YOUCHOOSE is over 10 years in the making. Barry Smith, our founder, got a call to ministry at age 23, which was after quite a bit of rebellion that started as an 8th grader. The partying and attempts at womanizing carried through his college years at the University of South Florida where he was known in Tampa as, DJ Scary Barry - DJing in his own mobile business as well as a local night club. He obtained a BS degree in Finance, but his walk with God was not pretty. But that lifestyle gave him valuable experience in relating to people from all backgrounds.
After recommitting His life to God, Barry was fully involved at a local church in Port Charlotte, Florida. He poured his heart and soul into the youth ministry, driving the bus, teaching, visitations, and even became a Deacon of that growing church. However, full time ministry was not his number one choice. But God made a clear ‘call’ on his life to serve full time. He went to Ozark Christian College where he met a girl named Tammy. They were married in 1994 and have been doing ministry together ever since.
After two ministries in Rolla, Missouri and Avon, Indiana (just outside Indianapolis) - Barry received a another very specific call to lead a church. After some serious prayer and lots of conversations, a church plant called Impact Community was launched in Sacramento, California with just six people in the Smith's living room. That ministry grew to a highest monthly average of 1,000 people in four weekend services. But God wanted something different from Barry… and 10+ years later, YOUCHOOSE was birthed.
The focus was two-fold: 1. plant American churches that are self-sustaining in 6-12 months and 2. get them to multiply and not just add. So after more than 8 months of coaching, counseling, conferences and lots of prayer, the idea of YOUCHOOSE finally took flight.
Barry’s church plant, Impact Community Church, supplied the necessary startup funds as well as some monthly support to get the project started in the right direction. The focus is more than clear - Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. And that is accomplished by starting a movement of churches with a platform and process of multiplication.
But it all starts at YOUCHOOSE, an internet community that engages people with short, culturally relevant biblical videos that we hope people will enjoy, like, share, and connect with. At YOUCHOOSE, we encourage our friends to CHOOSE one of two tracks - CHOOSE Jesus or CHOOSE Discipleship. These longer videos dive a bit deeper into what it means to follow Jesus as well as what it means to be a disciple who makes disciples.
Ultimately, our plan is to encourage our friends to launch their own Simple Church where, as a spiritual community, we simply Love God, Love Others, and Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. We truly believe that the idea of making disciples is for the average person. And, we believe that everyone who has the Holy Spirit of God in them (believers in Christ) can, and should, launch their own community with 11 of their closest family and friends. Under our empowerment and vision, we believe there will be 10’s of thousands of people in community that weren’t prior to their connection with YOUCHOOSE!
We believe Christians don’t GO to church but that they ARE the church. Maybe you don’t like organized religion or you’ve become disgruntled with corporate church. Maybe you got burnt by a denomination or pastor or church leader in the past. We encourage you to put that in the past and envision what the future could look like… and what the book of Acts says in chapter 2, verses 46-47, “...They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” - NIV
If you’re ready to explore what it looks like to start your own Simple Church, let us know by shooting us an email. We’d be honored to talk with you about what that might look like for you.
YouChoose when where, how and with whom you do
- small group
- small group
Founder & President
Growing up in a wonderful Christian home, there was no excuse for my rebellion as a kid. I had authentic believing parents and an older brother that gave me one of the best examples anyone could ask for. But I chose to put popularity over principles and walked on the wild side.
After graduating with a BS in Finance from the University of South Florida, I recommitted my life to Christ. It wasn’t long until I got the ‘call’ into vocational ministry. Another graduation from Ozark Christian College and meeting my amazing wife, Tammy, I had two successful youth ministries before launching a church plant in California.
For the past 10+ years, YOUCHOOSE has been percolating in my head. I can’t believe I get to have fun and share Christ on this amazing platform. It’s a dream come true. If you’d like to hear a little more about my expanding vision, check out 612planting.com - we’re helping plant churches where most church planting organizations wouldn’t dare to go.
How the Community Works
The bottom line is YOU CHOOSE when, where, how, and with whom you do faith. If you’d like to remain anonymous and visit whenever the whim strikes you... great. We are here for you. If you’d like to engage and be a part of the family… even better. We are here for you. If you’d like to dig deeper and explore more in depth videos about Choosing Jesus and Choosing Discipleship… fantastic. We are here for you. Ultimately, it is our vision to see a movement of Simple Churches led by people just like you. And we are still here for you!
No matter what level of engagement you choose to make, we want to help people love God, love others, and make disciples who make disciples. And we want to have a lot of fun along the way. That’s important. So we’ve boiled down our mission into five simple steps.