Dave started the church in 2011 with no people, no resources, no building, nothing.
Ed: Dave, you came here and started Church of the Beloved in Chicago, but give me a little backstory. How did you come to start this church?
Dave: I was getting some offers from churches that were established with senior leaders who are highly respected and seasoned. I was really excited about the possibility of getting mentored by a few of them, so I went to a little chapel in the Billy Graham Center Museum at Wheaton College to fast, pray, and seek the Lord.
During that time, I felt the Lord saying, “Open up Exodus 33.” It’s the chapter right after Israel had worshiped the golden calf. God was angry with them and said, “You guys can go to the Promised Land, but I won’t go with you,” and Moses basically pleads with God that if His presence doesn’t go with them, what will separate them from all the other people on the earth?
I got the impression from the Lord that He wanted me to plant a church in Chicago and that His presence would go with me. I decided to say yes to the Lord and started the church on June 21, 2011, with no people, no resources, no denomination, no building, nothing. I knew God wanted me to plant in Chicago somewhere, so I drove around the city. Eventually, through God’s grace, I happened upon a guy who was a Wheaton grad who had a space at his church that was not used on Saturday afternoon. He said he would let us use it for free, and that’s how we started the church.
Ed: Why did you call it Church of the Beloved?
Dave: A couple of reasons. First, the name actually comes from the vision, which is that we want people to come to know they’re beloved of God because of Christ, so we are very big on gospel identity. At that time, we were planted in the …