January 28, 2013 by
Categories: Church planting | Interviews
On January 18th, Cornerstone Church of Knoxville officially announced (in classic CCK style) their intent to send Dave Odom to plant Redeeming Grace Church in Franklin, Tennessee. This decision was the culmination of much prayer as a church. Today, we interview Dave about this plant so we can support him, his family, and his church planting team in prayer.
First of all, when and where will your church begin?
We will have our first public service on October 13, 2013. We are planting the church in the city of Franklin, TN. Franklin is part of the greater Nashville area, and is located about 20 miles southwest of downtown Nashville.
Why did you choose to plant near Nashville? What attracted you to that city?
I had the privilege to serve as a pastor at Third Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN prior to attending the Pastors College. During my six years serving outside the city of Nashville, our family fell in love with the area. We had a number of contacts in Nashville who expressed interest in a church plant. Likewise, Cornerstone Church of Knoxville desired to plant a church in the Nashville area for a number of years. So, when an opportunity arose to participate in a church plant from Cornerstone with Sovereign Grace, we were eager to participate. It is clear that God has orchestrated this church plant in his timing. And we get excited watching the Lord gather his people to participate in this plant.
What's your vision for this church plant? What would you want to characterize it?
We want to make much of the grace of God found in the gospel. We believe God’s grace is compelling to the unbeliever; and because of the sacrificial death of Jesus, God readily supplies it. Therefore, we want to make much of it three ways: Jesus, Community, and Mission. First, we experience the grace of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ; therefore, we want to make a really big deal about the person and work of Jesus Christ. Second, we experience the grace of God through authentic gospel community; therefore, we want to get people connected within our local church. Finally, we extend the grace of God to others by sharing the gospel; therefore, we want to actively and naturally engage our community with the life-giving person of Jesus Christ.
How do you hope to partner with other churches in the Nashville area?
Obviously, our partnership with churches in Sovereign Grace is unique, and we want to preserve that. But, we have much to learn about effective gospel ministry in the Nashville area, and developing relationships with other churches and pastors in the community is a great way to learn. I plan to be involved in a strong network of gospel-centered church planters in the Nashville area that is already meeting regularly.
One church in Nashville that we have already formed a unique partnership with is Immanuel Church, pastored by Ray Ortlund. There are a number of families participating in our church plant that are currently worshiping there. They have been gracious enough to host and release these families to us when we arrive. Recently, Ray interviewed me during his worship services in order to express enthusiastic support for this Sovereign Grace church plant and these families in their church. Like Immanuel, we are planting this church because we earnestly desire to see the gospel advanced in Nashville. Therefore, we want to come alongside other churches in meaningful ways in order to strengthen our efforts. In our local church, we want to highlight, support, and speak highly of other churches in our community.
Where are you doing your church planting residency? How is this time preparing you for planting a church?
I’ve had the privilege of doing my church-planting residency here at Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. This church has been nothing short of spectacular in providing support for this church plant. Not only are they helping me to build a church planting team here at CCK, they have joyfully sent out one of their long time pastors, Craig Cooper, to lead this church plant with me. This pastoral team has continually expressed faith and trust in me as a pastor. They have given me opportunities to preach, allowed me to sit in on all team meetings, and provided feedback to serve me as a pastor. In addition, this church and pastoral team has personally cared for every member of my family. It will be tough to leave this summer, but Redeeming Grace Church will be more effective because of the example that Cornerstone Church of Knoxville has set for me.
What does your partnership with Sovereign Grace mean for you as a church planter?
In short, this church is not planted in Nashville apart from our partnership with Sovereign Grace. Sovereign Grace has provided resources, training, and ongoing support for me and my family throughout this process. When I have questions, there is a long list of Sovereign Grace pastors that stand ready to assist me. There is a tangible sense that we are planting a local church that is connected to a larger community of faith. Redeeming Grace Church of Franklin is grateful for our partnership with Sovereign Grace; and Lord willing, look forward to many years of fruitful ministry together.
How can we be praying for your church plant as it gets started?
Thank you for asking this question because we do covet your prayers. We are in desperate need of God’s help and your prayers are a means of grace to us. We agree with Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” There are two specific ways we would ask you to pray us. First, please pray for provision. My heroes are the people who are willing to sacrifice everything in order to participate in this church plant, particularly those relocating from Knoxville. They are leaving a great church, careers, homes, friends, family, and schools in order to see the gospel advanced in Nashville. Please pray that the Lord would not only supply their every need, but would bless beyond their wildest expectations. Second, please pray for favor in Franklin. We want to serve this community and be a blessing to them. As a church plant, Redeeming Grace Church will face many obstacles in the days to come. We want to prepare our hearts for this, and see these as opportunities to exemplify the power of the gospel to a community that will be observing us. We desire favor in this community not for reputation sake, but that we may draw attention to the person of Christ when asked “for a reason for the hope that is in” us.
*For a more in depth interview with Dave on his testimony and pastoral history, listen to this episode of CCK's podcast.