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Archive for the ‘Church Planting’ Category

varsity update

Posted by slykwyk on June 25, 2010

Hmmmm, I think I need to throw out a little Varsity Church update…so here we go…once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow…oh, sorry, wrong update.  Here’s the real update…

Our focus over the last couple of months has been to find people to be on our launch team, to raise more funding, and to figure out how we can best serve the community at large.  Our BIG win has been in finding ways to serve the community.

Rooftop Music and Movie Series

This is a summer event put on for the community.  On Thursday nights downtown, they close the top of one of the parking decks and have local musicians (Southern Culture on the Skids, The Old Ceremony, Lost in the Trees) to come out and do concerts.  On the movie nights they show everything from kids movies to documentaries.  Our role is to serve where needed.  Small, but a good way to connect.


Our biggest opportunity has come in the way of an arts festival Chapel Hill puts on every fall where 10-15,000 people attend.  I was asked to oversee the Kid’s Activities for the event.  Sure!  Looking forward to see what we can make happen.  It gives us a chance to connect in the community, serve the community and to network.  If you are around town this fall, the event is on October 3rd from 1-6 pm.

Community Impact

We are still trying to figure this one out.  I have a couple of opportunities that look promising but nothing that has taken shape yet in terms of serving the needs of under resourced families.  Stay tuned…


And our logo is done (see the pic)!  Things are happening – some quickly and some slowly – but they are happening!  I’ll keep ya posted…


Posted in Church Planting, Community Impact | 1 Comment »


Posted by slykwyk on December 31, 2009

Yesterday, Kara and I headed down to Chapel Hill to check out some housing for our upcoming move.  We looked at 3 places and think we have found a place to live (I am STILL looking although Kara is ready to jump).  As one lady put it, “They aren’t making any new land in Chapel Hill.”  Rentals are a wee bit expensive (yes, even more so than NOVA).

One of the realtors we met yesterday asked us thus the proverbial question, “Why are you moving here?”  My answer, “To start a new church.”  You can see the wheels spinning in people’s heads and can almost hear the questions popping up – “Why do we need more churches here?  Aren’t there plenty of churches?  Where are you putting a building?  Do you know that is the weirdest thing I have ever heard?”  Those kind of questions.

Or, as we got, a recommendation of where to move to, “Man, you should go to Burlington or Graham (all in NC).  Those people are really religious.”

Anyway, during this particular conversation, the guy who I could tell thought we were strange also told us, “You know, not a lot of people go to church here.”  It was another one of those moments where Kara and I both said later on, “We know we are going to the right place to plant a church.”

Thanks for the affirmation on our move Mike, and thanks for the continued leading God.

Posted in Church Planting, Community Impact, Family | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »


Posted by slykwyk on December 12, 2009

I need to confess something (no, I do not have a plethora of girlfriends) – I am a control freak!  I love to be in control!  I want to be the person leading others, showing people what and how to do something, having the vision of how a project/idea should function.  I don’t think it is necessarily bad, but it can get in the way.

I confess this because moving forward on this church plant I find myself wanting to control it all – the ideas, the fund raising, the time-line.  Nothing seems to be moving as fast as I need it to.

But I am learning a valuable lesson…

God is in control.

When I begin to slow my mind down, set aside my to-do list, and allow God to work, everything goes more smoothly.  I am learning how to trust God more in this process, focus on Christ and let the Holy Spirit speak through the silence I try to find each day.

Letting go ain’t easy but now I can breathe!  And it feels good!

Posted in Church Planting, Leadership | 1 Comment »


Posted by slykwyk on December 10, 2009

I have had doubts about this move to Chapel Hill.

Did we make the right decision?  Did we choose a good location?  Should we be moving south or stay up in the northeast?  Can a Deacon really exist at Tarheel ground zero?

One of the things Kara and I have been doing over the last year has been praying for God to open and close doors when it came to planting a church.  Funny how God likes to work.  Doors we thought were open were just ajar.  Doors we WANTED to be open were shut tight.  But when it came to Chapel Hill, the doors kept opening wider and continue to do so.

How?  Financial support from churches and organizations we had no idea would or could support us.  Local churches in the Triangle area who have offered people, bands, resources to make this church breathe for the first time.  Prayers from all over.  And each day the doors seem to open up even more.

Thanks for the open doors God!  It makes us feel even more honored and responsible for what is about to happen…

Posted in Church Planting, Family | Leave a Comment »

why chapel hill – reason #2

Posted by slykwyk on November 30, 2009

Yes, there is a large school located in Chapel Hill.  Yes, they have a really good basketball team (they don’t tend to lose to William & Mary), the baseball team is always nationally ranked, the girl’s soccer team has won a national championship or 11, the girl’s basketball team can be found constantly in the top 20 and the school has other very good sports teams (not sure how to count their football team?).

Yes, the public school system is REALLY good.

Yes, the area offers a lot in the way of education, the medical centers are top notch, and there is a lot to do for fun!

But here is reason #2 for us…


This is the percentage of people in Chapel Hill who live below the poverty line.  Wow!  This means there are not only spiritual needs there but also physical needs.  One of the first things we will do when we ‘land’ in Chapel Hill is to do a professional Community Assessment to find out what the community needs in terms of making a dent in this issue. We hope we can come in and play a part in bringing this number down.

Looking forward to how God moves as we work to impact Chapel Hill!

Posted in Church Planting, Community Impact, Leadership | Leave a Comment »

why chapel hill, nc?

Posted by slykwyk on November 26, 2009

We get asked why go to Chapel Hill?  Doesn’t the south have ENOUGH churches.  Well, yes and no.  Depends on where you are.

The truth is there is one number we have found in our research that makes moving to Chapel Hill a great place to start a church…


That is the percentage of people who – on any given Sunday – are attending a local evangelical church.  Uh, that means 92 out of every 100 people are hanging out instead of getting connected back to God.  And we are talking an area of around 100,000 people!  We like those numbers because there is NO better place to start a church than a place where God isn’t very important.


That’s not a lot of people and reason #1 for heading down to Chapel Hill.  Pray that we can change that number!

Posted in Church Planting | Leave a Comment »

why plant a new church?

Posted by slykwyk on November 22, 2009

Drive down the road in many areas of the country and you sees churches on every corner.  So the question arises, do we really need another church?

Yep, we do.

Check out these numbers…

  • The average attendance of churches in America is 75.
  • In 1900, there were 28 churches for every 10,000 Americans, in 2004, there were only 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans.
  • The percentage of people who go to church has declined from 20.4% to 17.5% over the last 16 years.

The truth is we need MANY new churches to get started!  Not just one in Chapel Hill, but all over the world.

Why plant a new church?  To make a difference in the world, one Chapel Hill at a time.

More to come…

Posted in Church Planting | Leave a Comment »

BIG news!

Posted by slykwyk on November 18, 2009

It is official, the Simpkins’ family is heading to Chapel Hill, NC to plant a brand new church!

We are looking to leave Northern Virginia February 1, 2010, and launch this new church in October 2010.  Needless to say, we are VERY excited about the move and the new church.  And at the same time VERY sad to leave a place we love, that has taught us so much, and that has given us some great friendships!  Bittersweet.

Over the next few days and weeks, we will leak out some of the reasons why we are planting a church, why Chapel Hill, and how you can help us out.

But for today, just wanted to share the BIG NEWS!

Posted in Church Planting, Family, Leadership | 1 Comment »


Posted by slykwyk on October 2, 2009

Ran across this article online.  It talks about the state of the church in America today.  Very eye-opening and a bit disheartening. However…

It’s why I love being a part of a church-planting church like New Life!  Some people see the doom and gloom of religious organizations.  I think we see opportunities! It is said some of the best ideas and opportunities have come during the worst economic times in our country’s history.  Could this be true of churches?

Sometimes we forget that life is about birth, life, then death.  Everything dies.  Maybe we hold on too long to what we once had, or felt, or experienced, or hoped for.  Maybe our best bet is to let things die off and to let new births happen.

Maybe it is a good thing that churches are dying.  Maybe it allows for church plants to come in and revitalize a town, a people.  Statistics show the churches today making the biggest difference in communities are church plants.  Are they perfect?  No.  Do they fail?  Yep.  Do they have all the answers?  No way.  But more often than not, they bring enthusiasm, hope, community impact, excitement and life to an area.

So I see opportunities that abound after reading this article not doom and gloom.  And maybe it’s time to close a few church doors and open some new ones and see if that changes our religious landscape.

So where to next?

Posted in Church Planting, Community Impact, New Life | Leave a Comment »