We are Dave and Rivers Partin and have four children Joy, Lydia, Melody, and Jackson. Our desire is to worship and enjoy God with our lives and offer to others the satisfaction of the gospel of Jesus through the ministry of the local church. We are on a journey of grace where God has used His Word, many loving leaders, friends and family, the local church, para-church ministries, and international missions to direct our lives toward church planting. Below I want to share a summary of how God has brought us to plant a church in Overland Park, Kansas.
We grew up in West Tennessee, and it was there that Rivers and I both put our faith in Jesus while in middle school. We were married in 1998 and began our journey of ministry together. We began doing worship and youth ministry at Beaver Baptist Church soon after we were married. This is where I felt my call to full-time ministry and was licensed to preach. We then moved to Kansas City to work with Young Life, a para-church ministry to unreached high schoolers. This ministry taught us like never before to go and meet people where they are and bring Jesus to them. In 2002 I accepted the High School Student Director position at Covenant Chapel in Kansas City. These 7 years were a impactful season of growth in our lives as followers and ministers of the Gospel. It was a time of learning to shepherd others and learning how to create a vision and develop a ministry plan as we hoped to come along side students and families.
During these years God continued to burden our hearts for unreached people of the world. We began to pray and ask God when He would have us go and serve the less reached. In 2009 we were sent to serve in Budapest, Hungary with Cru to do evangelism and discipleship among college students. These 4 years deepened our understanding and love for healthy team ministry and personal ministry. We saw evangelism and discipleship modeled and explained in relational environments. During our time in Hungary our conviction was solidified, that local churches are the means to reaching the world, We desire to see the church share Jesus were we individually live, work, and play.
In 2013 these convictions along with the current realities of the American church lead us to the desire to help plant more Gospel-centered missional churches in North America. I accepted a position as the Director of Community and Mercy with a Acts 29 church plant in Harrisburg, PA called Liberti. We designed and developed student and children’s ministries. We helped start a more formal discipleship and leadership development program. We were shepherding small group leaders and groups to live more missionally together. I was designing ministry for men, and Rivers became the Women’s Ministry Coordinator.
This ministry journey has lead us to feel God’s strong call to plant a Gospel-centered, missional, Southern Baptist Church that, Lord willing, will plant more churches. In May 2015, I graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. While we were there for a week, our prayer times and conversations with leaders continued to affirm this calling.
The current reality is everyday in America 10 churches close their doors and only 3 churches are started. We began to seek the Lord on where He would have us plant a church. The need in Kansas City paired with our 8 years of living there along with our desires to plant deep roots in a community has lead to Overland Park, KS. I went through the process with the North American Mission Board and have been accepted as a lead church planter. I will do an apprenticeship starting in the Fall of 2015 at Westside Family Church, a SBC church in KC.
We are praying, that through this journey and future church plant, the Kingdom will be expanded and God will be glorified.