Joe came from New York in 2000, with the goal of heading back there after graduation to lead churches. Amy came from Bloomington, IL, two years later to become an elementary school teacher. While they were at Lincoln Christian, God opened their eyes to the overwhelming need for cross-cultural Kingdom work.
In 2007, shortly after Amy’s graduation from the LCU teacher-education program, Joe and Amy followed God’s calling to New Zealand, where they had been asked to join a team in planting a church. New Zealand is a small island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles south-east of Australia, and has a population of approximately four million. Most of the population is of European heritage, speak English, and live a very modern life-style. The country was once highly Christian, but in a manner similar to Western Europe, the number of active Christians has steadily declined, and many estimates put the current number under 10%.
In 2009, the Flammers helped launch the new church, called Rechurch. Rechurch’s goal is to create a Christian environment where people who don’t like church will feel comfortable connecting with God and where they can rethink church. With that in mind, Rechurch operates under the assumption that each week there will be at least one person who has never been to church before, so the church leaders aim to plan a service that honours God and is relevant to those new people. Rechurch has met in a variety of venues, including cafes, bars, and movie theatres.
The rhythm of this new church was disrupted when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand in September, 2010. Aftershocks continued to shake the city for the next two years, including a major aftershock in February 2011 that killed 185 people and brought wide-scale destruction. Through this terrible tragedy, God was able to use Rechurch to serve the community and share His love with people in need.
The year 2012 saw a change in leadership, with Joe & Amy stepping into the senior leadership role at Rechurch. Another LCU alumnus (Tony Collins ‘07) joined the Rechurch staff in January 2013. God continues to use this church plant to change lives in New Zealand and share the gospel with people who have never before heard it in a relevant way.
Joe & Amy’s two young children, Brooklyn & Lincoln, were both born in New Zealand. They expect to welcome their third child in December.