Gus Tidland grew up in the church and gave his life to Christ at a young age.
For many years, he has felt the call to plant a church in Atlanta. This fall, on September 18th, 2016, that dream will come to fruition as Gus and his wife Karrie launch CityReach Church Atlanta Southwest!
As he studied church planting in college, Gus realized a calling to launch a church. He felt a burden to plant in Minneapolis, MN, but towards the end of his time at school, a new pastor shared in one of the school’s chapel services that he was soon planting a church in that area. Gus decided to join them and began attending the church three weeks after it opened.
The church faced many challenges and experienced several turnovers of leadership. Despite the frustrating circumstances, Gus still held on to his calling to launch and lead a church. “After pastoring at that church for four years, God lifted our heart for Minneapolis and my wife and I began to pray about where He wanted us to go next. We felt strongly that it was Atlanta,” Gus said.
One day, Gus attended a ministry conference and a speaker told the story of working with a homeless man at his suburban church. As the pastor described shaking this man’s hand, Gus could visualize it, smell the streets and see the need. He began to weep. “I knew I was being called back to the city.” In September 2014, Gus and his family moved to Atlanta. Day by day, they walked by faith. “God was literally providing groceries or rent on the day it was needed.” But Gus and his wife knew they were called there, so they continued volunteering, spending time in their community, and regularly taking prayer walks.
INTRODUCTION TO CITYREACH
After moving his family to Atlanta with plans to plant a church, Gus connected with the Director of the Georgia Church Multiplication Network for the Georgia Assemblies of God, Ross Wiseman, who invited him to a meeting with CITYREACH NETWORK.
“The call to reach the one definitely resonates with me. It reminds me of the parable of the lost sheep. The shepherd had 100 sheep. When one got lost, he left the 99 to go find that one. The challenge in the city is that there are far more than one that are lost,” Gus said.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Already Gus and his family have been reaching the lost in their community in Atlanta. “God has really placed on our heart the importance of showing His love through service. We started out by volunteering at the community center in our neighborhoods,” Gus said. Through volunteering with other organizations and through their own efforts, they have led and supported monthly block parties, community gardens, and homeless outreaches.
“I met Randy one day during our outreach while sitting with a bunch of other guys and drinking. I introduced myself spent some time talking with and listening to him. Someone drove up and asked if they wanted to earn $25. Randy left, but that wasn’t the last time I saw him,” Gus said.
Randy called Gus the next week and shared that he was in a tough place. He recently had a stroke and was in the hospital at the time, but also had cancer and was living on the streets. Gus met with him a few times after he got out of the hospital. Randy told him, “There were lots of people I could have called, but I called you because I knew you would listen to me.”
For Gus, that’s what it’s all about. Gus is passionate about showing the gospel by listening, loving, and building relationships with people.
A lot of people just want someone to hear their story. Finding someone who will listen to them and respect them for who they are and where they are, that’s rare. – Pastor Gus Tidlund
A UNIQUE APPROACH
Gus and his wife have a desire to do something unique. “We want to create disciple-making communities of faith that naturally enfold people uninterested in the ‘normal’ church production and provide opportunities for them to disciple one another as a part of everyday life.” Gus shared.
Pastor Gus has a desire to bless the community through compassionate lifestyles of radical service and to disciple people towards Christ through relationships. He wants to provide ways for people of faith to interact with their community all week long, not just at a Sunday service.
CityReach Church Atlanta Southwest launches this fall on September 18th, 2016.