“Church planting never looks like what you think it is going to look like.” This is what Mike Wiggin shared during the Stadia Catalyst Gathering in Las Vegas in January. Mike is the lead pastor of City Life Church, a church that gathers in an old comedy club and bar just outside of Indianapolis in Greenwood, Indiana. He and his wife Amanda have been married for 21 years and have three sons; they’ll proudly share that two are future nurses and all three are wrestlers. Mike was a high school wrestling coach himself before planting City Life Church six years ago.
Mike did not expect to be leading a church so full of younger generations … Millennials and Generation Z. Many of the church planters at the Catalyst Gathering laughed about their church plants feeling more like a youth group at times because these younger generations just keep coming. In media, Millennials and Generation Z are shown as not wanting anything to do with the church, but as Mike has seen at City Life, “It’s just not true.” City Life Church has experienced a growing population of Millennials and Generation Z who not only want to go to church, they want to be the church.
Mike explained that City Life’s goal is to “see cities renewed by Jesus,” and “to train people to live unashamed lives in the city for the city, while planting church-planting churches.” Millennials and Generation Z are committed to being a part of this multiplying, Kingdom-minded mission. Mike shares that “this new generation has so much more influence than we could have.” Millennials and especially this new, upcoming Generation Z are a powerful force fighting for the Kingdom.
As a former high school wrestling coach, Mike is able to engage with the younger generation and can see first-hand their desire for the Gospel. A successful high school wrestler was living far from God, but, through Mike’s guidance and City Life’s community, did a complete 180 and began following Christ. Mike meets regularly with an atheist from his community who created their movie theater advertisement for free saying, “I like what you’re doing.” A college-aged girl saw the ad, came to City Life, and told Mike that this was what she has been looking for and got involved.
“Every salvation is a radical salvation,” Mike says, and this younger generation is showing City Life how they are ready to see some heart change in their city. Mike has been asked how he’s getting young people to make a heart change, and he said, “I just told them about Jesus.” As simple as that. Young people want to know Jesus.
Mike is a catalytic leader, and his dream for his city demonstrates his desire for catalytic change in Indianapolis. At the Catalyst Gathering, each leader was challenged to dream big. Mike’s dream for City Life Church is “to be the church that trains the Millennials and Generation Z to lead the charge for an awakening of the city of Indy that will affect the globe through their passion for Jesus.” He is dreaming that these young people will become planters who are “planting churches among their peers.”
This dream is one of catalytic change; it will multiply the Kingdom in the city of Indianapolis. Are you the next catalytic leader that will dream big about empowering the next generation to change your region?
Molly Williams, Planter Development Intern
Molly graduated from UNC Wilmington in December with a degree in English Literary Studies with Honors. She is attending North Carolina State this summer to get a Masters of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in secondary English. Molly grew up in a Stadia church plant and has been heavily involved in campus ministry at UNC Wilmington. She is currently a high school youth volunteer at her home church and is the daughter of Stadia church planters Donnie & Cinda Williams.
Are you a catalytic leader who is ready to start a great church? Stadia is ready to help!