The Greenhouse Series: The Axis Church in Nashville, TN

[Note: The Greenhouse Series promotes church planting and church renewal in the United States. Each installment spotlights a specific church that has recently been planted or is in the process of revitalization, as a means of encouraging our readership in the victories of the gospel and allowing them the opportunity to support these churches.]

Last year, I spent a weekend with Jeremy Rose and The Axis Church. It was one of the best weekends of my life. I blogged about it here. Jeremy is a friend and a former student of mine at Southeastern. He and his family planted the Axis Church in a run-down neighborhood in downtown Nashville a year and a half ago. God has blessed their church real, relational, life-on-life ministry opportunities with the homeless, the fatherless, the jobless, and ultimately with the Christ-less.

The Axis Church meets in a warehouse in downtown Nashville and is led by pastors Jeremy Rose and Jacob Henley. Although the church is 17 months old, the idea of The Axis Church spans several years. In 2008, Pastor Jeremy and his wife Jill were burdened for a particular people group-Nashville urbanites. Generally speaking, this group is educated, skeptical, spiritual, and wants little to do with God or church. Pastor Jeremy says, “This is our calling. We are building friendships with the church-haters and seeing them become something not unlike the Apostle Paul himself.”

The church never actually “launched.” They simply gathered with ten new faces in October 2009 and have seen God multiply the church week by week. By 2010, Jacob Henley had joined Jeremy as a fellow pastor/elder. The Axis Church now averages over 100 attenders each week, also has three Communities on Mission (C.O.M.) Groups with two more starting soon. The Axis Church is in the seventh month of a preaching series through the book of Ephesians, in which Jeremy preaches 50-60 minutes each Sunday morning. They are just rolling out their membership process, Axis Ministry Partnership.

The Axis Church has seen consistent gospel victories in their corner of Nashville. Homeless persons have come to Christ and stay involved with The Axis. Neighborhood kids have found two pastors willing to help repair a bike or pump air into a basketball, and soon have an opportunity to hear the gospel. Nashville musicians find a church that is not based on an entertainment model.

As Jeremy tells it, “Jacob and I (and family) both live in the ‘hood near the warehouse where our church meets (Germantown/Salemtown), along with several other Axis families. If you are an Axis person living here, your doorbell will ring at least twice a day…neighborhood kids showing up to spend time with you, to ask you for help repairing their bike or scooter, to ask for an air pump for their ball, or oddly enough to give you a sweater they ‘bought for you.'”

Living in ‘the hood’ is a crucial part of their ministry. Jeremy says, “We coach/play basketball in the Community Center every Monday and Wednesday for neighborhood boys and girls. It keeps them out of trouble, it earns us street cred and it keeps our ear to the heart beat of our context.”

The Axis Church website states their vision clearly: “Our ultimate vision for the Axis is to see the gospel transform everything. We want to see the gospel change us as individuals, change us as a church, change our city, our neighborhood and change our world.”

How can we help The Axis Church? (1) We can pray for a gospel revolution in the Nashville ‘hood, and pray for God’s wisdom, grace, and power in the lives of Jeremy, Jacob, and the Axis Church families; and (2) we can provide crucial financial support by contacting Pastor Jeremy Rose at www.theaxischurch.org.

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