Meet South Durham Church in Durham, NC
Your name: Adam Darnell Your spouse's name: Heather Darnell
Name of all members on your church planting team: Elders: Christian Jernigan and Edwin Mitchell. Staff: Josh McDonald and April Young.
Name of your church plant: South Durham Church
Location of church plant: Durham, NC
Date church was planted: April 8, 2012
Name of partnering church(es): First Baptist Church, Durham, NC is our sending church. We also partner with Grace Community Church, Nashville, TN; Fellowship Raleigh Church, Raleigh, NC
What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city? Durham needs the good news that Jesus is Lord. There is great opportunity for the gospel in Durham. We’re in one of the fastest growing regions of the country. Durham is home to Duke University and North Carolina Central University. Our part of the city, south Durham, is minutes from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
There is great need for the gospel in Durham. Durham’s history as “Black Wall Street” means that there is no majority culture in our city. Only the gospel can reconcile people from all ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.
Finally, Durham is a providential fit for my personal gifts as a pastor. My professional background has been in technology entrepreneurship, and Durham is an award-winning regional hub for that industry.
What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church plant so far? God has changed lives. The evangelistic strategy we’ve used more than any other is to simply offer to read through the Gospel of Mark or another book of the Bible with non-believers and answer any questions they have. We’ve seen God save people through something as simple and unsophisticated as that, as they encounter Jesus for the first time with friends who can answer their questions.
God has freed people from addictions. He’s held marriages together when they might otherwise have fallen apart. He’s taught us to wait on Him and be satisfied in Him when our hopes were pegged on faster growth. God has humbled us, united us, and taught us to worship Him all the more.
I believe He’s begun to do the work of racial reconciliation we’re longing to see here, too. Earlier this year we had the joy of baptizing our first North Carolina Central student out of a Bible study we’ve held on campus. NCCU is a Historically Black College and University.
What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church plant in the future? We are praying and working toward the end that God would save many more people from all walks of life through our work. Our mission is simply to make disciples of Jesus Christ to the glory of God. We hope the Lord would allow us to present as many people as possible mature in Christ before God through our toil with His energy. We want to be a reconciled people whom God uses to reconcile others to Himself locally in Durham, nationally through church planting, and globally through international missions.
What advice do you have for future church planters? The best preparation would be to find a like-minded pastor who has planted a church and ask him to mentor you. Don’t let your plans be more important than God’s plans. Try hard not to compare yourself to other church planters, but instead to be content with what God has assigned to you. He has His reasons. Listen to Him and let Him lead you. In America especially, I think we have a success idol. Remember that the last will be first. Love people. Make sure people know your church exists, and then let God grow it. And finally, you are God’s adopted child by grace through faith; you are not your church plant.
What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog? Thank you for your support of church plants and planters across North America. Church planting is incredibly difficult, risky, and can seem very lonely, but God uses your partnership in prayer and financial support as a constant reminder to us planters that He is with us and that the gates of Hell itself shall not overcome His church.