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Trying to be obedient to God’s call, Weihrauch started looking at possible church planting locations. Being highly organized by nature, he put together a database of cities throughout the nation that he thought probably needed churches.


But God still didn’t give the green light. So Weihrauch waited. Yet at 2 one morning, God brought him back to church planting and the database he had created.


“It was one of the few times in my life that I can say ‘I heard from the Lord,’ in that audible yet non-audible way,” Weihrauch said.


God’s message was clear—contact Cleveland Church Planting Catalyst Kevin Litchfield about starting a church in the city. There had to be other options, Weihrauch figured. He knew little about Cleveland and knew no one there. What he did know about Cleveland wasn’t good.


“I really only knew two things about Cleveland,” Weihrauch said. “It’s really cold and no one really has anything good to say about it.”


It was hardly a ringing endorsement of the city, but God wouldn’t release him from the call.


Trying to be obedient to the Lord’s leadership, the Weihrauchs visited the city a few months later.


“The city is so much different than people think,” Weihrauch said. “Certainly it has its rust belt elements, but it also has a thriving arts scene. The city is really being taken over by 20-to 35-year-olds.”


One particular area of Cleveland stood out to the young couple—Cleveland Heights. Home to the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland orchestra and Case Western University, the Cleveland suburb was thriving culturally but stagnant spiritually.


Weihrauch went into one visitor’s center and asked to be pointed to the nearest evangelical church.


“What does evangelical mean?” the attendant asked.


“Well, we’re just looking for a church that loves Jesus and teaches the Bible,” Weihrauch responded.


The receptionist looked at Weihrauch and said, “There’s nothing like that here.”


At that moment God broke the hearts of the young couple who could now see the desperate need for the gospel in the area. God also started to implant within them a vision of what could happen if there was a vibrant church in the community.


“The vision that God really began to give birth in my heart was that if there was a strong, gospel-centered church here that placed a primary value on developing young men into future pastors, future leaders, future church planters, that this could be the tipping point for all of Cleveland,” Weihrauch said.


Local church leaders believe Cleveland—like many other major cities in North America—desperately needs a tipping point to reach the city, too.


 


ACTION ITEM
Launch Day: Check out four short videos for a behind-the-scenes look into a new church plant in Cleveland. Visit onmission.com/launch_day.


42 Summer 2012 • onmission.com

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