Joe & Natalie Reed
Joe & Natalie Reed founded the Exponent Group at the end of 2018 in partnership with multiple ministry partners and friends. Here is their story :
When I (Joe) was sixteen years old, I was gripped by the realization that despite the best efforts of the youth group in my local church, my friends were not coming to our events. It confused me because I had experienced God in authentic ways through the care of our youth volunteers. Two men in particular helped shape my personal relationship with Jesus and I wanted the same experience for my friends.
Traditional Church Planting
My journey into addressing these gaps was pursuing a degree in local church planting at Huntington University. I met Natalie there and found in her the perfect partner for the calling of God in my life : to be part of changing whatever was keeping people from experiencing the full love of Jesus in their lives.
We put our hands into multiple church planting projects throughout our dating and early marriage years. We saw God do some amazing things through those projects (expansive outreach, church wide discipleship involvement, local ministry development, etc…) but were still gripped by the concern that many in our city were not coming to our events. We craved more transformational impact in our city than we were seeing.
We stumbled upon a group of creative missionaries serving the Lord in South Africa. We joined Church Resource Ministries (now called “Novo”) in May 2008 and moved our young family to Pretoria, South Africa to begin pursuing alternative ways to expand the reach of our local church into the city. We saw some… interesting things in those five years! We saw the Lord multiply our disciple making efforts and begin reaching people that we had struggled to gain access to. This multiplication took place on college campuses, in businesses and in neighborhoods. God taught us a great deal during this season which prepared us for where He took us next.
New England Pioneering Ministry
In the last two years of our time in South Africa, we knew the Lord was preparing us for a new territory, but had assumed it would take us back to where we were from (Indiana). God used the voice of a founding board member, Jennie Boysen, to stir our hearts for New England. Her words rang true in our hearts that this was an opportune place to pioneer a replicative disciple making ministry. God has used our ministry assignments to refine our understanding of prayer, walking with Him deeply, and authentic/loving relationships with people that leads to transformation. We have seen God multiply disciple makers through multiple sectors of our city and raise up key leadership to carry the work forward.
Accelerate Network & Local Coalitions
One of the key elements of our work is the curation of a ministry network called “Accelerate”. We helped to birth the global Accelerate network with two other colleagues in November 2015. This network serves as a platform for those we are working with to share learning across regions and affinities. We have found that the connectivity enhances learning, encourages ministry cooperation and is increasing the impact of the work among partners.