Influence

 the shape of leadership

Better Together

A profile of church planter Greg Ford

When Greg Ford moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 2010 to plant a church, he went right to work — at the front desk of a fitness club.

The job helped pay the bills, but it also provided an ideal setting for interacting with people from the community.

“The club had 8,000 members,” Ford says. “It was the perfect job for a church planter. I never viewed it as a job, but as my church. I thought of myself not as a front desk worker, but as the pastor of that gym. I thought, I’ve got the biggest church in town; I have 8,000 members.”

Ford also put in time at a golf course, while his wife, Shaylyn, juggled several part-time jobs. Through their work connections, the Fords came to know many unchurched people. And when the Fords launched One Church (Assembly of God) at a school in 2011, some of those new acquaintances became their first attendees.

The vibrant church appealed to local millennials, and attendance rose steadily. Most of the people were new to church, which created a constant need for experienced leaders and teachers. It also soon became apparent that the growing congregation needed more space and a permanent building.

“When I see people who have led our Movement, I see heroes who have worked to build something.”                    — Greg Ford

Meanwhile, Pathway Church (AG) across town was struggling, numerically and financially. The well-established church owned an attractive, spacious building in a prime location, but the aging congregation was having a hard time attracting young people.

So, the leaders at Pathway Church approached Ford about merging the two ministries. After talking, praying, and working with the Ohio Ministry Network, the congregations came together in 2016. Within a year, One Church doubled in size, and 500 people came to salvation. Last Easter, more than 2,300 people attended services.

“That doesn’t happen without Pathway Church opening that door,” Ford says. “We gained a lot of people who had been serving Christ for a long time. They brought tremendous maturity and wisdom. We needed what they brought, and they needed us.”

The seasoned Christians eagerly pitched in to help with mentoring, intercessory prayer and visitation ministries. And Ford and the younger congregants were careful to honor these saints by sharing their stories and publicly thanking them for their service.

“It’s a big mistake for my generation to disregard and fail to honor the work that has been done by previous generations,” Ford says. “Music styles, aesthetics and artistic styles are different from generation to generation. But when I see people who have led our Movement, I see heroes who have worked to build something, and I believe they are looking for someone who shares the same heart.”

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 edition of Influence magazine.

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