A Tale of Two Churches4 minute read

KODY: I was on staff at a multi-site church in Nashville, and as we had a new pastor and kind of began to get to know him a little bit, one day he pulled me aside he said, I want to promote you to the campus director of our downtown campus. I was excited; I thought more authority, more responsibility, more leadership… About two weeks later I found myself in the parking lot waving a wand, waving cars in every single week in the pouring down rain. I thought, God, is this really what you meant? I thought I heard from you. I thought it was clear on what you were calling me to do. And he said, Kody, until you’re willing to serve in the parking lot, you’re not ready to preach in the pulpit. God was calling me to be a servant first. He was calling me to actually pastor people and love people, and not just use a gift of communication. And so I did, I just began to serve.

STEVE: When I came to Servant Church in 1983 the church had just sent 40 of its members out to start a new church in this city. God blessed us in the first 24 months that we were here; we had 60 people that were won and baptized and joined the church. It was just amazing, it was all God, and we just continued from that point on.

KODY: We had a baptism service, and my wife was backstage. I just got done baptizing a couple of people and we walked off and she was crying behind the stage. She said, “Kody, I have this feeling that one day that’s going to be you baptizing people in the church you start.” When she said that we really began to pray and to figure out what was next. The conversation happened after that, believing that I was called to be a pastor and not really know what that entailed.

STEVE: I realized three years ago that I needed to resign as lead pastor. I believed that we really needed a younger guy, not that I think that I’m old or that my ministry is finished because that’s not the case. The scripture says that you don’t put new wine in an old wineskin because if you do the wineskin will burst. New things were coming, we tried the new things and they were successful, but the wine skin kept bursting. I realized that I needed to step out of that role, that we needed someone of this day’s culture with a new plan of action, with a new system, to come in and restart the church.

KODY: We announced we were planting the church in the fall of 2019 here in Gallatin and began to form a launch team. We began to pray for space for us to be able to meet on Sundays, and a friend of mine connected me with Servant Church and Pastor Steve.

STEVE: Kody Woodard came and spoke a few times for us to fill the pulpit, and we knew that he wanted to start a church in this city.

KODY: When we were looking for a space for a worship night and the first place fell through, I called Pastor Steve and asked, can we use your building on a Sunday night. It wasn’t a public event. Our launch team just invited people, and then I invited some people who were going to Servant Church at the time just to come and check it out if they wanted to.

STEVE: We had 150 people at that service and it was amazing. My wife and I went home that night and as we were talking about it I said, “so what do you think?” and she said “he’s the guy.” And I said, “I know. So what do we do about that?”

KODY: They believed the best thing that they could do for the city, for their church, for their people, was to give us their building that was debt-free. We began to pray about what that would look like. We wanted to reflect a new church and a new work that God was doing in our city, so we knew that we wanted to update and renovate the building.

STEVE: It really was an easy transition because we believed that the church needed to remain on this corner. It didn’t matter what the name was as long as it was doing ministry in this city and in this neighborhood. We talked to Kody about it, and I wasn’t sure he’d even be interested, but he was. God worked it all out.

KODY: Steve became a catalyst in making sure that we stayed on task. This guy was here laying down baseboards until nine or ten o’clock at night and would actually tell me to go home and be with my wife, and he would stay and just lay baseboards.

STEVE: Kody said after it all began and we were planning for the launch, “Steve, what do you want to do?” I said, “I’ll take the parking lot.” I chose that for two reasons: one was that I wanted my neighborhood to know I was still here, but the other reason was I wanted the city to know that I was here, and that we were flourishing, and that I was happy about it.

KODY: A lot of the group from Servant Church is still here, and they’re still involved. I think it’s just a testament to a group of people who lay down their preferences and make Jesus the priority in their life and are willing to just do what it takes.

STEVE: I’m Steve Briggance. I pastored this church for 33 years, and now this is my pastor.

KODY: And I’m Kody Woodard, and I’m the lead pastor at Renovation Church, and I hope to be like this guy one day.

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Paul Urban

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