About a year ago, The Alabama Baptist shared the story of Darryl Brunson, one of several Alabama Baptists who relocated their families to Montana to plant churches. Expedition Church in Livingston started in May 2018, and was growing.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and plans screeched to a halt. Volunteer teams scheduled to serve in the community had to cancel, so Brunson came up with a new idea — he posted on social media asking friends and family to help raise $50,000 for community needs for his 50th birthday. He called the effort #50for50, and it raised $73,000.
That gave Expedition Church a big leg-up in showing Livingston what the love of Jesus looks like. Over the past year, they’ve used that money to pour into a variety of community needs.
In recent months they’ve welcomed back volunteer teams to continue planting seeds in the ground they’ve been tilling through community projects.
Connections and growth
“It’s been a great year as far as making connections and spiritual growth,” Brunson said.
In 2021, Expedition Church hosted 366 volunteers serving with 30 teams from 42 churches, roughly half from Alabama.
Brunson noted that with “our church family and teams, we’re somewhere north of 8,000 serving-hours in our community and probably 1,500 to 1,600 spiritual conversations.”
The church is growing, and the reach is broadening. Brunson has identified 10 areas within a two-hour drive that need a healthy church, so he and others have started engaging in community outreach to prepare the way. He’s training up leaders to serve, and one of them, Justin Cottingham and his wife Alison from First Baptist Church Fairhope, already are serving in an area called Big Hole Valley.
With Expedition Church as a church planting residency through the North American Mission Board, by next year Brunson could have 11 leaders and potential leaders serving alongside.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “This is our heartbeat. This is who we want to be.”
To learn more about Expedition Church visit expeditionmt.org.