Church of the City exists to impact lives, build faith, restore the city, and raise up leaders.
THE STORY BEHIND CHURCH OF THE CITY...
In all of our lives there are those “God moments” we speak about. The times and seasons where the Holy Spirit gently, but very clearly leads us or speaks to us about the plans for our lives. It’s those moments that become stepping stones to defining chapters in our life story. With most of those moments comes then an opportunity to be obedient to what He speaks to us to do. I love how God provides unique opportunities to follow Him out of the boat and onto the water. For us, 2017 and 2018 has been one of those defining chapters. If you know anything about our story, you know that in Summer of 2017 Melissa and I felt a tugging to go birth something new and fresh at a church located out in west Texas in a city called Big Spring. We knew that God was leading us there so we took all the appropriate steps to make it happen. I remember this day like none other in my life...
It was the day we were going to find our home in Big Spring, when on the way we got the most terrifying phone call. My grandmother, Pastor Beverly Earley had been experiencing some moderate stomach pain for a few weeks and went to get imaging done to find out the source of her pain. The phone call we received that day would change our lives forever. As I answered my grandfather’s call all I could hear was weeping. He began to tell me that the report showed a large cancerous tumor on her pancreas. Immediately, in desperate agony, he begged us to turn around and come home and we knew that’s what we were supposed to do. We called the Pastor where we were going to be transitioning at to let him know of the news and that it wouldn’t be possible for us to come anymore. After a month of dealing with the aggressive cancer, my grandmother passed away into her heavenly home. Despite everything, we made the decision to stay in Fort Worth to help continue the church and legacy of my grandmother.
Now skip forward to August 2018, one year from the time we were moving to Big Spring. The tugging to do something different hit harder than before. We made the biggest decision of our lives to take a step away from what we knew to embark on a journey of being led by God and following the voice of the Holy Spirit. After soaking the past three months at a powerful new church in Fort Worth, we knew it was time to do what God called us to do when we stepped out in August... PLANT A CITY-SHAKING CHURCH!
Over the past month God began to reveal His plan about COTC in Hurst, Texas. There began to be many late nights and times of prayer and worship in my car where all I could think about and hear from God was about COTC. I began to seek Godly counsel from mentors and men of God in our lives that confirmed this was from God and encouraged us in embarking into this exciting journey. God spoke clearly about what COTC was supposed to be about and pointed us directly to Isaiah 58:11-14. The MSG Version says this... “I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all. I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob. Yes! God says so!”
Born and raised in Texas, Pastor Austin grew up in a broken home and found himself living with his grandparents at a young age after his parents divorced. His grandparents, Pastors Bill and Beverly Earley made it a goal to see him raised up in the Lord. Pastor Melissa grew up in a loving home with three sisters and her parents, Mario and Maria Cantu. Pastor Austin and Melissa met at church where they both were serving on a youth worship team. It was the tragic loss of her father that led her to Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas Texas to be restored and refreshed. They both attended Christ For The Nations where Pastor Austin received a Bachelor’s Degree in ministry. After their first year of Bible college they got married on July 21, 2012. In September 2012 they found out that they were pregnant with their son, Gabriel Brayden.
Two years after that they had their daughter, Gia Braylen. They served in full-time youth ministry for 6 years. After experiencing such a powerful move of God in their youth ministry, they were called to become the Co-Lead Pastors of The Glory Church with his grandparents where they served for 2 years.
Pastor Austin & Melissa have accomplished many things throughout their time in ministry. They have hosted an annual youth and young adults conference (Encounter Conference DFW) impacting hundreds, preached and ministered on the road at churches, youth ministries, conferences and other places, and have helped lead The Glory Church. Pastor Austin isn’t alone at all and has been blessed to have Melissa by his side. Pastor Melissa has an anointed gift of worship and has been leading worship since a young age and also has the incredible ability to preach and teach the Word of God as a skilled communicator. Together they make an incredible team and are burning for revival and for cities to be shaken by the love and power of God.