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Examiner
  • Frank Haight: Young pastor felt called to return home

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  • Every Sunday morning, the Truman High School auditorium is transformed into a sanctuary of worship, prayer and praise for the fledgling congregation of Church of the Four Corners.
    The nondenominational church derives its name from a story in Acts 10 involving Peter, who falls into a trance while praying on a housetop and sees a vision of a sheet being lowered from heaven held by four corners, says Pastor Craig Kackley, church founder.
    “That vision is the precursor for Peter being invited to Cornelius’ house,” the 30-year-old pastor says, noting this was the first recorded time in the Bible that the gospel was brought to the Gentiles.
    “The big idea of our church is that the gospel is for everyone,” the Independence native says. “One of our big mantras is that it doesn’t matter where you are in your journey with God; it just matters that you are taking the next step.
    “And that is where we think we come into play. We equip people to take their next step in their spiritual journey.”
    As Craig shares his spiritual journey, he tells about his step of faith leading to the founding of Church of the Four Corners on Sept. 8, 2013.
    Craig remembers it was less than a year after entering full-time ministry in 2006 when he felt God calling him to plant a church somewhere. But where?
    He found out some five years later. While serving as the associate pastor of a Chicago church, Craig and his wife Laura came to Kansas City to visit a church that a friend had planted on the Country Club Plaza.
    Little did Craig know that the Plaza church would be marking its 100th service on the day he and Laura attended. Nor did he know the entire service would be focused on how his friend’s church-planting journey had begun.
    Listening intently, Craig’s heart was touched when his friend recalled that when he and his wife were praying about whether they should plant (a church) in Kansas City, they had never been more scared or uncertain; yet, never more confident of what God was going to do through them. “In that moment,” Craig says, “God spoke to me very clearly and said: ‘Craig, you are always going to be scared and you are always going to have doubts, but are you more confident in me than you are in that fear or in that doubt.’”
    “Yes, I am,” he says. And after the service, he told Laura: “We are resigning, we are moving back to Kansas City and we are planting a church.”
    Page 2 of 3 - As for how God is going to use Church of the Four Corners, “We have no idea what God is going to use our church to do,” Craig says, “except for one thing: God has called us to Kansas City – specifically to Independence right now – to be a church for those who have given up on the idea of church. We really feel like that is why we exist. We are redefining what church is for a younger generation.”
    In March of 2013, the Kackleys moved to Independence and ended up moving back into the same house they originally owned on Delaware Street in the Truman Historic District.
    After taking about a month to resettle, a core group of some 30 friends and relatives began holding interactive meetings to develop core values of the church.
    “And at this time, we discovered that God had called us to build a church that was accepting, a church that was generous, a church that was of advancement, a church of practicality and a church of enjoyment,” Craig says, adding: “Those were the five core values that were formed from those gatherings.”
    In all, there were six months of gatherings, five months of team meetings and a couple of practice services prior to launch Sunday.
    “It was pretty amazing,” Craig says of the first service that attracted 338 people. In addition, 22 received Jesus Christ as Savior; 18 others rededicated their lives.
    So far, decisions for Christ have been an every Sunday occurrence at Church of the Four Corners.
    “We have never met without (at least) one person responding to Christ,” Craig boasts, noting a total of 150 people have received Jesus as their Savior since launch.
    The contemporary worship services last about 70 minutes, with praise music led by a seven-to-eight-member band.
    In addition, you will experience “quite a bit of media” and “a lot of videos,” Craig says, including “a countdown video at the beginning telling who we are and how Jesus saves and heals. It is very Jesus centered.”
    Calling his preaching style “very conversational and very low key,” Craig says he tries to incorporate humor at times in his 30-minute sermons.
    “I am not a preachy-type preacher,” he says. “I talk from the heart and I am open about my own personal struggles.”
    Because the goal of the church is to help people make the next step, Craig says he preaches a message that is very practical and very applicable.
    “We don’t just want to tell you what the Bible says, but how to apply it to your life,” he says. “We always end the message with: Here is your next step. Or, we ask, Where is your next step? Where do you go from here? We challenge them to do something and go with the Word.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Services are at 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. Adults meet in the auditorium and children in classrooms around the theater. Other activities include small-group meetings for adults throughout the week in homes, Saturday prayer gatherings and Monday evening youth activities.
    For more information, visit the church Web site: www.cotfc.com, or send email to info@cotfc.com
    Retired community news reporter Frank Haight Jr. writes this column for The Examiner. You can leave a message for him at 816-350-6363.
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