Luke Embree

Lead pastor & planter of Plowshares Brethren in Christ in Central Kentucky.
Bringing churches to the neighborhoods.

Master of Divinity, Asbury Theological Seminary, 2017.

As a Lyft driver in Lexington, Ky., Luke Embree doesn’t know the roads he’ll go down or the people he’ll meet. He just answers the pings and follows the dotted lines. Similarly, when Luke came to Asbury Seminary, he hadn’t considered church planting. But in much the same way, God has lead him down the road of church planting. Now, he’s the lead pastor and planter of Plowshares Brethren in Christ, the first in central Kentucky.

The Plowshares Community was created to address a challenge that 21st century churches face.

“Culture doesn’t revolve around Sunday anymore,” Luke said. “Church is now displaced from Sunday. How do we respond to that? Sometimes we try to guilt people. Do you love Jesus or soccer more?”

Because the gatherings are so small, with the average size being 12, they can adapt to people’s lives. Once a week, Plowshares communities gather to sing, pray, read scripture, celebrate communion, and a share a meal.

“We believe that it’s time for the church to go to the people instead of waiting for the people to come to church,” Luke said. “So we’re creating intimate communities of worship that are small enough to meet in neighborhoods and homes.”

When Luke first heard God’s call, he wondered why another church was needed. Then, he met Gypsy, his first Lyft customer.

During the ride, they asked about each other’s jobs. Luke explained that he was a Christian, a pastor, and had become an Lyft driver in order to become acquainted with Lexington. She started asking genuine questions about his faith, what it meant, and how he came to know Christ. She expressed a desire to know God in the intimate way that Luke described.

“I so badly wanted to tell her that she could join our community, but we don’t have one in Lexington, yet,” Luke said. “God orchestrated that as my first Lyft ride to impress upon me that there’s a whole generation of people who desire to know God in community the way we’re describing with Plowshares.”

Plowshares recently rented space at The Plantory, a co-working hub that nurtures community-minded businesses and nonprofits, on West Sixth Street in Lexington. They’re currently planning their first Lexington community to begin meeting at the Plantory in the beginning of 2018.

Plowshares is part of the Brethren in Christ tradition that combines Anabaptism, Pietism, and Wesleyanism to bring peace and reconciliation. Their model is based on the book of Acts where Christians meet together in homes, break bread and frequently meet together in the temple.

“We don’t believe that we’re the only church or the best model, but this is our vision,” Luke said. “We want to create personal relationships that are able to impart and fulfill the vision and, ultimately, are trusting God that the Holy Spirit really is in this thing called Plowshares and working out his vision.”

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