Meet ‘Big Cleve.’

One of the reasons I’ve survived through year five as a church planter with my marriage and my sanity (sort of) intact is because I’ve had some great coaches. Paul Williams, Brent Storms and Brent Foulke from Orchard Group, Terry Prisk from The River Community Church, and Nick Boring from Vision 360 were all a part of True North’s Management Team and have been there for me to lean on, ask questions of and whine to when things got tough.

Now, after 5 years of making mistakes and tripping all over myself, I have been invited to play a part in helping a new church in Cleveland, OH get it’s start by serving as coach to the lead pastor. I can’t even begin to talk about how honored I am, or how crazy I think these people are for asking me.

The church is called Revolution 216, and the Lead Pastor there is Marques (pronounced Marcus) “Big Cleve” Evans. Here’s a quick, verbal snapshot: He’s a black, 6’7″ rapper and former professional basketball player who is absolutely going to change the city of Cleveland with this church. Plus, he’s hilarious.

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Cleveland and meet him and his beautiful wife Krista face to face. They showed me the entire city and surrounding area, the neighborhoods where they grew up and the spot where they hope to open their doors this fall. We prayed for God’s favor on the church and I was really moved by how much they love their city. And I was really stricken – I mean, deeply deeply touched – by how blessed I am to get to play a small part in what they’re doing. What an honor!!!

While there, I ate like a king. This should not surprise you. The Evans’ and I had insane grilled cheese creations at Melt Bar and Grilled (featured on Man vs. Food), I had the most amazing Reuben sammich I’ve ever had at Lucky’s Cafe (featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives), the best perogies I’ve ever had at Sokolovski’s Sokolovski’s (featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate), and some truly ridiculous beef jerky at Czucraj Meats at the West End Market. I brought home 4 pounds of it and the minute I broke it out, the guys at the office were drooling like labradors on novocaine. It vanished almost immediately.

I’m looking forward to more adventures in Cleveland. Right now, Big Cleve and I are talking every couple of weeks and he’s in my prayers often. If you think of it, hoist up a prayer for him yourself. Revolution 216 is going to do some HUGE things for God’s glory in Cleveland. You heard it here first.

Here’s a look at Cleve’s last video. Enjoy.

LaTanya Harp says:

A true man of God with an innovative approach to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Darryll Davis says:

Cleve is the real deal ! Gotta be a part of the Revolution !

Bert says:

Brent, I’m honored to play a small part in what God is doing there, and I’m not just saying that. I really do feel privileged.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity!!

Brent Foulke says:

Bert my man–the great thing about Cleve is he reaches an old white dude like me as well as the brothers on the street. Guy is dynamite–and God will use him to BLOW CLEVELAND UP! Love the hook “this is my reality, not a fantasy!” Thanks for giving Big Cleve your love.

Beth says:

NICE!!! Now that’s a rap I’d let Christian rap to! Does he have a cd out? God Bless “Big Cleve” with Bert on your team….you’re in good hands!!!! HIS HANDS!

Bobby Zizolfo says:

Wow…….dude is good.