When Justin McKay got married, he and his wife, Lacy, headed to Denver for their honeymoon.
And on their first day there, God did something surprising — He started showing them His call on their life as a married couple.
“On our first day, we were driving around, and we’re in awe of the Rocky Mountains,” Justin said. “Within minutes of that, we were driving around this small town called Golden, and we said to each other, ‘Where are all the churches?’ In Alabama there are churches everywhere.’”
Before that trip, he’d never realized that the West is a pre-Christian place, he said. “We came back just stunned from that.”
Justin had been a worship pastor up until that point in Alabama, and he began to think that maybe one day he should look for a job like that out in Colorado.
But it wasn’t long before he began to sense God impressing on his heart that he should make the transition to lead pastor and plant a church.
It took several years to get equipped and ready, but they started a church planting residency in early 2020, got affirmed in the summer and started in 2021 growing their launch team.
“We’re in the first stage of church planting, where we engage the city,” Justin said. “We’re meeting as many people as we can, getting to know local business owners and praying for the Lord of the harvest to bring people to us.”
They’re finding as many ways to engage with the community as they can, from playing disc golf to joining the Chamber of Commerce. The idea is to invest in the people of the community, make disciples and then from those disciples plant the church.
Already, they have 12 people on their launch team, with a goal of having 50 by the end of the year to plant The Local Church in the Arvada area of Denver.
“Please pray that our launch team continues to grow — that’s a huge thing for us,” Justin said. “We really need people who want to join our launch team, specifically people who have a missional mindset.”
He said their heartbeat is to change the world by reaching their local area.
Justin also asked for prayer that he and Lacy would have favor with the people of Arvada, that they would love people well while holding fast to the word of God. Their hope is that people would see their love and trust them when it comes to matters of truth.
“Our vision is to help orient people not around creation but the Creator,” he said. “People move here to be near the mountains and the beautiful landscapes. We want to help them worship the Creator behind those mountains they recreate in and love.”
He said his team is actively looking for more partners who can come alongside them in their mission to reach the local community there in Arvada. He said the churches he’s done ministry with — like Church on the Bluff in Hoover, Alabama, and Capstone Church, his sending church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama — have made a big impact on their mission already.
“I’m a product of a small Southern Baptist church, and I want our churches of all sizes … to know they are raising up a generation of ministers,” Justin said. “What they do matters.”
For more information, visit thelocalchurchco.org or follow them at @thelocalchurchco. To learn more about partnering with the McKays’ work in Denver, email [email protected].
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This article was originally published by TAB Media, the parent company of The Alabama Baptist and The Baptist Paper.
Published May 6, 2021