First I started with friends from church. Then I went around and visited pastors to see what they thought about God speaking to me the art teacher. Some suggested that maybe I should look into going to seminary. "But that's not what He said." It wasn't hard to understand and didn't seem to be open for many interpretations.
I started a home group in the Baptist church where we were members. That worked well from May until November. By then older members didn't understand "us" having a small group made up of young couples. Some wondered if I was trying to split the church. We stopped the home group so that people would not be concerned. (Our pastor, Bill Chilton, had given me approval to start the group.)
In May I left my church of eight years. (God sometimes makes our like an eagle's nest. He starts putting more and more sticks in the nest until we get so uncomfortable that we have to go. The cozy couch of life is no longer cozy.) I got the deacons to send me out with a letter and a blessing. They blessed us but said they wanted us to not have meetings at 11:00am on Sundays. (Any other time was fine with them. I love those guys!) That was fine with me too. I didn't like to sing and play my guitar before noon anyway! Thus began a 6pm home small group meeting that was connected to the Vineyard movement way off in Southern California.
Actually, Bobby Sparks was the one that got me moving. After my talking many times about the idea of a Vineyard church plant Bobby says one day, "Let's quite talking about this and just meet." We did.
We moved from my house in Southside, Alabama to Christian Brothers Coffeehouse on Broad Street in the Historic Downtown Gadsden. A few later they decided it was time to end Christian Brothers. They gave us their building! We added the building next door in 2001 which David Santos, the printer, had owned. Been working a little all along on our famous buildings. The Gadsden Public Library got started on the top floor (center room). Look up when you are walking downtown and you'll see the "Moragne" family name. Many things are named for their family which built the building in 1894.