For The One
For The One.
That’s a saying and a hashtag we have at One City Church. #fortheone. When we say this we mean we exist for the one: the One True God, Jesus – and the one that NEEDS the One True God.
My husband and I, Jon, have been in ministry for over 15 years now. We were a part of a new church plant in Denver at that time, and saw the beauty of beginnings. It was those initial years that were some of my favorites: I knew everyone in our church – they knew me. I remember one Sunday praying for a friend who had unexpectedly lost her mom. The whole church gathered around her and prayed. Her mom had played volleyball with us in our summer sand leagues. I can still remember her wise cracks and spirited personality as we all played half-asked volleyball in the half-set sun. We prayed, and we cried. Because her mom was like my mom. Our mom really. We were together – a body, a FAMILY. In the summer we all played frisbee outside of church. In the winter we had crazy sweater Christmas parties, ate too much food and our pastors made up rap songs that were a genre of hilarity few know.
I remembered our very first baptisms – the faces and the stories. I can still recall a Broncos cheerleader, once Buddhist, receiving Jesus in our midst. In our tiny, 150-person auditorium in a broken-down old theme park, where our toilets broke often and the pipes froze every winter: it was HERE that I saw many people who didn’t know or were skeptical of God find him. And, remarkably find belonging as well.
The richness of the beginning is not lost on me.
Over the years, the church became one of the fastest growing churches in America. By year 9 we were one of the largest in Colorado. Articles were written about us. Our worship band got signed by a label & made chart topping music. We began to rub elbows with some of the most well-known preachers in America. The young adults ministry I ran became one of the largest in the country. We hosted conferences, our social platforms grew. We bought cool shoes.
For me though, something longed for the early days. For building into people’s lives, for the stories and the memories, the family. I craved knowing people’s walk with Jesus. I craved being known. I wanted to have a long conversation over a beer about God, about heart-issues, about our parenting. And I wanted others to have that too.
Since planting One City Church in November of last year, my heart & life has been filled with these things. We have a team that is both dynamic, talented and close. We spend Mondays on Zoom calls, and all of Sunday loading in, executing service, and tearing down. Our team and my husband and I know our church – we know our bass player – who received Jesus at our Christmas service. We know our sound engineer, who isn’t a believer but is becoming our friend. We know people’s walks with God. We know who has been burned by church, and now just needs a space to breathe and heal. We know those struggling to have a baby, we’ve seen God heal a womb through prayer.
These are the golden years; I know it all too well. Those few, precious years that you get to build a foundation – not of sound-bite preaching, or social media and leadership-podcast fandom: but of FAMILY, of Christ, of jokes into the evening, of joint-pursuit of the King.
It’s only here that you get to set a pace and a table for the one, for ANYONE, to know THE ONE true God. It’s deeply authentic. It’s profoundly real.
What is amazing about the beginnings of a church, when done right – is that you actually live out the Greatest Commandments in the most glorious of ways. You love God. And you love those around you as much as you love yourself.
You truly can be FOR THE ONE.
And maybe, someday you grow. And maybe people write articles. Maybe someday your band gets signed. But not today. Today, you eat tacos together, and watch Tom Brady win another super bowl together. You pray for your jobs together. You pursue Jesus together.
Today you just get to be for the one. And really, that’s all you ever wanted.
Jessie Davis is a preacher, lover of God’s Church and builder of God’s people. For the last decade she has worked with the next generation, building ministries, raising leaders, preaching encouragement and power over the next movement of the Church. In 2010 she launched a young adult ministry with a few friends in Denver, CO that today has served thousands of young adults in the Denver Metro area and beyond. In 2020, her and her husband launched One City Church – a church that brings the HOPE and PURPOSE of Jesus to everyone. Her and her husband Jon love games with their three young kids, traveling, and laughing over tacos.