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Waxahachie, Texas – ​November 5, 2015 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) ​alumni and former Bridges Dorm Pastors Preston and Lisa Ulmer prepare to launch a new church with the Urban Islands Project ​and the Church Multiplication Network (CMN) in the downtown urban area of Berkeley, Denver, Colorado, in September 2016.

Preston said, “My family and I are taking the biggest step of faith we have ever taken before, but we are believing that if we go all in for God, He will go all out for us.” He continued, “With 80% of Americans living in the urban areas of major cities, it’s not just a good idea–it’s a necessity. That’s why we are planting–Because necessity always trumps a good idea.”

“Our hearts break for the Urban areas of Denver. We are going because broken hearts often times make the hardest working hands.”

The Ulmers will be planting among young professionals and families. Preston explained, “A lot of our work will involve apologetic centered discipleship and personal outreach efforts.”

In 2008, Preston received a bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries. While at SAGU, He experienced a major crisis of faith, causing him to dive deeper into the ‘why’ behind what he believed. “As a result, I am convicted that the life of the mind is a vital part of worshipping God fully.” 

His wife, Lisa, attended SAGU from 2005-2008. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and is highly involved in worship. She has a desire to see families stay connected and marriages made whole. 

Preston and Lisa met while participating in Southwestern Live, a comedy sketch show performed by SAGU students.

After Preston and Lisa married in 2008, they spent the majority of their ministry career as young adult pastors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During this time, Preston attended Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary ​and received a master’s degree in Religion. 

They then transitioned to SAGU as dorm pastors from 2012–2015. Preston received a master’s degree in Divinity, authored a devotional called ‘The Why I Love Jesus Marathon,’ and taught numerous on-campus courses. Preston said, “The greatest honor of all was that Lisa and I had our two girls there, Piper (3) and Brennan (8 months).” 

After leaving SAGU, they began working in the Berkeley area in the summer of 2015. God put everything in place to create, “The Doubter’s Club.” This club invites atheists, spiritualists, believers, people of all different world views to come together and talk about issues of faith. It is led by Ulmer and his good friend, who is an atheist and owner of the local coffee shop where they meet. 

Preston says, “This pre-evangelistic effort is really helping us gain ground in this area. It allows us to build genuine relationships with people who hold different views than us, and we are able to clarify the truth and relevancy of Jesus.” 

In a recent movement known as the “Urban Island Project,” there are seven church planters who will be planting churches in the Denver cohort in seven different “islands” that will launch on the same day in September 2016. All are planting churches in different neighborhoods, but all within Denver. 

Preston says, “We work together, train together and pray together. One of the great benefits of this is that the “loneliness factor” of starting a church is lower than if we were trying to do this on our own.” 

The “island” the Ulmers will be working in is the neighborhood of Berkeley. One of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Denver with 8,000 people comprised of young adults aging from 25 to 39 years old and young families. (  “We are making room for Christ in a very crowded city.”

“If you walk downtown of a major city, you will notice that within a one mile walk you have crossed several demographic and socioeconomic lines. Not boundaries or barriers- lines. In our estimation, these lines mark downtown ‘islands.'”

The launch team has grown from just the Ulmer family to now 10 team members who are devoted to see the church add value to the Berkeley neighborhood. Many of these people being SAGU alumni. 

Companies such as “For the Good” has partnered with the Ulmers by giving a percentage of their profits to help the new church plant. The Oaks Fellowship, 7 City Church and Lifegate Church have also joined the church plant.

The Ulmer family would like to emphasize the need for prayers. Additionally, they invite those who live in the Denver area and would like to be a part of the church plant team.

“We are making sure that we are ready financially by raising a budget; that we are ready spiritually by growing in prayer partners and spiritual disciplines; and that we are ready corporately by recruiting a team. Your help is appreciated, and most needed, in all three of these areas.”

SAGU’s Southwestern Mission Association’s (SMA) chose the Berkeley church plant as this years Giving Project, allowing the student body to raise and give funds to reach the set goal of $17,350.  

For more information about the Urban Island Project, click here

About SAGU: 
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU   

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