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Damon and Tieshia

ARC Church Plant #556

City Place Church

Orlando, FL

What motivated you to plant your church in Orlando?

We were motivated by a constant burden of love for three types of people: those hurt in church, those distant from God or wanting nothing to do with Him, and those who weren’t dreaming. For one year we interceded for these people, praying for faces we couldn’t see. In 2015 we started the process of pastoring City Place.

What do you love about your church and community?

We love the diversity of our community and the emphasis on building a life-giving church that feels like home.

What has been one of your greatest moments since planting your church?

Baptizing my two sons has been my greatest moment as a dad and senior pastor. I have delighted in having my sons journey with us. They have experienced the highs and lows of church planting and they love Jesus all the more.

Another of our greatest moments is related to a couple named Naren and Melissa who joined our church several years ago. They were unable to have children. Melissa joined a small group and shared her story. Her group prayed. This year we not only celebrated the birth of their son, James, but the baby was dedicated and they were baptized all on the same day!

What is the biggest change you have seen in yourself or your church since you planted?

The biggest change in us is that we are resting in the love of the Father. The pressure of pastoring is stressful, but planting brings another level of expectations. We have learned to rest in the assurance that the Father knows us, loves us, and was pleased with us before we ever said yes to pastoring. We lead without the added pressure of thinking we are disappointing the Lord because we aren’t where we should be.

We have also decided to think in decades rather than days. We are allowing God time to work through us to impact our city.

What do you want to share with someone thinking about becoming a church planter?

Don’t do anything until God has revealed your motives and His calling to you in prayer. Be patient in prayer. Understanding your motives will help you deal with the temptations of comparison and pride that are certain to confront you in the future. This journey is a spiritual one in every sense, and continual prayer is vital to each step of the process.

Befriend other pastors willing to share your journey, those with whom you can be vulnerable and accountable. There will be periods of time when the vision God has given you seems delayed, so you must be patient and give God time to fulfill what He has shown you. Have fun and enjoy every moment!

How has being a part of ARC had an impact on your life and family?

I am surrounded by pastors who have become family. It’s not a slogan: We really aren’t doing life alone.

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