ARC Women Spotlight | Leah Ost
Name: Leah Ost
Church and City: Church of the Hills, Nashville TN
Launch Date: February 8th, 2015
Current Role (if any): Designer (graphics, spaces, and events)
Family: Husband JD Ost, sons Bekton (7) and Baylor (1).
How and when did God place the call to plant a church on yours and JD’s hearts?
God called JD and I to plant Church of the Hills at a very unexpected time in our lives. We had just moved to Springfield, MO after 7 years in ministry in Fairhope, AL. Ministry in Alabama had become our life. We gave ourselves to it in such a way that our family suffered. So, when we moved to Missouri, we weren’t looking to do anything but focus on our family.
If I can be totally honest, I didn’t even want to think about full time ministry, much less plant a church. I truthfully thought those days were over. I totally disqualified myself. But as we all know; God always turns our mess into a message.
I can remember like it was yesterday, God speaking to JD and I (at the same time) through a taxi cab driver, that our ministry days were not over. In fact, they were just beginning.
Was there ever a time during the planting process that things got hard and you wanted to quit? What kept you going?
YES! Is it safe to say that most Sundays I quit and rehire myself on Monday? Ha, I’m joking! But yes, there have been so many times when I wanted to throw in the towel. Ministry is hard work!
Here are a few motivators that keep me going:
The Call: God called JD and I in a way that there was absolutely no denying it! Whenever I am low and life gets hard, I dig deep and remember that regardless of how I feel, I am called and equipped with everything I need to do this. My husband often reminds me of this, “There is nothing required that I don’t have, in order to do everything that God has called me to do”!
My Kids: I want my kids to love the house of God. I want them to see JD and I build something with grit and integrity. They are watching us and it’s my honor to do my part in building the local church. Ultimately, I want to hand Church of the Hills over to them (if they want it) when they get older. My prayer is that Church of the Hills will be our legacy.
The People: I don’t know about you, but stories of life change keep me going. When I see marriages restored, families worshiping together for the first time, and people walking with purpose and freedom, I get pumped. I make sure that I am putting myself in a position to hear and celebrate those stories as often as possible.
What has God done in or through your church that has left you in awe of His greatness?
Again, I would have to say, life change. So far, we have seen 714 people give their life to Christ and that alone does it for me! I get chills when I think about the fact that 2 years ago we started Church of the Hills and we didn’t know if anyone would show up, much less give their life to Christ. I never want to graduate from an awe of Jesus or forget that He is transforming lives every weekend!
In what ways has planting and pastoring grown you the most?
I would have to say that planting/pastoring has taught me the power of seasons! When we first planted, I felt like I had to do everything and be a part of everything. I had my (at the time) five-year-old at the church every Friday night and at 6 AM on Sunday mornings, however, when I was expecting with my 2nd son, all that had to change. I think, as women in ministry, we struggle with the questions, “What exactly do I do? and “What part do I play in all of this?” As women, I believe that our roles are seasonal. We have seasons where we can do a lot more and seasons where we have to let go of a few things in order to take care of our home.
I believe you have to be okay with whatever season you are in. It doesn’t mean you’re called less or that you’re not as equally valuable, because you are! Now that I see the value of seasons, it has helped me to enjoy the hard ones because I know its “just a season” and it has helped me soak up every minute of the great ones, because (again) its “just a season”.
FYI a great message on this is “Seasons, Days, Years” by Robert Madu
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone who was just starting out on her church-planting journey alongside her husband?
Since I am a designer and see things in pictures, I will try and paint a picture for you. 🙂
Let’s look at church planting like a long and winding road through the mountains.
Imagine you, your husband, and your kids in your favorite car. (Go ahead, imagine the car you’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford). Can you see it? Beautiful views, windows down, sunroof back!
Now that you see it, my advice would be…enjoy the ride! Remember, everyone’s journey is different. Try not to get caught up comparing other people’s views with yours! Everyone has a different route, a different state, and a different destination so your journey won’t always look the same as others’, and that’s okay. You may even have to take a pit stop to change a dirty diaper (or two or ten) and that’s okay! 🙂 Sometimes your kids, at different ages, will require more of you and its important to remind yourself that it’s just a little pit stop in a long journey.
At the end of the day we are all exactly where God wants us to be. The key is to keep gas in the car and continue driving! You’ve got this!!!