When life gets challenging, it can be easy to forget God’s faithfulness. But even when our circumstances change (hello, 2020), our God never does. And this story of God’s faithfulness can encourage anyone.
In 2007, Missy Novak found Life.Church Online through a leadership conference. She attended shortly after to see what it was all about and quickly felt compelled to learn more about Life.Church. At that time, Missy was on staff at a small church in Colorado working in the children’s ministry. When she found out that Life.Church gives away its curriculum to other churches around the world completely for free, she was blown away. She immediately got connected to the Open Network and began to use the resources there to impact her local community in Colorado.
Time passed, but she couldn’t shake the feeling of being called toward Life.Church. Missy reached out to Life.Church Online and began volunteering with the ministry. Little did she know that 12 years into the future, she would still be an active volunteer today and one of the longest-tenured volunteer leaders on the team. In retrospect, she says it’s easy to see God laying the breadcrumbs for what was to come. God’s faithfulness is always present, even when we can’t see it in the moment.
Missy remained spiritually connected to Life.Church, continuing to attend Church Online regularly. Eventually, she remarked to her husband, “We need to start a Life.Church here in Colorado.” Her husband laughed and lovingly said she was out of her mind. But, as is true when you feel a clear and compelling calling from God, Missy quietly persisted, not knowing how to accomplish this new campus but remaining sure that she’d see God’s faithfulness at work.
She shared her vision with the Church Online Team—and anyone who would listen. And she waited prayerfully to see what God would do.
Then, for her 40th birthday, her husband told her that in celebration, he would take her anywhere she wanted to go—her choice. Of course, Missy chose Oklahoma. She wanted to see the Life.Church broadcast location in person and visit the place that had so taken hold of her heart. So off to the plains state she went. During this visit, she got to meet several staff members whom she’d volunteered with for years, as well as Pastor Craig, pictured below.
Missy returned home, even more energized about her calling than before. She felt so sure that Colorado needed a Life.Church. In response, she started a local Life.Church Online LifeGroup, which eventually reached 35 people.
While the group continued to grow, so did the calling and urgency on her heart. She ultimately led the charge in starting a Network Church with Life.Church, meaning the two would be affiliated in partnership. Network Churches partner with Life.Church and each other in mission, content, and relationship to reach people for Christ throughout their communities.
Missy said, “I knew I wasn’t called to pastor. I was just called to get the right people together and to let God do the rest.” She found a local pastor who’d had the same calling on his heart, and thus, Life City Church was born.
Approaching their church’s one-year anniversary, Missy reached out to the Life.Church Online Team and invited them to the celebration. A handful of members from the team came to visit, and conversation picked back up about how there may be enough community interest to start a campus in Colorado. They issued a challenge: “If you can get this church to 350 members, we may be able to start a location here.”
Encouraged and excited by the momentum, Missy faithfully posted local meetups in her community each week, continued to advertise her LifeGroup, and invited anyone and everyone to her Network Church. Life City Church exceeded 350 attendees, and Missy stayed in close communication with Life.Church.
Now there’s a “Suggest a Location” feature on the Life.Church website, but that didn’t exist during Missy’s pursuit. She thinks her persistence may have contributed to that new feature, now allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to express their interest in a new location near them. This innovation was, in part, because of Missy’s tenacity and big thinking, which aligns perfectly with one of Life.Church’s values: We are faith-filled, big-thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers. We will never insult God with small thinking and safe living. But more so than that, God was at work.
Fast forward to 2020. After incredible persistence on Missy’s part and steadfast obedience to what God wanted to do, and through His overwhelming faithfulness, Life.Church Colorado Springs opened its doors. On the opening weekend, this campus saw so many people show up that it had to create an impromptu additional service and invite guests to return at a later time.
Missy has made an indelible mark on Life.Church history, and her story is a powerful reminder that we can trust God’s faithfulness. We should never underestimate what God will do when we say yes to a calling He has placed on our hearts.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV