Introducing Our Director of Discipleship
We are excited to introduce you to Josh Stewart, our new Director of Discipleship! Josh, his wife Stephanie, and son Graham are joining our Trails family and are eager to jump into life at The Trails. Continue reading to get to know Josh and his heart for discipleship, and join us in welcoming the Stewarts to The Trails!
When did you first come to know Jesus as your Savior?
I became a Christian in the summer of 2009. After being around more Christian truth for a season, I felt compelled to go to a local park and pray to God, asking him to change me and help me to live for him. I believe that at the time, it was my way of crying out to God to help me and save me, even though I didn't have the vocabulary to describe it. The Lord began to change me and renew me, and then in the summer of 2012, I read Matt Chandler's The Explicit Gospel. The Lord used this book to help me understand the gospel and the fullness of what it meant for the first time. From that point on, I've grown in understanding more and more that my standing before God is fixed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, and that my performance is not enough to save and justify me before God! So, whether it's 2009 or 2012, I may not know, but what I do know is that I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see.
What has ministry looked like for your family?
Stephanie and I started attending Providence Church in 2013 and we were married in 2014. We met and dated all through college and when we settled in Frisco, Providence became our church home, as well as the first church home we'd ever had in our lives. When we arrived, we were young, immature Christians (and people), and the Lord grew us immensely during our time at Providence. We experienced the church as a family in a profound way. We had men and women come around us and function as spiritual leaders and friends for us, providing the care, mentoring, leadership, and friendship that we needed. At first, we started serving in various capacities, and the Lord eventually allowed us to serve on staff. In 2014, Stephanie joined the staff at Providence and served as Matt's assistant until The Trails planted. In 2015, I joined the staff as the interim Director of Providence Students, and continued to serve as the leader of the student ministry until August 2020. During this time, Stephanie and I have led a community group and seen the value of how the gospel shapes and sustains community. In 2018, our first son, Graham, was born, and the realities of family discipleship became more real as we now experience them daily! In addition to these roles, we've always thought and dreamed of how the gospel shapes our hearts, compels us to love and care for one another, and how all of that could look in a local church context. Now, we're so excited to get to partner with The Trails and minister to, and be ministered to by, the people!
Why do you think discipleship at The Trails is so important?
God is glorified through disciple making. Jesus' last instructions for his disciples were to make disciples of all nations. The importance of disciple making is at the core of our church: we exist to glorify God by making disciples. It's a life-capturing, joy-driven, redemptive reality of the Christian life that we get to participate in God's plan to save and sanctify His bride. It's a mission worth giving our lives for in order to advance. I am truly excited to be a part of the work God is doing at The Trails and to serve the church by helping us all grow in our awareness of God's love for us and how this transforms the way we live. Ultimately, I want to participate in the mission the Elders are leading, helping us connect how the beautiful doctrine of God's word transforms our hearts and leads us to live lives marked by deep, joyful devotion to Christ, expressed in tangible care for one another that will display the beauty of Jesus to a needy, watching world.
What are you praying for regarding our church and for the discipleship ministry moving forward?
The discipleship ministry will hopefully help further express how we live out our doctrine through joy-filled devotion, all in response to Christ's love for us. My prayer is that the preaching, singing, community, mission, and everything that we do at The Trails will help us adorn the gospel to others in our lives. The word adorn refers to making something more beautiful. In the Greek, it is associated with the word for cosmetics. Simply put, to adorn something heightens the beauty of the thing. For us, we do not need to make the gospel more beautiful; rather, we need to merely reflect it. That's my prayer for us all. I hope to faithfully serve the precious people at The Trails Church, doing my part to point us to Christ, in the hopes that the Spirit will help us to trust Christ more, love Him more, and reflect His beauty to everyone in everything that we do.
How can we pray for you?
Please pray for us to quickly develop great relationships with everyone as we transition. We are eager to develop deep, meaningful, and transformative relationships with the people at The Trails. We are excited for our family to grow in the gospel with all of you!