A movement of love! The man in this interview I haven't actually seen since my high school years. What I do remember about Jim Florea is his laugh, and the crew he called his friends. They where all stand up guys with hearts for laughter, jokes, music, and Jesus. Always fun to hang around, and they where always on some sort of adventure. So it was no major shock that almost ten years out of high school Jim finds a calling on his life to build a church in Nashville from the Lord. A calling he is obediently following. A calling that will allow seeds to be planted, and steer the people of Nashville to follow Christ. While I have no direct personal connection to this project from the moment I found out about Forward Church. I have felt the Lord's command to pray very heavily for this important piece of God's work, and the people He has called to complete the task of His work. So I decided to spot light Jim Florea man with a calling and a heart to please the Heavenly Father. Here is what Jim had to say about Forward Church and the commands on his own life? Maybe it will inspire many of you to pray for or be a part of Forward Church.
Interview with Church Planter
Q: I hear you have a calling to build a church here in Nashville. Can you explain what that means?
A: It means I'm called to build a church. I don't have all of the answers but what I do know is 3 yrs ago I was called to build a Church in Nashville. Why Nashville? Why Me? I don't know, but what I do know is that God has a plan and I am on board with whatever that is whether I know the meaning or not.
Q: Can you tell us about the team you have supporting this project, and making it come to life?
A: Its pretty hard for me to say that I have formed anything. I don't really know if you are talking about a team of people involved in the Core Group or if your talking about the groups and organizations that are and will be financially supporting us. The River Community Church is what we call our "mother church." They are big financial supporters of us as well as the leadership of our church is a intermediate eldership body for Forward Church. We are also becoming members of TBC and a group called the CPC which are both financial supporters. As far as the Core Group goes, I have spent the last year casting vision with one on ones and with different groups of people to form a small band of people roughly twenty who are in on the vision of Forward Church.
Q: Do you think building relationships will be a key to success of the church?
A: Yes I believe building relationships will be A key to building the Church but not THE key. JESUS IS THE KEY to building Forward Church. Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not stand against them." So I am going to spend my time building people and let Jesus worry about building a Church.
Q: Who are your theological or ministerial heroes?
A: That is a tough question. There have been a lot of great men and women that have done great things.
Q: The name of the church is Forward Church correct? Was that inspired?
A: One Day, Patrick Mayberry walked out of my office and there was a sign across the hall that said, "Church Offices" and on it was a arrow (->) pointing to the right. Patrick walked over and placed is hand over "Offices" and said, "Dude, Forward Church would be a great name!" Real Spiritual, I know.
Q: You call this a movement of love can you explain why?
A: And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. That is what Jesus tells us. Now the question is, what is love. Jesus tells us this is Love, that I have layed down my life for you, that you ought to lay your lives down for one another. It is pretty self explanatory, Jesus says love is laying down your life, laying down your dreams, laying down your wants; so that is what we are trying to start, a movement of love. Which means us laying down our lives.
to the City.
to the World.
Q: What does this vision mean for the people of Nashville?
A: I think Nashville has a rich history of great churches, great ministries, and organizations. I mean lets face it, Nashville has more churches per capital of people than any other city in America. We are excited to be able to partner with everything God is doing in the City. Our vision is simple, it is the same vision of every other church in the world. We are a band with one song. So as far as the people, my hope is that people would get on board with what God has called us to be.
Q: What does this vision mean to you on a personal level?
A: I don't understand the question. I will try to answer it the best I can.
Two years ago when I was walking in Hillsborro Village I felt the Lord say to me, "This is where you will plant a Church." For quite a long time I didn't understand why in Nashville. The more I learned about Nashville, about how 75% of the city is unchurched, about how 95% of the Churches of the city have platoed or declining, my heart broke for the City. So with that said, I am called to the city of Nashville. Until the Lord calls me else where, on a personal level, I will do whatever it takes outside of sinning to spread the Name of Jesus and to fan the flame that is already here in Nashville.
Q: How do you plan to spread the word of Forward Church?
A: Starting the first Sunday in October, we will start meeting in the upstairs of Bongo Java. we will be doing very little marketing at this point. We hope that in January 2010 we will start doing a once a month preview service, then launch full on grand opening on Easter morning. Starting in January we will be doing all kinds of marketing from crazy gorilla style marketing, to mail outs, and everything in between. Our hope is, everyone in West Side of Nashville will have heard about Forward Church. However, we are not under the allusion that fliers grow a church. The best way is by people inviting people, friends inviting friends. I will do my best to encourage the people that are already intended on bringing their friends.
Q: Is there any thing that has happen you never thought would since the start of this calling to place this church in Nashville?
A: Yes, people are showing up! This is not false humility. I have never planted a Church before, nor do I think of myself as very pastoral. I am pretty blown away every time we meet and people are there.
Thanks for the opportunity to share a little piece of my life.
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