It's hard to believe it's been two years already, well for me, the site will be two years old in June. January 1st of this year was my two-year anniversary with Envision Atlanta. Back then it was just me and Pete, the site coordinator. There were other team members who had moved to the Atlanta area, but they wouldn't officially start till later that year. We had no buildings we were using, no church partners and no money, just some dreams and some hopes for what could be.
At the start, my main responsibility was to book as many appointments as I could for Pete. Pete was still living in Pennsylvania in those days and would come down to Atlanta once a month for a weekend. We would go from meeting to meeting, grab some food on the run and plot and plan for what could be. Even though our dreams were big, I'm not sure either of us really knew what would unfold in the next two years.
In the last two years, we have seen our staff grow from Pete, his wife Alice, and myself to 19 staff members. My wife will officially be joining the team later this year (although she's already been working with us), as well as four former interns who enjoyed their time so much they are coming back for more! Speaking of interns, year one we had two interns, last year we had nine! This year we already know of eight that have committed.
Our site was constructed with division of labor in mind. We would be set up in three teams that would work toward the same goals; (1) Church planting, (2) Trips and Events (or as I like to call it the "teams team"), and (3) the Business team. As you might be guessing that too has changed. This year we are excited to add a fourth team, the "City Team", as well as our Kid's/Families Initiative that launched in late 2018.
I had a conversation in the early months with a friend about hosting teams. He confidently told me that we wouldn't be hosting any teams that first year. "Game on," I thought. That first year we had 7 teams come through our site, we had 22 teams last years and are looking at another 20 teams this year.
One of our values is "incarnational ministry", put a little more simply, we go into the apartment complexes and we work there, rather than having a building we function out of. Our first year we started renting an apartment in English Oaks. The owners also rent us the basement of the building our unit is in. We have since expanded to three other complexes where we rent apartments. We have staff or families from partner churches who live in them. One of these complexes is giving us an apartment unit to use for free for homework help!
It’s been an incredible journey and I don’t think we are slowing down any time soon!
This post originally published on brianvalois.com.