Sometimes God calls you out of something comfortable and familiar to serve Him in exciting ways. This has been the case with the newest MTSBC church plant. Jim Taber and his wife, Brandi, recently launched Gracepoint Church in Billings Heights.
Jim and Brandi met while in college at University of Montana while Jim was a freshman and Brandi was a sophomore. Jim was confident in whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, as he proposed on the three-month anniversary of their first date. They were married in August of 2001.
Once Brandi graduated from college, the Tabers moved to Oregon, where Jim attended Western Baptist Seminary. During that time, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. While this left them unable to have biological children, it also opened the door for adoption. The Tabers had always had a heart for adoption, but a two-month mission trip to Kenya that Brandi took in 2000 showed them just how incredible the need really was. In 2012, they decided to begin the process of adopting two boys from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. Little did they know that what was ‘supposed’ to be a four- to eight-month process would become four long, emotional years. Even though Jim and Brandi were now legally and financially responsible for their boys, Jeremie and Mason, the Congolese government would not allow them to leave the country. Finally, in 2016, they were able to bring their boys home. “It was four years of fight and struggle. It was very unjust, very wrong,” said Jim of the process. They handled the long struggle with prayer and integrity and have been blessed with two wonderful sons (now home 3 years).
In 2005, Jim accepted a job at Emmanuel Baptist Church as their Student & Young Adult Pastor. He eventually became the Executive Pastor. He began to feel that God was calling him to something different, he just didn’t know what that was. After much prayer, fasting, and counsel, Jim realized that call was to plant a church. As reflected by their vision statement, they strive to be a “Church where life-change stories are experienced every day.” They are living that out, not only by showing Christ’s love to Buddhists, Muslims, and atheists in the neighborhood, but encouraging other Christians to love God to their fullest by serving Him. One of the men in the church told Pastor Jim how excited he was to see his wife getting involved and serving in ways she never had before. They are definitely drawing people, involving people, and look forward to two baptisms this coming Sunday.
With all of this success, there have understandably been some hurdles. After being at the same church for 14 years, it is easy to be comfortable with the structure, from readily available offices and staff to meeting spaces that are already in place. Since they are meeting in a school, everything they use has to be brought in and set up each week. “There are so many things to be grateful for. God has given us so many people who have stepped up,” Pastor Jim said.
Another concern of the Tabers is guiding their boys through the process and making sure they feel involved. Planting a church is very time-consuming and it can be easy to forget to make time for family. Brandi says, “At 7 and 9, this is a great age to start learning this. They are serving right alongside us.”
Please be in prayer for the Taber family and Gracepoint church during this time. There will be more transitions this summer, as they will be moving to Billings Heights to be closer to the church and the community they are reaching. This will involve the boys changing schools, also. Please pray for Jeremie and Mason as they walk alongside Jim and Brandi in this new chapter in their life.