ARC Church Planters Joe and Elissa Adams Share Their Journey’s Highs and Lows

By  //  July 5, 2023

Every ARC church planter has a story to tell, but Joe and Elissa Adams’ story is quite the unique one.

Like many couples who plant a new church with ARC (Association of Related Churches), the Adamses moved across the country to start Manna Church — from North Carolina to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

But, for this couple, their motivation was different than many others. They wanted to fulfill a mission of reaching military families all over the world. 

Here’s more about their story.

No Stranger to Military Life

Elissa isn’t a stranger to what military families go through. As her father was in the military, she moved around the country as a child, experiencing different things each part has to offer.

It was during his time in the military that Elissa’s father came to know Jesus, and it changed her family’s trajectory forever. Instead of being a career military professional, Elissa’s dad decided to pull back and get into ministry.

While growing up, Elissa sympathized with families forced to move frequently and understood the challenges many military families face. 

“To know what God can do in transforming someone’s life and in transforming the trajectory of (my dad’s) life, and then essentially mine and my family’s, it’s a powerful thing,” Elissa said.

A Calling to Ministry

Joe’s connection to ministry dates back many years as well. He says that he felt called to full-time vocational ministry around the age of 16, but starting a church of his own was never in his plans.

However, when he attended an ARC Churches Conference as a senior pastor at Manna Church in North Carolina, that all changed.

While he was listening to another ARC church planter tell his story, Joe says he just started to weep. It was then that he felt called to launch a church of his own.

After thinking about it and praying on it with Elissa, the couple decided this was what they were supposed to do. They brought the idea to their senior pastor in North Carolina, hoping he would give them their blessing.

That he did, and more. He surprised Joe when he told him that he had a vision from God to plant an expression of Manna Church near every U.S. military installation worldwide.

The Move to Colorado

The connection between North Carolina to Colorado may seem odd, but it makes a lot of sense in the context of the Adamses’ story. 

Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is home to the largest military base in the world in terms of population. And Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy, making both locations perfect for a Manna Church.

The entire ARC church planting journey was full of highs and lows, Joe said. Being so full of faith and knowing that God called them to launch this church was certainly a high point.

A low point was the projected blizzard that was set to hit on Manna Church’s ARC launch day. But, as Joe prayed to God for guidance in the situation, he checked outside 15 minutes before launch and saw a lineup of cars pulling into the driveway, with people walking in, fighting the strong winds.

As Joe explains:

“God showed up. Manna Church was born. It began this journey of just what I would call the miraculous work of God and provision of God time and time again throughout our story.”

About ARC (Association of Related Churches)

ARC (Association of Related Churches) is a cooperative of independent churches from different denominations, networks, and backgrounds that strategically resource church planters and pastors to help them reach people with the message of Jesus. ARC exists to see a thriving church in every community, reaching people with the message of Jesus. Since its beginning in 2000, ARC has grown into a global organization and has helped plant more than 1,000 churches.