This week's High's Heroes are Dave and Sydney Clayton.
Dave and Sydney are the founding planters of the Ethos Church in downtown Nashville. Visit www.ethoslove.com for more information about Ethos.
Dave previously served as the campus minister at Lipscomb University. That's where I first met him.
I first met Sydney when she was a student at Lipscomb University. She was a member of the volleyball team and one of our leaders in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is now a professor in the biology department at Lipscomb.
Dave and Sydney recently welcomed baby Micah to their family.
Since I've been back at Lipscomb I have sensed that it's a much different place than the one I left in 1999. I have sensed our students are much more spiritual and focused on others. I attribute a lot of that to Dave and his leadership as campus minister before he left to focus solely on Ethos.
As far as the Ethos story, here it is from the Ethos website:
In the spring of 2007, Dave and Sydney Clayton began feeling the call of God to start a church in the heart of downtown Nashville. If you would have asked them then, they would be the first to tell you that they had never planned on planting a church nor did they know how to plant a church, but as the summer months rolled around, it became clear that God was calling them to church planting.
Through the fall and early winter of 2007, Dave and Sydney Clayton spent time praying, receiving Godly counsel, and visiting various church planters and missional leaders throughout the United States to discern the next step.
In the Spring of 2008, 12 people gathered in Dave and Sydney’s home to begin praying and dreaming about a church in downtown Nashville that would be a spiritual oasis for those thirsting for more. Through the summer months, this first house church grew as they began inviting friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers to dream along with them about a church that could make a difference in downtown Nashville. They met in coffee shops, parks, apartment complexes, and just about anywhere else that did not charge rent as they looked towards the future of a new church.
Then on October 19, 2008, Ethos Church officially began. The first Sunday Worship Gathering was held in the Cannery Ballroom, a bar and music venue in downtown Nashville. That night, a little over a hundred people showed up to celebrate the start of a new church.
Now, hundreds of people call Ethos their church home. They gather three times each Sunday to celebrate what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in our city and beyond. On Wednesday nights, they meet in house churches all across the city to build deep relationships and study the word. Throughout the week they spend time serving our community and loving our neighbors.
I know enough about Ethos to know that of all the congregations I've ever been in, heard of, read about or attended, it is the closest to what I think the first century church would have looked like.
May God continue to bless, lead and use Dave and Sydney!