More & Better Day of Giving: Jonah Steele

Aug 12, 2019

When Janie Mehaffey first asked me to come shoot some photos at a big church planting conference in Orlando, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was a freshman in college, and up to that point using my camera had been a hobby to fill up my Instagram profile. But because I was (and am) young and a little overeager, I said yes.

After I landed, I met up with some other Stadia folks, and I was Ubered over to a hotel room where four or five incredibly talented people were clustered around laptops, talking fast and joking faster. They were prepping for a huge party: plugging in social media content, coordinating decorations and speakers, and downing coffee after coffee to keep up the pace. It was awesome. Matt Murphy said, “You got a laptop? Let me log you in.” We were rolling.

That energy, passion, and drive was intoxicating for a college student looking to develop his own skills and talents to help the church. These were the kind of people that I wanted to work for and work with.

I’ve since found that the same energy, passion, and drive that I saw in the hotel room at Exponential permeates the entire organization. I’ve never met or worked with a group of people who can hold productivity and compassion in such an effective tension. And at some point, as I started working more and more with this group of people, something switched. I stopped talking about Stadia as “they” and started talking about Stadia as “we.” Stadia will take anybody with a skeleton of a skillset and flesh them out with the potential to be among the most impactful kingdom workers in the world—and my journey with Stadia is a living example of that process.

When my friends ask me what I’m doing hunched over my laptop, I can’t help but talk about how we plant churches that intentionally care for children. I get excited to tell them about how we empower women to preach, teach, and lead in a way that I’ve never seen before. I won’t shut up about how successful our plants are compared to the average. I mention that we’re starting a podcast, I tell them to follow us on social media, I ask them to remember us if they ever go into church planting down the road.

I do all these things because I am convinced that Stadia is unquestionably committed to planting more and better churches, all over the world. This bold orientation is clear in our partnerships with organizations like Compassion, NewThing, the AME Church—the list goes on. It’s most apparent, however, in our decision to offer our church planting services at no cost.

So when I see our Exec team take the time to prayerfully consider whether we should change our model this drastically, I see Peter stepping out onto the water, trusting even for a moment that Jesus will help him walk and pull him up if he falls. When I see internal communication about potential new partners and agreements, I see Priscilla, Aquila, and Phoebe networking alongside Paul to accomplish the mission. When I see our team respond with grit and hope in the face of forecasts of church attrition and decline, I see John sharing a revelatory vision of something radically different—something that will fundamentally reorient the world toward God. When I see stories of South American families being transformed by American churches working through Stadia & Compassion, I see the disciples, scattering all over the known world to liberate communities that need to hear the good news. When I see Stadia, I see the body of Christ, sprinting headlong into the race, trying to pass a baton to as many communities as it can.

That’s why I will give to the mission.

This Fall, we’re putting together a partnership opportunity we’re calling “The More & Better Day of Giving.” It’s a big ask—for a big vision. On September 25th, we need people like you to help us step out on the water as we continue to chase after more and better churches. Because we can’t all be hunched over our laptops managing a Twitter feed. We can’t all be coordinating new partnerships and maintaining key relationships at an organizational scale. We can’t all be out assessing and coaching planters as they launch into the most exciting and challenging phase of their lives.

We can’t all be church planters, but we can all plant churches.

We’re asking you to do just that—will you use your resources to plant more and better churches? Partner with Stadia on September 25th to help plant more and better churches.

Jonah Steele

Jonah Steele

Marketing Specialist

Jonah is a Biblical Studies major at Lincoln Christian University, where he works in the Library and as a Teaching Assistant. He spent two summers with a Christian NGO in Haiti, worked as an intern at his home church in Ohio, and also did an internship at an Anglican church in Kansas City. He grew up in a ministry family, and his passion for church planting has grown as he’s helped tell Stadia’s story online.