Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Life Update: John Following God's Call into the Business World

Dear Friends, 

Kelsey and I are in a bittersweet season of life where we are trusting God’s plan. Over the past 9 months, I have felt God tugging me away from full time ministry and into the business world to live on mission for Him. As a result, I will be leaving staff with Cru at the end of the semester. During my time with Cru I have had the privilege of teaching Senior fraternity men what it looks like to live for Christ after college, specifically how to be missional in the business world. As I have been teaching them, I began to feel drawn to the idea of going into the business world and the ways that it would free me up to get more involved in leading and serving my church family.  

Little did I know, God had something more exciting than I ever could have imagined. Over the past 2 months, God has opened several doors that have led to me accepting a job opportunity to work for a local company called The Cason Group. The Cason Group is a Christian company that provides insurance services, whose purpose is “to provide a platform for employees to serve, be challenged, and be a light in the marketplace.” This is exactly what I have been teaching college seniors about the past 2 years! How to live for Jesus – whether that is in full time ministry, being a light in the workforce, or taking leadership roles in the local church.

I am also thankful that The Cason Group is very understanding of my mission with Cru and the importance of me finishing the semester well. I plan to stay with Cru through the end of the semester and then transition into my new role at The Cason Group once students leave for Christmas break.

Although I am very sad to leave the students that I have grown so close to, I am confident that this is where the Lord is leading me. I know Greek Impact will continue to thrive with the current staff team and the 2 new staff members who will be joining in the next semester.

In God’s perfect timing, I have also been given the opportunity to participate in a Leadership Institute at our church, Midtown Fellowship. The purpose of the Institute is to raise up spiritual leaders to serve our church family. I will be participating in an intensive one year discipleship program, being mentored by the Pastors of our church. Of course, God’s timing is perfect, as I wouldn’t have been able to commit to this program if I was still working in full time ministry with Cru. Kelsey and I have also recently started leading a small group at our church, and I am looking forward to having my evenings free to be missional with our group members, to help them grow towards Christ. We are amazed at the doors God has opened to make this path clear to us!


How does this affect you?

We are so thankful for each one of you and for your partnership over the past 2 years! You have been so faithful to us in our service to the Lord, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with you in this mission. We hope that you will continue to support us through the end of the semester.

If you are a financial partner, there are a few things that you need to know: 
  1. If you currently give automatically each month, you will need to email Cru (egift@cru.org)  to stop your giving at the end of the semester.
  2. If you do not email Cru, your payments will not be stopped. Unfortunately, we do not have the power to stop your payments for you. We apologize for the inconvenience. 
  3. In December we will send you an email with specific instructions on how to stop your giving to Cru. 
We hope that you will prayerfully consider supporting Kelsey’s role with The Grassroots Network and Midtown Fellowship. She is in need of $1000 in monthly support to reach her support needs. She will be contacting you in the next month to tell you more about her role as Grassroots Network Coordinator and to see if you are interested in continuing to support her financially. (If you are interested in supporting Kelsey, click here for more info)

We cannot thank you enough for your incredible generosity over the last two years. There are tears in our eyes as we write this. God has been so faithful to provide through each of you wonderful people. We have seen the goodness of the Lord through every single one of you and hope you know how special you are to us.

Kelsey's Role with The Grassroots Network

In July of 2015, I began a new ministry role as Midtown Fellowship's Residency Director and Director of Fund Development for Grassroots Network (GN)!


Grassroots Network is a network of churches started by the pastors at our church, Midtown Fellowship in Columbia, SC. The vision of GN is to plant more churches that are "Jesus centered families on mission" in spiritually needy areas, so that more people might be reached with the transforming power of the Gospel. We currently have church plants in West Columbia,  Two Notch, and Lexington, and are getting ready to launch our Knoxville church come August. Big picture, in my role God is using me to mobilize Gospel centered missionaries by helping them be equipped to minister to Columbia and surrounding areas. 

As Residency Director, I have been overseeing Midtown's Residency ProgramThe Residency is a year long intensive internship that equips believers for a lifetime of ministry. It is designed to train and cultivate young ambitious leaders into Gospel driven servants who lead the Church. 

Currently, I oversee our 17 Residents and am continuously working on developing the program for the future to make it the best it can be. I am responsible for promoting and recruiting for the Residency, interviewing the applicants, writing job descriptions based on each Resident's giftedness and the church's needs, and training the Residents on how to raise their financial support. I also provide feedback on their performance and ensure that they are getting the most out of the Residency program.

The best part of my job is that I get to use what I learned from raising financial support with Cru to teach the Residents how to raise support, so they can be fully funded and give their focus to their development through The Residency program. Since I began my role, we've seen the average Resident go from raising only 50% of their financial support, to being 95% funded. This is largely due to the knowledge I gained from Cru on how to raise support and the passion God has given me to see people fully funded for ministry so they can focus on doing the work God has called them to.

As Director of Fund Development for Grassroots Network, I will be working alongside our church plants to build ministry partnerships with local churches and individuals that will enable us to send out more church plants in areas that need the Gospel. Currently my main project is to work alongside our Midtown Two Notch pastor to develop funds for the sustainability of the Two Notch church. Two Notch is an area of Columbia that no one is willing to go to because of the high crime rate. Two Notch is in a high poverty neighborhood, so tithes alone do not sustain the church financially. We want our churches to be financially healthy so they can have maximum impact on their communities. The Two Notch community desperately needs the hope of the Gospel & I am delighted to help provide for the church plant by developing these partnerships. 

I hope this gives you a little glimpse into the specifics of my job. My new ministry role is also a support raised position, as GN is a non profit organization. 100% of my salary comes from generous individuals like you. I am currently trusting God to provide $400 a month in monthly support to reach my salary goal as well as $3000 in special gifts to provide for ministry expenses.

To support me in this work, sign up here: pushpay.com/pay/koneal

Thank you so much for continuing to support our family through your generosity. Thank you for enabling me to serve the Lord full time in this way. We are so grateful!

Don't hesitate to email (koneal@midtowncolumbia.com) or call if you have any questions (803 528 1367)


Friday, May 22, 2015

Life Update: Following God's Call into a New Season of Ministry

Dearest Friends, Family, & Ministry Partners,

John and I are in an exciting, faith-stretching, season where we are trusting God's leading in our lives. I have been given a wonderful new opportunity to fulfill my calling to share the Gospel with the people of Columbia and beyond! July 1st I will begin working full time with The Grassroots Network, a network of churches that seeks to plant other Gospel centered churches. The pastors at our home church, Midtown Fellowship, created The Grassroots Network (TGN) so they could send out missionaries to plant other churches, with the goal to be " a Jesus centered family on mission" around the United States. Currently, Midtown Fellowship has sent out missionaries to plant churches in several areas including: Two Notch, Lexington, Knoxville, and West Columbia.

I will be the first full time employee of TGN and will have a variety of responsibilities. One way TGN seeks to mobilize missionaries is through their Residency Program. The Residency is a year long internship that equips believers for a lifetime of ministry. It is designed to train and cultivate young ambitious leaders into Gospel driven servants who lead the Church. My main role will be to coach and manage the current 26 Residents and to develop the program for the future to make it the best it can be. I will be writing job descriptions based on each Resident's giftedness and the church's needs, I will be teaching them how to raise their financial support, I will be discipling them spiritually, providing feedback on their performance, and helping them get the most out of the Residency program. 

The other part of my job will be supporting TGN and the church plants administratively and helping the new church plants learn how to raise financial support. TGN also has a "Church Planter Training" program specifically designed to develop young men into Christ centered pastors to plant new churches. A large part of my role will be organizing the “Church Planter Training" curriculum into a formalized process, so that everyone receives the same training regardless of what church plant they are serving under. I am really looking forward to all of these opportunities and projects that will help further the Gospel!

I am saddened to be leaving Cru staff, I'm heartbroken to not get to work full time with my beloved college girls, but I am confident knowing that this is where God is leading me. If you know me at all, then you probably recognize that this new job sounds perfect for me! I loved working full time with students, but it was relationally exhausting and I struggled with the lack of structure in my schedule. As TGN Coordinator I will be able to capitalize on my strengths, I will thrive with the structure, and I will be personally developed by the pastors at Midtown to be a better leader and to deepen my love for Jesus. 

 Of course, even though I'm not on Cru staff, I will still be fully supportive of the Greek Impact ministry, and will attend many of the conferences, events, and retreats alongside John. I've spoken with each of the young women that I disciple and told them that I truly view them as friends and hope to continue our friendship even though we won't be meeting formally for discipleship. I still hope to care for them spiritually as much as possible. 

So what about John? & How does this affect our Ministry Partners? 

John is planning to stay on staff with Cru for at least another year. He is looking forward to the beginning of next semester and is excited to share the Gospel with new freshman! After serving this past year on campus, he is even more passionate about reaching fraternity men with the good news of Jesus. At the end of next year we will reevaluate both of our positions and see where God wants us.

It is our hope that you will continue to support our ministry financially, and that you would pray for us as we make this transition. Our hearts and our mission have not changed, John will be sharing Christ's love with college students, and I will be mobilizing young people to share the Gospel all over the world! 

Financially, our needs have not changed and we still need your support. My new job with The Grassroots Network is also a fully support raised position. If you are a member of Midtown, I will be contacting you to see if you would consider moving your giving to my new ministry. It is our hope that about half of our supporters would continue to support John and the other half would move to support me through TGN. 

If you have ANY questions or concerns at all about this transition, please contact us. We would love to speak to you personally! Also, please don't hesitate to let us know how we can be praying for you.

Thank you SO much for your love, for your prayers, for your generosity, for your friendship. We are so privileged to have you behind us as we take the love of God to a world that is desperate for it!

Humbly & Gratefully,
Kelsey & John



PS. Here is a fun pic from our end of the year camping trip! Our students had a blast shooting clays & bonding around the campfire!