Confessions of a Failed Church Planter: De/Reconstruction and Finding My Tribe

Many of you have followed my “Confessions” series that I wrote after the Pursuit closed as I openly struggled to make sense of things. It felt like a real death to me of a dream, a vision, and a calling.

The period after that was dark. I questioned my ability to hear and understand God’s voice. I questioned everything and to be honest, I became very cynical of the Church as a business.

Was a big marketing plan, huge budget, fancy coffee, laser light show, and killer facility the only way to see a church grow?

If that was true (and in my cynical view it seemed to be so) then I wanted nothing to do with church.

(Mind you, we need all kinds of churches, that style just doesn’t fit how I’m wired).

I’m a believer that “If you make disciples you’ll always get a church but if you plant a church you won’t always make disciples.” and from what I read in Scriptures, disciple making is kind of a big deal.

That was central to the our little church.

But that model failed.

After we closed our church we attended Life Bridge Church to which I’m grateful for because it was a safe space for me to deconstruct a lot of ideas. Tearing apart my faith to see what was at the core.

But simply deconstructing my faith is meaningless if it isn’t reconstructed.

That’s where Woodside Detroit comes in.

Without question I would crush my 500 word blog limit if I told you all that has happened in just a few months there in the reconstruction process so let me try to summarize:

Woodside Detroit is a church without borders.

When our location for a kids’ camp fell through literally as we were on the doorsteps there was no panic. We simply packed up and rolled into the local community that we had a relationship with in Detroit and set up and got to work making relationships and sharing Jesus.

A team just got back from a mission trip to Uganda.

We have “pop up shops” for the homeless to get clothing.

We have a ministry that provides essentials to the homeless.

The people of Detroit seem to know and love our church.

It is the most beautifully, ethnically, diverse church.

Both the women and men meet separately on the regular for Bible study.

We have a strong party theology too. After this weekend of our kids’ camp we had an all-family party today that included around 30 of us doing the Thriller dance together.

I bet your church didn’t do that.


Woodside Detroit has helped me reconstruct my faith because literally everything I wanted the Pursuit to be is here at Woodside.

That vision that God showed me for a church is alive – it’s just in Detroit, not Riverview.

For the first time in a long time I’ve found “home”. I’m with my tribe and I am crazy about serving my Creator again in any way possible.


3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Failed Church Planter: De/Reconstruction and Finding My Tribe

  1. Dean Robinson says:

    Very cool Adam! I’m still wondering what it is that I’m supposed to do and who with. I thought it was through music but, as you know, that didn’t work out at all for me. Maybe I’ll come and visit sometime. Dean

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