David Keen grew up in Richmond Hill, Georgia, with a mother who sought the Lord the best way she knew how and pointed David towards Christ. Although his biological father was not a Christian at the time (he has since given his life to Christ), God provided David with many others who discipled him. Through his love of sports, David learned much about leadership, discipline, teamwork, and commitment — valuable skills that would serve him well in his future as a church planter.
David felt an unmistakable call to preach the gospel when he was only 15. Even though he had only known the Lord for a year or so at that time, he knew the news was too good not to give his life to proclaiming it. He became a youth pastor at 20 years old. Not long after, through his friendship with Brian Lowe, he became part of the launch team at Exodus Church. The goal from the very beginning was for David’s family to get launched out of Exodus as soon as the time was right.
David explains that God is the one who stirred his heart to church planting, equipped him to preach and has given him a desire to witness to others: “There is nothing greater than to know the real, true, love of our Creator,” says David. “I am drawn to Jesus because he has graciously drawn me to himself. I love him because he first loved me. He has invited me and sent me to join him in his mission to make disciples of all nations.”
David emphasizes that “pastor” actually falls pretty far down the list of his Godordained priorities. First and foremost, he is a son of God. His second priority is to his wife Jordan, then as a father to his children, and then finally to his church. “I am not qualified to lead as a pastor if these priorities are not in order and being tended to,” says David.
As a church planter, David feels God’s blessing anytime someone gets baptized, and when the Lord leads new people to his congregation. Culturally, the Northlake area of Charlotte is a very diverse mix of people, and the biggest challenge facing this church plant is for the congregation to reflect the area around it.
Launching a new church plant has given David many opportunities to learn to trust the Lord. Exodus Northlake first met in a theater, which required equipment to be carried in, set up and taken down weekly. One Sunday, while David was out of town to preach at his grandmother’s funeral, he got a call at 6:30 a.m. notifying him that their trailer and all the equipment inside had been stolen. Everything was gone. An interesting few weeks followed as they sought to reclaim and replace the missing things, but, David said, God was faithful to provide. As Exodus Northlake continues to grow, David said, he and the church look forward to seeing how God will continue to provide.