We are Forefront

By Lee Kemp 

Today I wanted to introduce you to the beginnings of Forefront church and the pulse of this blog! My heart is that you would experience with us the glorious adventure and sometimes raw struggle that is church planting.

The Stirring for Change

In November 2012, after 12 years in full-time ministry, my wife and I were evaluating what we had done in the ministry and asking God for clarity on what He wanted to do in our lives. We both felt like God was leading us to make a transition and a big step of faith. We just didn’t know what.

After reaching out to friends in the ministry, reading several books, and most importantly praying, God led us to the work of church planting! We shared with our church family that we would be moving back to my home town of Fort Smith, AR to plant a new church!

The Change Conceived

We moved to Fort Smith in February, 2013 and began to meet with key Christian business men to partner with us. We would begin planting Forefront Church by doing ministry at a large apartment complex and these men would be key in fulfilling that vision. Later in June 2013, we moved into a small two bedroom apartment and took on the adventure of starting a new ministry work.

{ we moved into a small two-bedroom apartment and took on the adventure of starting a new ministry work. }

We started with just getting to know people! We put together ballet classes for girls and also did some swimming lessons on Saturdays. Once we had several key friendships established in the apartment complex, we launched an outdoor worship experience for adults while serving the kids in the apartment clubhouse.     

The Idea Takes Shape

Ministry work continued in the complex for one year as we focused on doing events to foster new friendships and worked to develop and build a consistent weekly meeting for worship. Meanwhile we had several families who lived in different areas praying for us and keeping up with what we had started in Fort Smith. Almost a year and a half after we took that step of faith and began the work at the apartments, six other families sold their houses and moved to Fort Smith to help us plant Forefront in the Summer of 2014!

Forefront Launches

With an established group of families committed to the work, Forefront church was ready to launch in September of 2014. We started meeting weekly for worship at another existing local church who also supported us by integrating our children into their ministry while we met on Sunday mornings.  This gave us a huge opportunity to focus on reaching lost people where we lived, worked, and spent time having fun. 

Over a year passed in this context and our Sunday morning gatherings grew to reaching around 60 adults and 35 kids weekly.  We began to experience another stirring for change and started praying about our next steps of planting the church.

Within this time we approached the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club about allowing us to use their facilities on the north side of town for worship on Sunday mornings. The Boys and Girls Club in Fort Smith had previously experienced some less than desirable behavior from churches before and were a little cautious in the beginning. Over time though they became more open to partnering as we had agreed to take on the task of freshening up their facilities with new paint and basic level remodeling work. This past September 2015, we started having our weekly gathering at the Boys and Girls Club!

The Heartbeat of Forefront Church

Forefront’s desire is to be at the forefront of what God is doing in changing the lives of those who feel far from God.  Our vision is to Reach the Lost, Equip the saved to reach others, and Serve God by using our gifts to show Jesus to the local community.  Our heart is to maintain an external focus as a church.  Right now we are keeping that focus by continuing our work in the apartment complexes with couples from our church living onsite and by worshiping at the Boys and Girls Club in an ongoing partnership.

 

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