Mattawan, Michigan has now been my home for going on 10 years. Prior to moving here I had very little knowledge about the community other than some demographic study and a few people that I knew who lived here.
God developed a church planting team back in 2008 and we began to pray for this community before I moved my family here. In those times of prayer, God placed a love in my heart for people I had never met. I am not a pastor and church planter who wanted to use a community to establish a church. God placed a love in my heart for a community and has brought forth ReCAST Church in relationships centered on faith, community, and service.
Mattawan has become a home for me in a way that I never thought a place could be. Prior to moving to Mattawan I had lived in Middleville, Michigan where I was raised. I lived in Columbia, SC for Bible college. I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan for Cornerstone University where I wrapped up my Bachelor’s Degree. I moved back to Columbia for Seminary. My wife and I lived in Battle Creek, Michigan after I finished seminary. We moved to Dewsbury, England where we worked with local churches training them in evangelism. We then moved to Portage, MI where I worked with International Students at WMU and eventually with Berean Baptist Church.
As I look back on my life I see the ways that these places were beneficial and helpful, but primarily they were preparatory. They were not stepping stones. They really mattered, but they were not the locations or the ministries that God had designed me for. I believe that God made me to love a community. He made me to be a small town pastor with a drive to see people growing in faith, growing in community, and growing in service.
Mattawan is both a home and a ministry. I love this community. Small town America is quirky. And by quirky, I mean endearingly relational and imminently simple. I run into people I know at the coffee shop every time I am there. I know my pharmacist by name. The local grocery store is higher priced than the big box stores and I go there anyway, because I can see it out the window from where I am writing this blog. The police department comes by our church a couple of times a month to do a walk-around to check everything and then he leaves me a card to let me know they are there for us. The local food pantry is run by a committee that loves our community and has a deep joy in serving.
God gave me a love for this community long before I found out it was loveable. It isn’t a perfect community, but it IS a perfect community for a church. And ReCAST has grown maybe specifically, BECAUSE it is not a perfect community. The church is here for any and all who know they are not perfect and recognize their need to grow in faith, community, and service. I love the way God has been drawing people in to trust Him more, to recognize their need for others, and the reality that others need them. I love Mattawan and I love ReCAST church. And I think God put them together like peanut butter and chocolate. And who doesn’t like that combo!?