Generational Church Planting In Fort Worth, Texas

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Written by: Olivia Meade 

Olivia Meade works as a content editor for Acts 29. She’s a member of New Heights Church in West Virginia, where she leads women’s ministry and discipleship. She’s the author of Ordinary Faithfulness and contributing editor for Church Out Here. Olivia is married to Matt and they have two daughters. 

This following content was originally published on Acts 29’s website, linked HERE.


Jim Essian was still playing professional baseball when he first sensed the call to plant a church. He wasn’t sure how or when, but he knew God was directing his family toward church planting. A few more years passed, he retired from baseball, and his family relocated to Fort Worth, Texas, his wife’s hometown. Jim and his family planted The Paradox Church in 2010, and at that time, there hadn’t been a new church planted in the downtown Fort Worth area in years. Fort Worth is the thirteenth largest city in the US. The Paradox Church knew that the gospel need in their region was bigger than just their church—from the beginning, they envisioned being a church that planted more churches. 

Ryan Keeney and his family moved to Fort Worth in 2011 and came on staff with Paradox in 2012. He knew their church was eager to plant more churches in the Fort Worth area, and in 2015, he felt a growing desire to be the one to plant. “That was hard to wrestle with because I wanted to be at the Paradox forever,” Ryan said. Although it was difficult to leave a church they loved, Ryan and his family knew church planting wasn’t just a theory—it was a clear and gospel-rooted call in Scripture. In 2017, Ryan was sent by The Paradox Church to plant Grace Church Southwest.We’re part of Acts 29 really for one reason: we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to be part of church planting worldwide—something we couldn’t do on our own. –Jim Essian CLICK TO TWEET

Church planting was intrinsically part of Grace Church Southwest’s mission from its inception because it was instilled in them through their sending church. It’s no surprise, then, that they planted Grace Church Aledo in the fall of 2022. Matt Weaver is the lead pastor at Grace Church Aledo, and while preparing to launch, he completed a church planting residency in the local church as well as going through the Acts 29 assessment process. Matt and his family were prepared, cared for, and sent to plant Grace Church Aledo with a clear vision and a group of people behind them.

It’s wonderful to see churches planted, and especially beautiful to see generational church planting. In Fort Worth, The Paradox Church is the starting point for a daughter and granddaughter church, and by God’s grace, they’ll see even more in the coming years. Jim Essian said, “We’re part of Acts 29 really for one reason: we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to be part of church planting worldwide—something we couldn’t do on our own.”