by Ned and Donna Hastings
As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we’re reflecting on our church’s values through the stories and experiences of our Chets family.
God was directing our lives long before Chets Creek Church was even an idea. Our faith was growing, we were giving and serving, and things were good. Then we were introduced to Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God study in the 1980s and our whole understanding of why we exist was jolted. The idea that God is already at work and our job is to join Him, not the other way around, transformed our priorities.
Fast forward to the late 1990s. God began to reveal His desire to plant a new church. We knew we wanted to be a part of it so we began praying and God orchestrated two things. First, the Jacksonville Baptist Association asked our pastor to consider planting a church in the Hodges area. A general location was clarified, and our church committed to start a new church. Second, our pastor introduced Spike Hogan to the group and his idea of what church should look like created excitement like we’d never experienced before. We were willing to do whatever we needed to. We were all in!
Looking back, we see how God used the long hours of praying, meeting, planning, traveling, and doing to grow our faith and bind us together as a core team. During that time and throughout the first few years we learned what it meant to serve and give generously - to live beyond ourselves. What made it so fulfilling was doing it in community with other believers. We had a strong sense from God that what we were doing was important to the kingdom.
Seeing God bring people together and place them exactly where He wanted them was overwhelming. We were doing things we never imagined we could. People were offering their time, skills, and resources as needs arose.
Through all of this, Spike was leading us to be a body of believers that welcomed everyone, especially the those who were far from God. Early on, the concept of reaching and impacting families, children, and students was grafted into our DNA. We had a very clear understanding of who we were, what we were doing, and how we were going to do it.
Being a part of Chets Creek Church has been a mind-boggling journey. What started as a handful of people studying Experiencing God led to a church that has launched four campuses and is supporting God’s work around the globe. It’s incredible to be a part of what He is doing.
Looking back some might ask, “How did you all do so much?” and our response is that we trusted God with all we had and He multiplied our efforts. We know there is much more to be done and we eagerly look forward to what God will do, knowing that nothing is impossible with Him.