Grace That Sticks - Meet Church Planter Aaron Nichols
October 30, 2017
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
My name is Aaron Nichols. My wife Lauren and I have been married for 9 years and have three awesome boys: Levi (6), Owen (3), and Noah (6 months).
My family never attended church and we never talked about spiritual issues when I was growing up. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when a group of classmates invited me to church that I began to dive deeper into life's ultimate questions. After attending church for a few months, I started to wonder “Am I good enough for God?”
Obviously, the answer was no and so I made it a point to go to church with my friends every Sunday thinking that singing worship songs instead of cursing and taking communion instead of drinking alcohol would somehow make God like me more.
I went off to college the following year and knew that I needed Christian friends if I was going to stay out of trouble, so I connected with Cru at George Mason University. Throughout my first year of college, I had heard the Gospel many times, but it just never seemed to stick. I was living a double life for much of my freshman year - attending Bible studies and Cru meetings a few nights a week and living in blatant sin the rest of the week.
Then near the end of my freshman year of college, God really convicted me to open up and confess my double life to two godly men in my life. I had worked hard to maintain a certain image in hopes of making these men like me more. I didn’t know why God was nudging me to confess, but I knew that I needed to come clean. And I was hoping that my confession wouldn’t make these men like me less.
One of the men I confessed to was a local pastor and now church planter with New City Network named Kenji Adachi. As I shared with him all of the darkness and sin in my life, I expected my confession to end our relationship. But it didn’t.
Kenji was clear that my sin was wrong and challenged me to repent, but he was also clear that the grace of God demonstrated through Jesus was sufficient enough to fix my relationship with God. He was clear that Jesus paid the price for my sin, ended the power that sin had over me and credited Christ’s righteousness to my account.
It was through Kenji’s words and actions that I not only heard the gospel, but experienced firsthand the grace of God. And it stuck. Kenji discipled me over the next several years and I still consider him a mentor and friend to this day.
I attended the multi-ethnic church that he pastored while I was in college and later served as an intern. God called me into ministry near the end of college, so I moved to Dallas, TX to complete my Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. While completing my ThM, I served as an intern and a pastoral resident at a church plant before moving to Trumbull, CT to serve as the Pastor of Community at a local church.
My family and I have now returned to our Northern Virginia/DC roots because we believe God has called us to plant a church here in Merrifield. He has placed this undeniable desire in our hearts to not just gather believers, but ultimately to share the good news of grace with non-believers and unchurched people just like I was. Our hope is that if we can reach this city with the transformative power of the gospel, then we can reach the world.