Jesus Christ came from God the Father in love—died for our sins, was buried, resurrected, and made appearances—that instead of being condemned to eternal hell we can be redeemed and forgiven new creations who forever worship God. Romans 10:14-15 teaches, of sharing this good news with those who don’t yet know it, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” In this interview series, “For the Good News,” we’re priviledged to feature missionaries and stateside church planters who have been sent for the lost to hear the gospel. For all of the interviews this series, click here.
Asia Ashwill was born in Communist Poland and came to America with her family at age 11. She graduated from University of Arizona with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. After working for Hewlett-Packard for 5 years, she ‘retired’ to start a family. She and her husband, Cabot, have four children. Asia has homeschooled for the last 20 years, while helping her husband start businesses in CA and AZ and finish seminary. Their family planted LifeSpring Community Church in 2010 and in 2015 Cabot began a church planting network, ReachChicago, in the Chicago area. ReachChicago has planted 3 churches in the last year and 4 more interns are being trained in 2017. Asia is developing a support and discipleship track for the women of ReachChicago.
Lianna: Share with us how being sent as church planters helps the lost hear the proclamation of good news.
Asia: We planted LifeSpring in an area that had very weak evangelical presence, for the purpose of proclaiming the good news to the lost. Since that time, we have seen God bring people who needed to be restored to Him. They have been discipled, and have grown in their faith and love of others. These families and individuals who have grown and matured spiritually are now being commissioned and send out to different parts of the state, nation, and the world with the purpose of making the name of Jesus known to those who are lost and perishing. Since planting our church almost 7 years ago, my husband has formed a partnership with other EFCA churches in the greater Chicago area, called ReachChicago, to train and equip new church planters. We have planned three churches and will start training four new interns in the fall. I am helping to disciple and encourage the planter’s wives.
L: In addition to the very significant area of financial support, what are some of the most helpful ways you have been supported by the church?
A: One of the most significant ways that my husband has been supported in church planting was through the greater "church," through the church planting director in our district. His friendship to my husband, wisdom, and guidance were invaluable especially during the early difficult days of church planting. Sadly, there was not much support for me as a church planting wife. Currently, I'm in the process of developing a discipleship and support group for the wives of the new church planting interns, and God has graciously provided me with a few mature Christian women to support and help me with that effort.
L: What have you learned about the power of prayer?
A: As we have prayed, I have seen God work powerfully in my life and in the life of our church. We haven’t always known what is best to pray for, but God always knows what is best. I have seen Him orchestrate events and move hearts in ways that I did not expect or even know to pray for. He has helped us to develop a team, reconcile broken relationships, and give us comfort in areas that still need restoration. God always brings the church the right people at the right time, sometimes for a short season and sometimes for the long haul—people who are uniquely gifted and suited for the task of building God's church in that season.
L: For those who sense a calling to be church planters, what wisdom would you share about how to prepare?
A: Church planting is hard work; it can be exhausting. It is also exciting and exhilarating because planters have the opportunity to participate with God in changing lives and growing His kingdom. The one thing we did not realize is that as you make a difference in expending the kingdom of God, the enemy will do all he can to oppose your efforts. That often manifests itself as a personal attack on you and your family. At every significant spiritual breakthrough for the church, our family—especially our kids—would be attacked. We had experienced times of personal darkness and heaviness. After recognizing spiritual attacks for what they were, our family was able to fight temptations through the power of Christ and we saw God use those times to purify our hearts and desires. He has carried us on wings like eagles.
If I was to write an advertisement for a church planter, I might say something like this:
"Do you love people? Are you adventurous and not afraid to fail or try new things? Are you willing to work hard and lay it all out for Jesus? Can you gather and set a vision for a group of people? Can you handle criticism, resolve conflict in a healthy way, and not be easily discouraged? Then you should pray, asking God if He has fashioned you uniquely for the amazing, challenging and rewarding work of church planting."