California church points to Living Hope
Article from California Democrat dated Feb. 20
By John L. Inman, III
CALIFORNIA – When David Percival graduated from Hannibal-La Grange in May of 2005 he needed a plan. Percival figured most people had a plan and the only thing he knew was he needed to be in California.
Percival grew up in California and graduated from California High School in 1997. He felt he needed to come home. So he moved back to California and prayed.
“I know this is where I was supposed to be in the ministry,” he said. “I never felt led to be anywhere else but here. So I was working and I kept getting frustrated because I was not accomplishing anything. Eventually, I sent my resume to different churches and none came to fruition or felt right. Later, someone talked to me about starting a church. But I didn’t think it was a very good idea because it just did not seem feasible. It seemed too far out and rebellious. I didn’t know why we would need another church.”
Percival was initially asked to start a church in St. Martins, but his heart remained fixed on California. Eventually that idea was pitched and Percival applied for a youth pastor position in Kansas City.
“I talked to them for about four months on and off,” Percival said. “After that time I was getting ready to go for an interview and I prayed and asked God for advice. If it is your will for me to stay in California, you have to shut this door because I am going to walk right through it. So a week before a vote for me was to be taken, I got a phone call from the pastor and he told me they decided that they wanted someone who was married. I am single and so that door was closed.”
After this latest disappointment, Percival received advice from Pastor Rusty Thomas, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Sedalia.
“Thomas asked me why didn’t I just plant a church in California?” Percival said. “He told me if this is where my heart is and this is what God has called me to do, then his church would sponsor us. So I started to pray and I asked God to arrange things in such a way that I would know it was His will. It was amazing to see everything fall into place. We found someone to lead the music and a place to meet that would be affordable. We wanted to be a place where people that don’t go to church would go.”
In August, 2006, Living Hope Baptist Church was started and, for Percival, the first year was a blur.
“After the first year, we started to develop a core group of people who were committed and did not just show up,” Percival said. “So now we have a pretty good core group. But then we started to develop the structure of the ministry. Now we have small groups going into homes and this summer we will be able to really kick out and be more involved in the community. This is the vision of the church, to be involved in mission projects. We are now getting to the point where we have the leadership and we have the resources to really do that. Everything has been coming together in the last six months.”
Some of the interesting differences of Living Hope are that they meet above Wood Place Public Library and they baptize new believers in Bears Fort Creek. For Living Hope, this is all a part of its vision.
“The main vision has nothing to do with a building,” says Percival. “My heart is to see this church become a community. I want this to be a place where people are genuinely connected together and love the Lord and have been changed by Him. I want to see them go back into their daily routines changed and living that out so that other people will see there is something different in their life. And this will lead to the church seeing God’s kingdom grow.”
The church has a presence online at myspace.com/livinghopebaptistchurch. Its members are encouraged to “live life in the vine,” meaning to abide in Christ.