Reverend Michael Rogalski humbly reflects, “Most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, but I look back and see what God has done and say ‘Wow!’” God has led him on an incredible journey over the past 15 years to dramatically impact those here, near, far and hard to reach and it all began under Reverend Mike Hilson at NEWLIFE Church in La Plata, Maryland.

Hired as a staff pastor, Rev. Rogalski, reminisced that Rev. Hilson told him, “If you want to come and just do some discipleship stuff at a desk, this might not work, but if you want to be part of a movement where God will change your job description, then this place might be a good fit.” This was ideal for Rev. Rogalski, who admits “I get bored quickly and love doing new things.”

Rev. Hilson saw Rev. Rogalski’s giftedness and encouraged him to plant a church. The only space available was a two-bay garage on NEWLIFE’s campus. Embracing their present location, the church was creatively named and launched in 2008 as “The Garage Church.” And from Garage Church’s humble beginning, something special was about to be birthed.

Dr. Anita Eastlack saw an opportunity to merge the church she was leading with this budding congregation. As Rev. Rogalski describes it, “Garage Church had momentum and youthfulness, whereas they had maturity and property.” Combining the best of both — an energized congregation with a seasoned and mature congregation — LifePoint was born in Waldorf, Maryland.

LifePoint is guided by a one-page plan stating their Acts 1:8 vision, complete with action steps and mile markers. This vision is even embedded in the walls for the congregation to see. Rev. Rogalski is grateful for the clarity that their vision provides: “Having a vision guides our strategic decisions.”

The “hard” part of their Acts 1:8 vision began with the “here” and a desire for more parking space. Directly next door to the church were two properties with older homes on them. While teaching an assimilation class, Rev. Rogalski dreamed out loud that he wished they could obtain those properties for potential transitional housing. His thought remained only a thought until Rev. Rogalski was doing “pastor math,” brainstorming how to expand their parking lot following the largest Easter attendance they had ever had.

Unexpectedly, LifePoint received the first right of refusal from the owners to purchase the homes. Rev. Rogalski immediately recognized his need for holy discernment and wondered, “Is this a distraction or is this God’s direction?” He inquired with local community leaders to see if such a need existed and received an overwhelming yes. LifePoint didn’t have the resources, but they continued to pray for direction. Rev. Rogalski testifies that he heard, nearly audibly, the Lord say, “Build better before you build bigger.”

Instead of a larger parking lot, LifePoint raised funds to purchase the homes, staff them and begin a program called “Poiema” (Greek for masterpiece). This program is aimed to help women from unstable, abusive or broken living situations discover their “poiēma.” The homes have eight beds and LifePoint has graduated four people from the 12-month program, with one graduate reinvesting in the ministry by working at the facility. Recently, LifePoint celebrated seven baptisms including a program participant, who shared her testimony and energized the entire church.

Rev. Rogalski mused upon God’s direction saying, “The homes were purchased in 2018 and opened in 2019, and God’s providence was apparent, because no churches needed bigger parking lots in 2020.” As of the time of this writing, LifePoint has just paid the county permit to begin expanding the parking lot. “God has shown up and changed people’s lives, and it is very humbling.”

LifePoint’s Acts 1:8 vision also extends to supporting missionaries Jona and Juska Lazarre in Les Cayes, Haiti. The Lazarres, who have developed good relationships with the local government, place orphaned children into Christian foster homes. As Rev. Rogalski evaluated how they could live out the “far” part of Acts 1:8, he realized the need to invest relationally in one place for greater discipleship and longer term impact rather than scattering their efforts across multiple locations. As a result, LifePoint regularly does a shoebox-style ministry for the children and are soon to be launching a church in Les Cayes.

Closer to home, Rev. Rogalski identifies 65,000 people in their area that do not yet know Jesus. They are expanding to three services next month to accommodate local growth. LifePoint also partners with other churches to reach more people for Jesus. They launched their youth pastor to plant a church, adopted another congregation to show them love and support, and LifePoint anticipates the impending arrival of another church, currently in planning, coming into the area. Rev. Rogalski provides differing combinations of moral support, financial assistance and guidance to these churches, demonstrating LifePoint’s commitment to the “near” of Acts 1:8.

Rev. Rogalski’s advice to any church or pastor developing an Acts 1:8 vision: “Get away with the Lord and ask him what he wants for his church. When you think about here, near, hard and far, when you sit with the Lord, ask him those questions.”

For more information on Rev. Rogalski’s and LifePoint’s Acts 1:8 journey, click here to listen to the Acts 1:8 Podcast.

Jacob Gibson is the senior pastor at LifeSpring Wesleyan Church, Richmond, Indiana, and graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and Wesley Seminary, Marion, Indiana.