A Cleveland Possibility?

Recently, we were approached by a church in Cleveland, Tennessee about the possibility of their congregation becoming a campus of Rock Bridge. The Cleveland Church made this request after much prayer, visits to our weekend services, and conversations within their leadership team. We are humbled and honored by their request and thank God that people see His work among us.

At an Elder retreat last Saturday, our elders agreed that we should begin an “assessment” period to determine whether this “Cleveland possibility” would be a wise, faith-based, Kingdom-seeking opportunity for RBCC in this season. The analogy of the early stages of dating comes to mind. This is where we are. I would like to invite you to pray into this.

To help shape your praying and how we are considering this, I offer the following thoughts:

1) Our values should always guide and inform what we say yes and no to.

As a church, we cannot and are not called to do everything. Our 5 values help us remember why we exist and how we pursue the glory of God in our context. So we are asking the following questions:

  • Is this a Kingdom-opportunity more than just a Rock Bridge one?
  • What barriers exist in Cleveland? Is this an opportunity to build (or strengthen) a bridge that people from all walks of life can use to connect to Christ and His body?
  • Can we become one with this group of believers in Cleveland?
  • What would it take to break the huddle and implement effective and excellent expressions of Rock Bridge ministry, community, and H.O.P.E. initiatives in Cleveland?

2) Short-term rushing can lead to long-term bondage.

The story of Abraham “making” Ishmael with his handmaid versus waiting for Isaac comes to mind (see Genesis 16). We want to wait for and pursue what God has promised and not rush to make something happen. What does this wait look like?

  • First, we resist the urge to set a date or a deadline for ourselves (or God). We’re resolving to wait actively in prayer and discernment and to be indifferent to anything but God’s will. We only want what He wants and when He is pleased to give it.
  • Second, we heed God’s warning in Psalm 106:13 (CSB): “They soon forgot his works and would not wait for His counsel.”
  • Third, we realize that God’s wisdom never comes through our fleshly pioneering, impulses, or scheming, but rather through purity, gentleness, reasonableness, and steadfastness (James 3:13-17).

3) We recognize God steers moving ships.

God guided the first church to mission opportunities when they resolved to wait for Him in worship, prayer, and fasting (Acts 1 and Acts 13). God guided Paul into Macedonia after keeping him out of Asia (Acts 16:6-10). In each case, the commitment of the believers was the same—to obey God, pursue the Great Commission relentlessly, and depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance and power.

We understand from Scripture that the greatest thing we can do is to be the type of church that God can guide … the kind of people that God can take deeper and farther into Himself and His mission in the world … the kind of people that God can interrupt, surprise, and redirect … the kind of people who fear doing anything apart from God.

May our prayer be that of Moses:

 If Your presence does not go,” Moses responded to Him, “don’t make us go up from here. How will it be known that I and Your people have found favor with You unless you go with us? I and Your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.

{Exodus 33:15-16, CSB}

About Matt Evans

Matt Evans hand lifted at Rock Bridge Community Church_res (4)

Matt Evans is the Founding and Lead Pastor of Rock Bridge Community Church in Dalton, Georgia. Matt and his wife, Beth, grew up in the Dalton area and saw the need for a church that would reach the lost, broken, de-churched, and spiritually wounded. 


  1. Rebecca Coffman on Feb 17, 2019 at 3:23 PM

    Pastor Matt and Family of God,
    My Children Chad And JILL Coffman and 3 children live in Cleveland and have been attending Rockbridge in Dalton for several years and would be excited!!! You are a Awesome Teacher of the word!!! ????????For the Direction

  2. Raye Fowler on Feb 17, 2019 at 4:33 PM

    I will pray the Rock Bridge elders and staff through all the facts researched, make a wise decision. I don’t know enough to help make a wise choice. A healthy fear of God, prayer, fasting, plus facts will equal a wise choice to glorify God.

  3. Robin Clinger on Feb 18, 2019 at 8:15 AM

    I will be praying asking for Gods direction for Rock Bridge, and for the Elders to get clarity of Gods will in this decision.

  4. Paul Lowery on Feb 23, 2019 at 5:41 PM

    I believe that you all are proceeding with the appropriate consideration for waiting on the Lord through prayer, connection, counsel, assessment, and more prayer as you reckon with the Word and the Holy Spirit. We shall pray for God’s guidance and His voice. Paul Lowery

  5. Byron Lipscomb on Jul 17, 2019 at 1:51 PM

    I would like to see a doctrinal statement, what the church stands for, what it preaches. Not just feel-good, fluffy stuff, please

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