By NMC - March 31, 2016
Posted in Partnerships, Stories from NMC
“Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-7
So often the Lord plants seeds in our hearts. They grow from hardships or missions trips or everyday experiences. As people walk alongside us, these seeds grow into our passions, the things that drive us.
As a freshman in high school, Ryan Flemming knew little about Gary, Indiana. He was just trying to make it through classes and tests all the while battling depression. Through it, though, he sensed the Lord placing a big calling on his life. As the Lord walked with him, Ryan began to wonder if the Lord was calling him to do the same thing—to walk alongside other people. Even in the midst of pain and struggle, a seed was planted.
Throughout high school he branched out of his friend group at Northridge High School and formed relationships with peers who lived in inner-city Elkhart. He began to notice the cultural, relational and racial differences between his friends. It was in the midst of their differences that a seed was planted.
Before entering college, Ryan went to Chicago on a day-long immersion trip to “come and see” the ministry happening in the inner-city. It lasted less than 12 hours, but the experience was water to a seed.
Throughout his time at Bethel College, these seeds began to grow and become more recognizable as a passion for ministry in an urban setting. Step by step, Ryan sought the Lord’s direction and calling. On a scout trip to Gary, Indiana, Ryan’s heart was wrecked for this broken city.
He moved into the neighborhood not knowing anyone and not knowing what he was supposed to do. He spent his first season in Gary as a youth and associate pastor at a local church. It was during this time that his heart broke for the marginalized and forgotten. As violence ravaged the city, he knew there was a deeper brokenness in people’s lives that needed to change. He felt the Lord planting more seeds, this time for a church that reached out to the marginalized. From this, The Revolution Church was born.
The ministry of The Revolution is all about planting seeds. Even from the beginning when they had no building or leadership team, Ryan and Johanna planted
seeds. They played basketball with local kids and started a small youth group. They got to know the kids’ parents and began to form friendships. They invited people into their homes and did life with people in the community.
That was eleven years ago. Today The Revolution is blessed to own a building at a prime location in downtown Gary. They continually plant seeds in people’s lives and do their best to walk alongside those same people in everyday life. What began with only Ryan and Johanna has grown to a leadership team who is invested in their church and who longs to see people grow closer to Jesus.
Their ministry isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t run smoothly all the time. They still run short on key volunteers and leaders in the church. In a neighborhood where one in three men has spent time in jail, their community and their church experience real and deep needs. For The Revolution, their biggest need is for workers for the harvest, for mature Christians to disciple one another and pour into the local church.
Yet as they look to the future, they are hopeful because of the seeds that have already been planted. When the days get rough and the needs pile up, Ryan and Johanna look back and see the faithfulness of the Lord. They can see the ways He has led them, is leading them and will continue to lead them and The Revolution Church.
As a partner of The Revolution and the Flemming family, we have an incredible opportunity to join them in their ministry. Here are a few ways we can come alongside them:
- Pray for encouragement and wisdom as they lead this ministry. Pray for seeds to grow in people’s hearts as they are poured into by The Revolution.
- Consider joining their ministry. What would it look like for you to step into their world and do ministry alongside them?
- Sign up for their newsletter to stay on top of all that is happening in the church. Click here to subscribe.
- Come visit them. Service starts at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday. Consider joining them for a worship service and get to know the people they do life with.