Let me say upfront that this blog is primarily intended to reach the many supporters, students, faculty, friends, donors, and aspiring students of Eternity Bible College. But feel free to read on if you’re interested in hearing about my last 5 months in Boise, ID.
Quick overview. My family I moved to Boise Idaho on May 1st, 2014, in order to start an extension site for Eternity Bible College. The idea started back in early summer 2013 and is now becoming a reality.
The reason for starting the extension site is twofold. First, the population of Boise (and it’s surrounding area called “The Treasure Valley”) is growing like crazy—we now have over 615,000 residents in the area, making Boise the third largest city in the Northwest (behind Seattle and Portland). And 25% of the residents attend a Protestant church, which means there are around 150,000 believers in the area. And churches are growing like wildfire.
The second reason why Eternity Bible College came to Boise is because we were invited in. Before we moved up, I talked with dozens of pastors and leaders and Christians in the area, and they all said: “We would LOVE to have an extension site here in Boise.” And so we moved. After all, Eternity Bible College has no interested in parachuting in and letting people know that they need us. No way. We want to serve the church and come alongside what God is doing through local churches. And it’s because local churches wanted us here that we ended up moving.
Here’s an overview of what’s been going on since we moved up here.
First, my family and I spent the bulk of the first two months getting settled in, fixing up our house, getting to know the area, and spending time together. Prior to moving up, life was absolutely crazy! So the first two months of knocking down walls and tilling a new garden were a breathe of fresh air.
Then, beginning in June/July, I started to make new contacts with more pastors and churches, and reconnecting with previous folks I had met over the past year. I’ve found that meeting people face to face as been invaluable in getting connected with what God is doing here in the Treasure Valley. And the one thing I’ve seen over and over is this: God is on the move here. He’s working. He’s bringing people to faith. He’s drawing more believers into a deeper relationship with Him. After talking to pastor after pastor, the sense is the same: God is doing a new work (revival?) here in the Treasure Valley. And I can’t tell you how exited I am to be part of what God is already doing here.
After meeting with several more pastors and leaders, we hosted an informational gathering at my house on September 11th and invited about 130 people. Approximately 60 showed up and it was a wonderful night! Two local leaders (Rock Brown and John Mitchell) shared about their excitement about the future extension site, as did Lance Hancock, an Eternity graduate and my assistant for the extension site.
To date, we’ve made contact with more than 25 different churches and more than two-dozen other leaders, supporters, or potential students. There are approximately 75 more churches that I want to contact over the next few months to let them know that Eternity Bible College is here to serve them in their ministry.
The next steps are (1) to invite potential donors to support the project. We simply cannot pull this thing off without financial support, and I would love to see people from the community to invest in this project. (2) Locate a building where Eternity will meet. We would love to be downtown, since that’s where the gospel seems to be needed the most. (Like most cities, downtown is quite secular and intellectual.) But downtown space is more expensive and parking is limited. However, I really would love to burst the bubble of Bible college experience; I’d love for my students to be studying the Bible in a secular and intellectual environment. Downtown Boise would be a great social location—BSU is in downtown as well. And (3) continue to meet with more and more churches to find out how we can serve them as a school.
As I reflect on the last 5 months of living in Boise, I’m honestly stunned at the breadth and depth of enthusiasm from local leaders thus far. It’s one thing to have a pastor say, “Ya, sure, if you want to start an extension site here, I guess that’s fine.” And quite another to hear pastors say, “We’ve been waiting for this! When will this start! What do you need! Please let us know how we can help.” There has been an overwhelming number of pastors and leaders echoing the latter.
My family and I have also settling in to a church that meets downtown called “Revolution 22.” The name comes from the fact that Jesus started a revolution that is grounded in loving God and loving neighbor (Matthew 22). It’s a young church plant that’s made up of a rather diverse group of people, which is why I love it. As far as getting involved with church, I’ve laid low thus far, since I nearly burnt out of ministry last year being stretched too thin. So I’m trying not to jump head first into ministry at the church (although I’m speaking on a panel this Sunday and preaching on the next Sunday…can’t stay dormant too long!)
We love living in Boise! It’s an awesome town with a very strong, almost cultic, sense of community. So strong that Starbucks tried to open a store in downtown but no one went to it. They were too committed to the many craft coffee houses that are locally owned. The same goes for the burgeoning craft beer scene. There’s almost as many local breweries here than in Portland.
And locals love to get out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many North face donned hikers and joggers and bikers and walkers in my life! But the winter is about to set in, so we’ll see what happens when Jack Frost does his dirty work.
Thanks again for all of your prayers, support, and interest in this project! If you’d like to hear more, or have any questions, please drop a comment below (or you can email me).
If you want to support the Boise extension site, it’s quick and easy! Just go HERE and scroll down to #8.