Brandon Branigan, a familiar face at CCC, has been a church member here since 2013. Brandon has led Arise Young Adult Ministries since 2017 and is now moving in a new direction—church planting. Brandon lovingly shares his newfound calling, vision and mission with us.
1. Introduce yourself and your family.
My name is Brandon Branigan, and I have been a member at CCC since early 2013 and on staff as the Young Adult Ministries Director (and now church planting resident) since March 2017. I was born and partially raised in Würzburg Germany and moved to Columbus, Georgia (Buena Vista Road area) in 2007 at the age of 17. I met my beautiful bride Cassandra (Sandy) Branigan in college at CSU, and over the course of the last 7 years, we spent some brief time in the Army, have been blessed with our three children (Immanuel, 6; Isabel, 5 and Hezekiah, 2 and one on the way!) and have been involved in life-giving ministry. God has blessed me richly with this amazing family!
2. Where did the vision of church-planting originate?
Almost three years ago, the theme for the year at CCC was Awaken, learning to truly awaken to the extraordinary life to which we are called. It was during this season that I started to sense God calling me to trust Him on a deeper level and walk in step with the Holy Spirit for wherever He might lead us. It was during one of my weekly discipleship meetings with two other brothers in Christ when I felt God clearly ask me this question: “Would you let me take you and your family to a dangerous place?” I had no clear idea what this meant, but in the moment, I could not respond with “yes.” I did not say “no,” but I wrestled with the fact that I could not say “yes.”
At the same time, I was beginning to have a burning passion out of my studies in seminary about expanding the kingdom of God through the local church and reaching the unchurched. While I was processing all of this, my wife had her own encounter with a word from God. During a prayer week at church, she felt that God said to her: “3 years.” She started to process and pray about what it meant. She felt strongly that we would be leaving CCC to do something else within three years. In response to all of this, we decided to do the only thing we knew, which was to pray and seek the input of our leaders on this matter.
While praying, I had a dream one night in which I first prepared to lead our young adults as I usually did, the only issue with this was…. what I brought no longer fit. This was followed with a dream in which I was in a church with a group of people from various life backgrounds, and God was moving! After these events, I started finding myself in conversations about how someone should move to the East and / or Southside of Columbus to make an impact for Jesus. It was almost as if I couldn’t let this go. One day, a brother of mine who once lived in that area of town said, “Why not you and your family?” As he continued to talk, it seemed clear to me that God was calling us to go. It was then and there that I remembered God’s question: “Would you let me take you and your family to a dangerous place?”
Following these events, Sandy and I went through another season of prayer and consulting with our leaders. One day I prayed and said, “God, if this is truly of you, would you confirm the call?” Soon thereafter, 3 staff members (that I had not talked to about any of this) asked me if I had ever thought about planting a church… note taken. Since then, God has confirmed this call, given us an excitement for it, and shown me that the question wasn’t, “Would you let me take you to a dangerous place?” But rather, “Would you let me take you to trusting me fully and walking in what I have for you?”
3. Where will the church be located?
The church will be located on the East/South side of Columbus. My wife and I just purchased a home in the area, and our team will meet there in the early stages. We realize that the church consists of God’s people, and His people who are called to be part of this will start meeting in our home. I think there’s some history with that when it comes to CCC as well...
4. What is the mission and vision of Hope Springs?
God has made it clear that the mission of Hope Springs Community Church is to transform people’s lives with the hope of Jesus. People may face a plethora of challenges, hang-ups, and issues in life, but there is a name, hope and power that is Jesus and he will change things in the present and the future for people.
Our vision is to become the epicenter of hope within the community. We believe that God is calling us to not just be a church in the community, but a church of the community. To be part of where He has placed us.
5. How can others get involved?
We are beyond excited to witness the church God is growing with Hope Springs. We hope that you will consider being part of this journey. You may be called to physically be part of this church as a member (we would love to have you!) or God may call you to remain at CCC but give financially towards the church plant. God may also all you to become a prayer partner with us. All of these are equally important and I want to invite you to our interest meeting Sunday, September 29th, 1:00 p.m. in the Midtown Room at Christ Community Church. We will have childcare and light refreshments for this.
Hope Springs Community Church will launch in 2020. More details to come!
As Muscogee County headed back to school last week, Christ Community Church joined hand-in-hand with students, teachers, parents and our church body to throw a back to school celebration! With the idea that we are a village of support for our students, volunteers from Christ Community came together with one purpose in mind: to serve and love students, teachers and parents deeply!
Volunteers led the charge to be the hands of feet of Jesus and served in every capacity imaginable, and more volunteers than ever before attended and served diligently (even in the oppressive heat!) to love on those in our neighborhood.
Check out the images below to see the picture of community that was in our backyard last night!
Interested in volunteered for future events at CCC? Checkout our VOMO page here: https://app.vomo.org/org/christ-community-church
Learning to Let Go
Lauren Arthur, a college junior at Columbus State University, has found a deeper calling on her life through the Christ Community Church Summer Internship Program. After serving in her hometown church as the Service Producer, Lauren was saddened when her time there came to an end and her college career was on the horizon. “I remember standing in the green room at my old church on a Wednesday night. It was my last Wednesday night as Service Producer, and I was in tears,” says Lauren. “As I filled out the application for the CCC Summer Internship, those memories crept back into my mind. I knew God had placed this desire and passion for His kingdom in my heart, and it looked like diving headfirst into ministry.” Fear had always held Lauren back from fully embracing the challenge of ministry to which she felt she was called. “I had thoughts like ‘oh, I’m not good enough to do ministry,’ or ‘God could never use me like he uses them.’ These inner thoughts led me to not be true to who God wanted me to be.”
Through her time at the internship, Lauren realized that this summer experience would soon change her life and lead her to admit something to herself that terrified her: she wanted to pursue full-time ministry. “That one sentence a few months ago would lead to anxiety and fear,” says Lauren. “But now, those inner throughs have changed from fear to ‘God, use me, send me’ or ‘God, I trust in your will for my life.’ That anxiety and fear has turned into joy and excitement!”
Lauren credits the summer internship for allowing her to see and embrace the plan that God has for her life. She says one of the most impactful moments came at the beginning of her internship on a beach retreat with the other interns. “We had sessions during the trip where we learned more about ourselves and others, utilizing tools such as Myers-Briggs, Strength-Finders, learning conflict resolution styles, etc. During my quiet time after one of our sessions, God spoke to me by giving me this thought: ‘My need for control doesn’t allow me to truly allow God to come in and use me. I try to use God, I want His will in My plan. Realizing I cannot do that, I need to be silent, calm and allow God to be the planner and provider.’” Lauren says that this statement is one that she keeps coming back to her throughout her time in the program. “This is ministry. This is Gods Kingdom,” she says. “How dare I try to be the focus, be the one who decides what is good and not good. I am the servant, the vessel for God to use. My mindset should be ‘God, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this.’ I truly believe this realization has allowed me to not be afraid of ministry because I am not the focus.”
Lauren said that another moment on the beach trip taught her that God is never far and that she should not fear the path ahead. “Each intern was tasked to present a devotion to the others, and being completely honest, I was terrified. Again, I was focusing on myself, and as we left the church, I prayed over my notes for the devotion and said, ‘God this is yours, please use me, please humble me.’” When the time came, Lauren says that she was the first one to go. “I had not looked at it since I had prayed that prayer earlier that day. I opened up my Bible and began to allow God to lead the way. I don’t know if I can put into words the emotion I felt as I read. My devotion was over Psalm 20 and my theme was ‘we are NOT alone.’” Lauren says that through the battle of ministry, she knows that she is not alone and will have The Lord’s deliverance. She quotes Psalm 20:5: “Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May the LORD fulfill all your requests.” She now knows that God has given her the calling and strength to stand firm. “I know who I am, I know who God has called me to be, and I know that He has lead me to ministry,” she boldly proclaims.
Through the internship program, Lauren says that she can now look confidently upon her future instead of fearfully. As she finishes up her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Columbus State University, Lauren is finding herself seeking God’s will and the next steps for her life. “Through this internship in finding and accepting who God has called me to be, I have prayed and decided to go to seminary.” With questions still lingering on an exact timing and a professional ministerial role, Lauren realizes that ultimately God’s will is what’s next for her. “I want to do and go where ever God is calling me, but for me that looks like giving up control. I don’t want to fall in the same trap of using God to do my plan, I want God to use me in His plan.”
From ministering to shopkeepers to hearing Paul’s brave and dangerous journey to share the gospel, Christ Community Church’s Vacation Bible School had an immense impact on the children and leaders alike. While VBS does exist to provide a fun and wholesome experience for children, the greater purpose is to ignite a genuine love and desire for Jesus in the hearts of all who participate.
Check out a few points of impact from this summer’s VBS:
“This was such an incredible VBS to be a part of. I loved how engaged the group leaders were, pastoring kids so well. … My favorite part was how so many of the kids are really getting the Gospel message and aren’t afraid to share it!
Even more so—I saw kids living out the gospel as they were helping one another and being kind to each other.”
– Anja Staten
“I’m amazed and blessed to say that I am a part of this VBS group. One of the children in my group told me that ‘
This is the best VBS ever. My favorite part is getting to meet Paul and see what new things he’ll tell us about each day.’”
– Valerie Faircloth
“Being onstage gave me the wonderful chance to hear the kiddos sing. All of their voices came together, and it is so awesome hearing them sing and pray.” – Anna Webb
“A beautiful moment that was captured was when one of my children while petting the animals outside got to teach the farm keeper how to pray.” – Gabe Feder
“One night I actually had a young girl walk me through the ‘sinner’s prayer.’ She was about 6 or 7-years-old, and she told me how easy it was to ask Jesus into my heart.” – Christal Gavin
“The kids in my group shared so openly and passionately with each other! A memorable moment was at the closing Oikos time when we were holding hands to end our time with prayer and one of the kids volunteered to pray!”
– Kristin Roberts
“There was a little girl in my group who was significantly younger than most of the others. The older kids really made sure that they looked out for the little ones, and it was amazing to see how they showed each other how to care for others as God cares for us. The little girl was mesmerized by worship one night. I asked her if she needed to stand on a chair to see, and she looked up with big, glossy eyes, amazed by the Holy Spirit moving during worship. When her dad came to pick her up, he asked her what her favorite part was, and she said that she was so excited about the music and dancing.” – Gabe Feder
“The kids in our group were absolutely amazing. They loved to share about God and what He has done for them. I am so blessed to be a part of their lives!” – Marie Wright
“The kids in my group were absolutely incredible, and they actively shared the Gospel and reference scripture. They remembered that ‘God is slow to anger,’ and they told a shopkeeper (who was pretending to worship Zeus) that she should worship Jesus. I can tell that the Gospel is really making sense to these kids, and now they’re sharing their faith with others!” – Meghan Gross
Share your VBS experience with us in the comments, and check out some fun photos from VBS week here!
Missionary Spotlight: Dan and Jeanie Phillips
The Phillips family, longtime members at Christ Community Church, are heading to a new mission field in Washington state at Trinity Aviation Academy.
The academy exists to“to help mold students in their God-given giftedness and talents through prayer, knowledge of God’s word, training, guidance, and encouragement to become missionaries as God's instruments serving as pilots and mechanics."
Our journey to Washington began last summer when we went to visit our son, Samuel, at Trinity Aviation Academy. We fell in love with the school, its purpose, and the people there. It was odd, but we felt at home. At first, we did not understand that feeling. As we talked with the director and his wife, we learned that he was doing the jobs of several people and was overwhelmed. Near the end of our visit, he asked me (Dan) if I would consider taking over as the administrator of the school so that he could focus on his job as mechanic instructor. I wanted to say “yes,” but I knew that I needed to take time to listen to God to be sure it was His will. After fasting and prayer, I talked to Jeanie and the kids. We were all in. We decided to sell everything and go!
In what ways will you obtain funding for your outreach?
All of the positions at Trinity are non-paying. We will rely on my retirement pay as well as gifts and/or monthly support from others.
Describe your work with Trinity Aviation School in Eatonville, Washington.
We will be in charge of all the administrative aspects of the school. Our responsibilities will include supervising the students and staff, maintaining FAA records and submitting reports, bookkeeping, grounds and general maintenance. We’ll also maintain the school website, social media outlets, and be responsible for all correspondence.
What is currently your biggest challenge?
Selling our property and our petting farm business is our biggest challenge.
How do you see God at work through the aviation school?
God is raising up Godly men and women who will not only take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, but also provide much needed humanitarian aid as well. The students will not only be trained to fly, but also equipped to repair their planes since finding aviation mechanics in many places is almost impossible.
What is a fun fact about your work in Washington?
We get to live at the airport! Our house faces the hangar and runway. How cool is that?!
How can we specifically pray for you?
- We ask for wisdom to lead the school according to God’s purpose.
- We would ask for God’s favor in acclimating to a new culture and climate.
How long have you been enjoying Yoga? Since 2015.
How did the idea of having Yoga classes at CCC come about?
Someone from the 6:30 a.m. prayer gathering asked me if I would teach her some yoga in 2017. We started practicing together after the prayer meetings. People saw us and joined, and it slowly grew from there. Last fall, Anja asked if I would do it for LifeSchool. Now we have a nice little core of regulars.
Has the participation exceeded your expectations?
Yes. In December and January over the holiday break, we regularly had about 20 people. There were college students, youth group kids, and men and women of all ages. It was a really fun cross-section of our church.
Today, it is about 6-12 people.
What do you enjoy about serving in this capacity?
I love to see people start to notice that they are stronger. I really enjoy watching someone grow in confidence, and I love to see friendships start to develop among people who come regularly. We have some people who come mostly for the fellowship.
I also love the chance to pray and share scriptures. I take a long walk and pray before each class. He always gives me something to share!
What are some of your favorite moments from serving in Yoga?
I love when we laugh together. Someone complains about a certain stretch or pose... a little groaning and complaining is kind of funny. But everyone has learned that it only encourages me to make it a little harder! I love to see people get strong!
I love when non-Christians come for the free yoga. Angie Hollis is quite a natural evangelist, and people from her gym are always showing up saying Angie sent them! There are several who have expressed an interest in Jesus just from their time at Yoga.
We banded together to give rides to one woman and her children. Last week, we all rejoiced when she got her driver’s license. We will rejoice together again when she gets the job she needs and for which she hopes!
There is a woman from another church who comes a half hour early to be around the worship music and other believers.
But my very favorite thing is when we all spontaneously begin to worship and sing quietly as we move or stretch.
It is sweetly worshipful.
What would you tell someone who is wondering if they should get involved as a volunteer at CCC?
If there is something that you love doing or that has helped you; somewhere that you feel the Lord meets you-- consider sharing it! I think of the scene in Chariots of Fire when the runner said, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure!” We can share those things with other people. I am not really that good at yoga. It certainly isn’t classic traditional yoga. It’s good enough to help people move, though. And people start to feel the pleasure that I have in Jesus as I move and encourage them.
I don’t need to be more than just a willing person who loves Jesus. That’s enough. That’s plenty! We can share that if we have it.
Every fifth Sunday, Christ Community Church celebrates Family Sunday, a time where children are invited to join the church body in corporate worship. CCC believes that our children need to understand that they worship the same God as the adults and that their relationship with Him is just as important.
Additionally, we like to incorporate fun ways to get the kids engaged with worship and the message, so we celebrated with a photo booth, video, keepsakes and more. Plus, Pursuit students led worship, and Pastor Derrick led us in an interactive lesson on "The Most Important Rule."
Take a look to see if your family was spotted!
The CCC Blog is a collection of writings and images from staff members and guest contributors, all pointing to the extraordinary life made possible by a relationship with Jesus.
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