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my church history

planting ‘my church’ in the fall of 2010

It was in the Spring of 2010 when God spoke clearly to me that I was to plant a church. He said, “You’re supposed to plant a church. Do it here and do it now”. The problem was, I’d never been a pastor before! I’d never been in the ministry before. And how in the world would I have any clue how to do something like that!? At the time I was a 29 years old sheet metal mechanic working in a trade I loved and enjoyed. And my wife of 10 years and I were raising our 3 children. I was definitely not in any position to plant a church, much less pastor one!

Personally, I did have a history of church and being a Christian. My father was in ministry and had been for a little over 30 years as a pastor and then as a district church overseer. So I guess you could say ministry was in my blood. But for the large majority of my life I was not at all attracted to the idea of being a pastor. Not that I was running from God because I wasn’t. I just didn’t feel “called” to it. I had no interest in it whatsoever. I grew up in a church where people seemed to expect me to follow in my father’s footsteps, but I was happy doing what I was doing and didn’t feel the need to change things. So, I developed my skills in construction, went to university and then to trade school and eventually became a journeyman mechanic running small crews and living the life I’d laid out for myself. That is until the day I got the call…

The “call” was actually the cherry on top of a prolonged training and prep process that God had been putting me through secretly. It began in June of 2000 when my wife and I got married and moved to Lexington, Ky where I could be closer to work. It didn’t take long for us to settle in and sort of settle out of church—something I’d never done before. I was raised in a pastoral family and never lived away from home till the day after I got married. So faithful attendance to church services kind of went without saying. But now it was just too easy to get away from. Too easy to choose not to travel 35 minutes to church each Sunday morning and Sunday night. Too easy to lay on the couch after work and not get up Wednesday evening to make the trek up to northern Georgetown. The first thing to go was attendance at the mid-week service, then Sunday night, and finally we were only attending service about twice a month. We had changed a lot and we began to feel convicted about the whole thing.

After a couple conversations with my wife we decided we couldn’t continue to live like this. We both felt bad about the direction we were going and we committed to each other and to God that starting next Sunday we’d be back to church faithfully, 3 times a week—and that we did. From that point I felt a series of specific convictions in my heart that directed my path according to God’s desire for my life. I didn’t realize I was being led anywhere at the time—but in hindsight it became rather obvious that God had directed my steps.

The first thing I felt the conviction to do was to get involved. Not wanting to just fill a seat and not contribute somehow to the church ourselves, we began seeking ways to get plugged in. We landed in the greeting ministry. My job was to simply open doors for people, smile and shake their hands. It wasn’t a big deal, but it changed me. It was in this role that I began to develop a genuine love for people. It became more than a role and more of a passion. I found myself walking around the sanctuary shaking hands with people I’d missed earlier or who had come in the other entrance doors. I must have looked like a politician smiling and shaking hands each Sunday, walking around the entirety of the sanctuary being careful not to miss a single person. It gave me joy though and I found that I genuinely cared about the people I was greeting. And like I said, I didn’t see it at the time, but these were the early stages of God getting me ready for ministry.

The next conviction was pretty much like the first, in that I just felt like I should be doing more. About a year after returning to faithful church attendance and joining the greeting ministry I was confronted by our worship pastor. He had an open bassist position on the worship team and was looking for someone to fill it. I’d never played the bass before but I was proficient at the guitar so I took him up on the offer. After receiving some training from the worship pastor I began playing on the team. Eventually, he even had me singing backup vocals. It was a learning experience the whole time—helping the congregation enter into the holy place of God’s presence. At first my new place on the platform made me very nervous. But in time I found myself worship God without any hindrances and encouraging others to do the same. I developed a passion and a reverence for God’s presence. And also, to be able to help other people come to that holy place.

A year later something straight-up supernatural happened! I started having dreams and visions. It was very different and somewhat hard to explain. I had never had God-given dreams before, and I’d definitely never had a vision before either. I found myself skeptical of myself. However, the repetition of the instances confirmed it for me. Three Times in the same week I had the exact same dream. That same week I had three visions as well which were identical to the dreams. A total of six times in six days! What I saw was an aerial view of our sanctuary. In the dreams and visions the sanctuary was packed with standing worshipers. Each person was singing and raising their hands to heaven. My vantage point began to shift as the view moved towards the platform. When I could finally see the platform it was me who was leading worship! Never had I ever sought or considered leading worship before! But, I would wake up or come out of the vision each time with this strong sense that God was telling me that I was going to be leading worship at the church. It didn’t make sense to me though, because, we had a full time worship pastor on staff at the church—What was I going to do!?

At the end of the week, on Sunday, I went to church just like any other Sunday. After service was over the worship pastor came up to talk with me. He told me that he and his wife (who was the choir director) had been throwing the idea around of him beginning to join the choir practice in the church basement each Wednesday night in order work with the singers. But, in order to do that he would need someone to take his place on the platform and lead worship. Then it happened. He asked me if I’d pray about doing it—instant confirmation! I shared with him my visions and dreams and he agreed that this was God’s will. Within weeks I had become the Wednesday night worship leader. Worship was my thing and I absolutely loved it. I continued to do it for years and I never imagined that I would do anything more than that. But God was preparing me for something else, I just didn’t know it yet.

Right at two years from the first set of dreams and visions I was given another set of them. Same thing - three dreams, three visions, \one week. Even the imaging was the same. An aerial view of the sanctuary, but with one difference—instead of standing worshiping, everyone was sitting and holding their bibles. As the view panned towards the platform I saw myself again—but this time, behind the pulpit and speaking to the congregation. I was preaching! Never in my life had I done anything even remotely close to this. I was terrified. However, I genuinely felt God was trying to tell me that I was going to be speaking before the church. As I arrived at church that next Sunday morning our senior pastor had asked if I would have time to talk with him after service. He took me aside once church was over and explained that he had just made out his calendar and schedule for the following year and guess what? He was going to need someone to preach and teach around 16 times over then next 12 months. “Landon, I’m looking for a few good men to step up and fill the pulpit in my absence. I thought of you. I think you should do it." Wow! Even with the dreams and visions nothing really could have prepared me to hear that. Who was I? I wasn’t trained in seminary. I didn’t go to a bible college. I didn’t even have any sort of certificate for ministry. I was just a pastor’s kid with a decent knowledge of the bible. What was I going to be able to do for the church in a preaching/teaching capacity? Nonetheless, what followed was the early beginnings of a preaching and teaching ministry which God used me in for several years.

During those days I could hear the voice of God in my spirit saying, “be a student of the Word, be a student of the Word”. I had a wife and three kids I was raising at the time. A more than full time job and no real ability to run off to a bible college to get an education. So I didn’t know exactly how to become a student of the Word. That is, until someone actually walked up to me one day and asked me to enroll in a local weekends only ministry school! It was the perfect solution—and God knit it all together. Over the next four years I committed myself to being a student of the Word. Many people I went to school with were ministers or pastors already or preparing to become one. I on the other hand, just saw myself as a man wanting to become better tool in the hands of God. I figured, hey, if I was going to be thrust into a role like preaching and teaching, then I’d better at least be a little bit better prepared. I never considered when I started schooling that I would do anything more. I definitely never thought I’d be a pastor for sure—but God’s kind of funny like that.

Before I knew it I had actually completed two full years of ministry school and had even obtained a certified ministry credential in the process. My pastor at the time recognized what God was doing in me and brought it to my attention. He began to lay out the last few years and explained how God had led me and was still leading me towards ministry. He encouraged me to acknowledge my calling and allow myself to be recognized before the congregation. I reluctantly agreed and found myself sharing what God was doing in me with my church family. They already knew it! The only one who seemed to be oblivious to it was me! I wasn’t avoiding it, I just couldn’t believe that God would want to use me. It was around this time, about two years since the last set of dreams and visions that I had a third and final set of dreams and visions.

Three dreams, Three visions, all in one week—just like the other times. However, this one was completely different. It was my house! I saw an aerial view of my house and as I watched, my wife and I came out of the house holding a book in our arms. I assumed it must have been a bible. After coming out of the house we walked up the street and then we came back, but we were not alone, there were 10 other people with us, also holding books in their arms. We all went into the house together and then there was a time lapse. We came out. This time the 12 of us walked around the block. When we came back there were 30 of us! Together we went into the house with our bibles. Another time lapse, and the 30 of us split up and covered the entire neighborhood. Some 200 people returned with us, bibles in tow! Our 1200 square foot home wouldn’t hold us all so the screen door was propped open and people were spilling out into the front yard. Then I’d wake up or come to—and I had no clue what it meant!

As we came to church that Sunday I was hoping to hear something from someone. I was so confused because I didn’t understand these dreams. I knew God showed me the visions and dreams, but I had no knowledge of what they meant. In the previous visions I saw things that I understood so I had an idea of what they meant. This time though I was completely clueless. Service ended that morning and nothing happened. I didn’t hear anything from anyone. Nobody pulled me aside or said, “Hey, I want to talk with you”—Just a whole bunch of nothing. I was already confused, and now I was frustrated. I went home and racked my brain. I spoke with my wife and even told my best friend trying to get some sort of clarity. Before now I hadn’t shared my vision with anyone except my pastors and my wife. Unfortunately, neither my wife, my pastors, nor my friend could offer any solution. I began to search for the meaning—but it was frivolous. I tried starting things, hoping that it was what god meant for me to do. I started a men’s bible study, but it eventually fizzled out. I helped the pastor with a desire that he specifically had by starting a Saturday night service. He hoped it would be my vision, but it wasn’t. I told him that I didn’t feel like it was what God was asking me to do. However, if the pastor wanted me to serve him in this way then I was at his disposal. After a few months though the Saturday night service fizzled out as well. Months had gone by and I was no closer to discovering what God had shown me. In time, I let the memories of the dreams and visions fade. I figured, “well if God wants me to know what they mean then He’s gonna have to just tell me because I don’t know what to do.” I later found out what God wanted me to do was just keep serving and trusting Him and in time, when it was his time, He’d reveal it to me.

It was about two years when I heard God speak to me again. It was the Spring of 2010. I had just received my official ministry license with the Assemblies of God. I was going through an extended layoff at my job—something I wasn’t used to as I’d never been off work more than a week in nearly 11 years of construction. I was at home, laying face down on the bed praying. My bible was in front me and I would read and pray, read and pray. They I heard it, “You’re supposed to plant a church. Do it here and do it now”. A flood of memories swept through my mind of the dreams and visions I had tried so hard to understand—It was a church plant! How could I have been so stupid! It was so obvious to me now, but for some reason I never got it until that moment. In hindsight, I believe God’s not revealing it yet was His plan all along. Sort of like the time Jesus met with his disciples after his resurrection, walking along the road to Emmaus. It was Jesus who was talking to them, but their eyes had been prevented from recognizing him just yet. It wasn’t until later that they understood and realized it was Jesus. God had a purpose in giving me the visions two years prior: “I’ve got something else for you. Wait for it. Anticipate it. Trust me.” And then, at just the right moment, Jesus revealed his plan for “my church” and set me in motion.

The church was officially planted on October 17, 2010 after about two months of weekly bible studies in the Hilton Garden Inn of Georgetown, Ky. We met in the hotel for a total of 14 months before moving to the other side of town into a large shopping center. We eventually purchased the north side of the shopping center with all it’s tenants and we continue to expand and grow. We are a kingdom minded church—we don’t care about “my church” as much as we care about ‘His’ church or ‘the’ church. And we’ve always sought to reach the lost—those without a church, those in need of Jesus and a family to support them. In the years since planting my church in 2010, we have had the privilege of planting 4 more churches and assisting with 2 others—all of which are not run or owned by “my church”. We just want to grow the Kingdom of God for the glory of God.

Landon Holder

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