Steve and Joy Johnson have served as Every Nation Campus missionaries for the past eight years—first at Austin Peay State University where Steve became a Christian, then at the Nashville area campus with Bethel World Outreach Church, and most recently at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Steve and Joy are passionate about winning students to Christ, making disciples, and training next-generation leaders. In the coming months, they’ll move to Memphis to plant a second Every Nation church in the city—right next to the University of Memphis.
Bethel Community Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is sending my wife, Joy, and I to Memphis to plant a church, reaching out to the midtown community and the students at the University of Memphis.
The calling to plant a church began at the 2013 Every Nation World Conference. I remember meeting people from nations around the world and listening to them describe where they were going and what they were doing to advance Christ’s kingdom. As we were all worshipping together, I was challenged to embrace a higher vision and a greater commitment to the Great Commission.
When Joy and I were dating, even then I had the vision to plant churches. As we prayed and talked about it together, that dream became Joy’s as well. We didn’t understand exactly what that would look like but were convinced that it was a part of God’s plan for us. However, it still seemed like a dream that was at least a decade or two away.
One of the Four Es of the Every Nation discipleship process is empowering people with the training and support required for them to serve God at their fullest capacity. We are so thankful for the Every Nation pastors and leaders who have continually encouraged and believed in us. The dream came more quickly than we could have imagined.
Joy and I attended the Every Nation Assessment Center in June 2018, and I will be back for the church-planting Bootcamp in November. Our ministry experience up to this point has been serving as Every Nation Campus missionaries at three universities in Tennessee, along with serving as associate pastors in Murfreesboro. We’ve been funded by our Ministry Partnership Development (MPD) team of several years. We’re now updating our current ministry partners on our transition to church planting and raising additional partnership funds for the midtown Memphis initiative.
We’ve been amazed at the encouragement and support we’ve received, even from some of the most unlikely sources. There was even a monthly financial pledge from a young man in Japan whom we never met. He simply found us online. Pastor Brock Lillis in Murfreesboro has also been more than generous in his financial commitment to the new church. What Pastor Brock has been able to accomplish in Murfreesboro and at Middle Tennessee State University is definitely a model for us.
Over the next few months, we’ll be recruiting a launch team of several dozen people from Every Nation churches and from the Memphis area. Joy and I will also be moving to Memphis, back to my hometown. We hope to find a house very close to the University of Memphis.
We greatly appreciate your prayers for the Memphis church plant, the launch team we’re recruiting, and the University of Memphis students who are there waiting to hear the gospel.
Thank you so very much for your recent contribution to the North American Church-Planting Initiative. Your prayers and financial support enable Every Nation to continue making disciples, training leaders, and planting churches all across North America.