Announcing Sanctuary Church San Francisco!
The Shaws have had a whirlwind of a couple years. Tom and Josie, along with their three daughters, moved from leading a church in England to the Central Valley of California to support the work at Radiant Church (Visalia). The Shaws are now planning to launch a new church in San Francisco, in partnership with both Radiant Church and Confluence.
In the spring of 2014, Tom was on sabbatical in California. One day, after a casual walk in the neighborhood, Tom sat down on the driveway and was overcome by a deep, strange sadness. Why am I feeling this? he wondered. And the Holy Spirit explained that what he was feeling in that moment was what he would be feeling later after he had moved to Visalia and was missing home. This became the first of many specific and clear prophetic words that Tom received over the next couple years inviting him and his family to relocate to California as an expansion of God’s work in and through his life. (To read the longer version of this story, visit Tom’s blog.)
In July 2017, the Shaws moved to Visalia, California, a mid-sized town in the heart of the Central Valley, popularly known as the bread basket of the world. Tom’s plan was to serve on staff at Radiant Church, strengthening the church and developing leaders, while maintaining his international connections and adjusting to life in the States. This involved teaching on Sundays, leading prayer meetings, and overseeing the teams that make the church “sticky.” Tom and Josie jumped in with both feet, embracing life at Radiant Church and in the wider community of Visalia.
But the Shaws had known Visalia might not be their final stop. Even before coming to California, Tom had received a couple prophetic words about a port and specifically about San Francisco. While not a “big city” person, upon visiting the city a year ago, Tom felt strangely emotional being there. After a few months of pondering and storing this up in his heart, Tom felt permission to begin considering seriously this call to San Francisco in April 2018. This led to a number of meetings with well-known church leaders in San Francisco, all eager to have Tom come and eager to support to this new planting of the Lord. The doors were opening and momentum was building.
During the summer, the Shaws visited a few other cities in which they had considered planting, and after meeting with church leaders, it became increasingly clear that God was leading them to San Francisco. After the school year ends in June, the Shaws plan to move to San Francisco to gather and grow Sanctuary Church SF, a name they received prophetically that communicates both comfort and challenge, refuge and holiness, a place for the poor and the powerful.
Already, three families have committed to joining this plant, and many others are prayerfully considering joining them. While God’s call is clear, many of the details are still being worked out. Please pray for the Shaws as they plan to move their family again and adjust to life in a major city. And please pray for Sanctuary Church, that God will bring the right people at the right time to support this work and bring blessing and life to San Francisco. (You can keep up with Sanctuary Church SF news by liking their Facebook page.)