Brooks Lokey asked the Missio Church team (who has recently departed from Ethos Church, heading to Seattle, Washington) a few questions about their journey to Nashville, and on to Seattle. Here is Whitney Peterson's story.
When did you come to Nashville and why?
I came in January 2007 to attend nursing school at Belmont University.
How did you get connected to Ethos? When did you start working or volunteering with Ethos, and what did that look like?
I ran into Brandon Steele at a coffee shop while having a Bible study. We got to talking, and I discovered he was a pastor at a church, so I figured I’d check it out at some point. I started coming to Ethos, and was drawn in more and more each time.
As soon as I knew Ethos would become my home church, I started volunteering with the kids. I was working as a full time nurse by then. At some point, I saw a tweet about Ethos needing a kids intern, so I responded and ended up interning for about a year. After that year, there was a change in staffing and I stepped into the assistant kids director role and worked for about 2 years doing that.
What did you see God teaching you in your time in Nashville and through your ministry at Ethos?
I wasn’t a follower of Jesus when I moved here. I grew up in a conservative house, but in a very liberal city with high peer influence. I had a knowledge of God, but I was not following him. Halfway through college, I realized that I had become stagnant. I wasn’t really passionate about anything. I knew that I was made for something more, so I wanted to make a change, to have a new start to become the person I knew I was meant to be.
I moved to Nashville, and I immediately started seeking the Lord to find out what that looked like. The Lord taught me what it means to be a follower and to walk with Him. He taught me what it looks like to lead other people to Him. Jesus really met me where I was at and gradually brought me along with Him. At Ethos, I discovered the potential that each person has in the Lord. We were meant to be more than just followers; we were meant to impact others no matter what your background or story is.
What’s the story behind Seattle – When did you hear the call? Why Seattle? How were you positive it was the Lord calling you?
I was having a random conversation with Sydney [Clayton] where she said something about me going to Seattle. At this time, she knew about the Kings, but I had no clue about their plans to plant a church. A little while later, the Kings invited me to be a part of their team, so I began thinking and praying about it. I asked a group of 4 or 5 friends to be praying with me about this opportunity. I asked them to pray in boldness and expectancy that God would speak to them.
I really felt like God confirmed that this was the right choice through those friends. Every time I came up with a reason or excuse that I shouldn’t go, one of those friends would send me a scripture that spoke directly into those fears and combatted them. I really felt like this was the Lord because even when these friends didn’t know my fears or anxieties at the time, they always seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear through scripture and in prayer.
What do you hope to see God do in Seattle through you, through this church?
I hope to see God awaken a movement for His Kingdom in Seattle. I want to see people who have been resistant to God from preconceived notions of the society they live in overcome those barriers that prevent them from understanding God’s love. I hope to see people understand what it means to be loved by God.
What fears or insufficiencies have you overcome to get you to this point? How has God shown himself to you through this/shown his sufficiency in the face of your weakness?
I struggle with questions of insufficiency. “What do I have to offer?” I have no background in theology or any formal schooling or training in ministry or church planting. I’ve seen through that past 2 years at Ethos that the only thing that matters is how closely you’re walking with the Lord. When you’re chasing after Him and striving to walk in step with the Lord, everything else presents itself. He presents you the people, He gives you the words, He provides.
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