Keith Doane is the the head pastor for Living Branch Church in Fishers, Indiana. We are honored to partner with him and the church community beginning in 2018.
Gospel In Life
There is a verse in John 1:19 where the priests and scribes ask John the Baptist who he is. He does not answer the question by telling them who he is, he answers it by telling them who he is not. He says, ‘I am not the Christ’. This simple statement has repeatedly been a powerful reminder to me. As a church planter and pastor there is a temptation to place ourselves in roles that we cannot possibly fulfill. At times, I sense the pressure and tension of trying to fix the brokenness in the lives of others or in our community, which are tasks that are beyond me. I sense the pressure to grow our church in ways that may fulfill the expectations of others, but may not be the will of God.
‘I am not the Christ’ reminds me that I must first go before God as his child and not as a church planter. It reminds my that my calling is to proclaim and show others who Jesus is. It reminds me that God’s will for the lives of other people will not often match my will for their lives. This simple statement reminds me that my power, knowledge, love, and goodness is so limited and finite, but that Christ is infinite.
Gospel In Family
One of the great joys of church planting has been being able to witness how the whole family has been involved in our efforts. In the early days, our children recruited (without my knowledge) one of their teachers to be a part of our Core Group. They have invited their friends to church and have shown an awareness of what our church is about. It brings me great pleasure to see how people in the community and in the church respond to my wife. They would all rather talk to and spend time with her than me, and I know that one of the best things I can do as a church planter is to simply get out of the way.
On the other hand, church planting can be consuming and can overshadow our life as a family. These past few years have reminded us that we need to be more purposeful to create and protect our boundaries. Our vacations in the summer have become longer because it takes all of us of more time to ‘unplug’, we simply need extended time away from thinking about and being around the church. My wife and I talk about and try to cultivate relationships outside the church that allow us to simply be ourselves.
I have been struck over and over again by the reality that Living Branch is not my church. While I have the high calling of being a church planter, it is a privilege to be a part of what God is doing in our community. I remind myself that my dream and vision is that this church will thrive long after I am gone and forgotten.
This has given me valuable perspective in the midst of the inevitable ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of church planting. When those that I long to see join our church don’t show up or walk away, I realize my prayer is for their heart and soul before the Lord and not simply that they would be a part of what we are doing. In the midst of blessings and victories I am reminded that God receives all of the glory and praise.
The mission of Living Branch Church is to glorify God and enjoy him forever as we make disciples of all nations.
Our church is located in a northern suburb of Indianapolis. Our county is one of the fastest growing counties in the country. The population of Noblesville has tripled in the last 25 years and is expected to triple in the next 25 years. We are a young and unchurched community. Despite all of the growth in Noblesville, there has been few churches planted. The public schools are not open to hosting church plants and there is little other public meeting space, which has led most church planting movements to skip over our community.
By God’s grace we hope to see Living Branch established as a healthy Gospel-preaching church in Noblesville, but we also pray that God would use us to raise up the next generation to lead Gospel movements in ours and the surrounding communities.
We have a vision that God would use our church to reach the younger generations and to partner with other ministries that have a similar mission. We realize that we are living in a post-Christian context. The community of Noblesville places and emphasis on traditional Midwest values and wants to pass these ideals on to our children. These values, however, have no foundation in God’s Word and are devoid of meaning and power apart from Christ.
Our vision is to create a church that engages in the community and does not seek to retreat from it. We make no assumptions that our neighbors and friends have an understanding of the Gospel simply by virtue of where they live. We want to be a part of the larger building of God’s kingdom and not simply be engaged in the building of our church or denomination. Our vision is in the next 5, 10, or 25 years is that the young people coming out of our church would be leaders on their college campuses, in our community, or wherever God may send them.
If you would like to reach out to Keith, you can visit the church's website at www.livingbranch.net.