically to the Brookhaven area of North Atlanta. Meanwhile we will lay the ground work for this new work beginning with prayer and the forging of relationships with people on the ground. The work will begin organically, by walking the streets of Brookhaven and by hanging in the coffee shops of Brookhaven and inviting those we meet to join us to open God’s Word. From there we will respond to the favor the Lord gives. We pray the need for a living room will become the need for a conference room. We pray that when the time is right the Lord will lead us to assemble and thus worship will begin. Meanwhile, we will lay the base of communication, administration and pastoral care, such that when we are called as a community to engage the world, to go public, we will find it easy to focus on inviting, teaching and sending, all the while worshiping God with our lives and our public praise.

We thank those of you who have prayed faithfully over our search for God’s will. We thank those who have indicated a desire to partner with us as we move forward. We invite you to join us in launching Grace Fellowship. We covet your prayers and your trademark generosity. The grant from Jesus Our Shepherd, which has been enhanced greatly by the Anglican Mission in this first year, is not sufficient to meet of the all initial needs including things like necessary moving expenses and basic benefits like medical insurance premiums. If you are led to join us with your tithes and offerings, you may direct them as follows:

Jesus Our Shepherd Kingdom Project

c/o of Bill DeBardeleben

1003 Rockbridge Road

Stone Mountain, Georgia 30087

Jesus Our Shepherd is an AMiA Church and is of course a qualified 501(c)(3) for charitable giving purposes. The Kingdom Project has its own bank account and all the funds contributed to it will be used exclusively for this new work “Grace Fellowship: An Ancient Future Church.”

Regardless of giving, we beseech you to pray and continue the relationships our Lord has forged in years of ministry together. It has been and will continue to be a joy to labor with you for the cause of Christ Jesus.

10 Responses to “His Gracious Will Revealed”

  • Andrew Schell Says:

    John, what great news! I praise the Lord for opening up this door for you and Kristen. And I pray this will be a smooth transition for your family. We are in Atlanta from time to time (this weekend actually) so I hope we can pay a visit sometime soon.

  • Woody Norman Says:

    Dear John, Kristin & Family;
    Congratulations to you all. This call to Atlanta is meant to be. I am sure that in the not-too-distant future your church plant will be a blessing for your new church community, for its surrounding neighborhood, and for the Kingdom. God Bless You All!

  • Patty Says:

    May God bless you all – and that includes those you will be ministering to soon. God is so good to show us the path He has chosen for us to walk in, each step is the most marvelous advwnture!
    God richly bless and protect the Richardson family during this move and encourage them each one every day.

  • jan hatchett Says:

    Dear John.
    I am so happy for you and Kristin!Our youngest son lives in Smyrna so when I am visiting I want to visit Grace Fellowship. God is good all the time…All the time God is good!! God bless you during this exciting time…Love Jan

  • Buck Cater Says:

    Great and wonderful news John! Congratulations to you, Kristin and family! Our individual and collective prayers you you guys seem to have come into fruition. I’ve seen first hand your gift in church planting. God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus! Love from Kirke and me.

    Buck Cater

  • Amy Negrete Says:

    Congratulations Richardsons! This is awesome news. I know God has great things in store for your family and your neighborhood. Peace, Amy (And ME is a lot closer, too!)

  • Jim Kline Says:


    I am excited for you, Kristen and your family. My prayers for you now shift to a smooth move and a peace beyond all understanding to be on you and your family as you get settled into your new neighborhood. The people of Brookhaven, GA will be blessed by your prescence, preaching and passion for the Lord.

  • Mary elizabeth Says:

    Props to Amy!! Closer indeed! No doubt many blessings to many people will come from this new plant. Pirettis have been and will continue to be praying fervently for our fam. We love you guys!

  • Robert Smith Says:

    Glad to hear the news, John! Our prayers are with you, and we look forward to hearing of all the amazing things that God has prepared for you, your family, and your ministry in Atlanta. Keep us posted!

    In Christ,

  • Kelly Urbon Says:

    John. So happy for you and your family. I hope our paths cross again down the road — perhaps in Georgia. Blessings.

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