A New Journey

Here I sit, at the Starbucks on the campus of University of North Georgia, a church planter. Yea, I said it, my family is here to plant a church in Dahlonega, Ga. To some of you, this is no surprise. But for others, this is new news. To say we are excited is an understatement! To say that my wife and I are crazy is true. And to say that this church plant will never work with out the wisdom, grace and providence of God is what I cling to.

Just a little about the church… We are The Branch Church. “A gospel centered community living on mission.” We prayed and did some preliminary core team development in the fall, but officially launched in January. Currently we are meeting in my home on Thursday nights. We are still developing our core team and adding people to this team. We haven’t publicly launched and wont until the fall. We just moved up to Dahlonega in mid-January so we are still meeting people and learning what it means to be a ‘nugget’, even though we will never officially earn that title (they don’t pass out that label to just anybody. Only life-long Dahlonegians).

I am still working at Starbucks part time in Cumming because their insurance is awesome! Bre and I constantly talk about how full our hearts are being in this city. We literally told God we would plant a church anywhere in the US and we are so grateful he led us here, to Dahlonega.

Let me be honest though, there is a lot of work to be done. A constant prayer and plea from our core team to the Lord is for laborers. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…”

I will be blogging more and more about the church and what God is doing through us. How he has led us and guided us here is more than a miracle. And we know that he has big plans for this church and this city.

So will you join us in prayer. Just an hour ago, I sent Bre a text to pray for me, that I felt attacked, and within minutes, her prayers let to a spirit of peace over my soul. Prayer works, no lie. And I know we need tons of prayer from the saints.

Just two quick ways that you can pray for us…

  1. Laborers- we are trying to get the right people on the bus so that our launch and ministry will flourish. Will you pray that God will draw people to the work He is doing.
  2. Provision- we have had a few churches and organizations step up and support us both financially and partnering with us. As we launch this church, we will be raising support for the church for the next 3 years while we get it off the ground. I am in the process of getting the fundraising started, so pray that God will provide for the mission of The Branch Church through His people.  If you would like to support the church, please contact me and I would love to meet with you and explain the vision and the need.

Thank you for your prayers. And keep praying.

gabe, bre, aubryn, and grady


How Deep the Fathers Love for Us

In my current job, I drive…. a lot. Most days, I am commuting 1.5 hours to work and am typically in the work truck for 3-4 hours. So naturally, after the radio plays the same 10 songs over and over again, I get a lot of time to think.

As I was driving the other day, I was thinking about my role as a Father. As most know, I have an almost 2 year old that I am totally head over heals for. Its probably not healthy how much I love this little girl. I think I have already committed to buying her at least 14 cars or so. Anyway- I began to think as a father, I must, MUST always love Aubryn in a way that she knows it. One of my biggest failures as a Dad is Aubryn growing up not knowing how much I love her.

And thats the role of a father- and good father. I long to show Aubryn in so many ways how much I love her. Love through hugs, kisses, direction, discipline, support, a shoulder, owning many weapons for her first (and last) boyfriend to see. I desire to show her how much I love her.

But as a daughter, she doesnt have to show me how much she loves me. She just has to be in the same room and I see it. All she has to do is crawl up in my lap….. let me squeeze her….. invite me to play kitchen with her….. fart really loud- look at me with that grin and say “pootz.” She never has to “prove” her love for me. That is not a child’s responsibility. When a child has a loving father, they just soak in the love.

Aubryn obeys us because we love her first. She doesn’t obey us to get us to love her.


Did you catch that? Let me say it another way.


We as Christians obey God because He loves us first. Not to get Him to love us.

Its a big difference. I think this happens out of a “child-like faith” that the bible talks about. I want my daughters attitude towards me to be my attitude towards God. If my daughter can understands a love from a very messed up Father, How much greater is a love from a Perfect God!


Quit trying to earn love, deserve love, be good enough to be loved. Thats not your role as a child


A Father dreams on how to show his love to his son, his daughter. A child just eats it up.

Eat up Gods love. It will never run out.





How deep the Fathers love for us- Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Dodd Family Update

Well, we are a little over a month into our church planting journey. We had no idea what we were walking into, the time line we would be working with, any details, we just knew God had called to step out and pursue church planting, no matter what.  So here is a snap shot of our last month.


**** Even before we had fully stepped down from Lanier Hills, God gave me the opportunity with Fox Home Services doing attic insulation. It is a great job and my boss loves the Lord and supports what God is doing in my families life. It is construction so it isn’t the most consistent work, but we are making enough to pay our bills are being paid.


**** As we continue to ask God for the next step in this journey, God continues to burden and excite our hearts about church planting in a college town. Because of that, we have narrowed our search down a little. Currently, we are praying through Dahlonega, Ga, (North Ga College and State University), Eugene, Or. (University of Oregon), and Corvallis, Or. (Oregon State). We are trying to line up trip to Oregon at the end of this month to be able to taste and experience Oregon culture.


**** We are trying to sharping out sword. One of my mentors, Scott Goetz, told me that in this limbo time, all I need to be doing is sharping my sword and getting ready for war. And that’s what we are doing. Trying to read, grow, learn, and prepare as much as we can for when God gives us the location and green light, we are ready.


So thats where we are. Trying to be present in this middle ground. I had one of my college students ask me the other day how we were doing over text. I responded back, “Good, just working.” He responded back with,

“I thought you were going to plant a church??”


It made me laugh but I could see his confusion. We are planting a church. But like I said earlier, we stepped out with no details, logistics, or location. So we knew we would be in a holding period for a while. We would love to be moving and getting ready for the plant by January but we are just going to love the season we are in and listen to the Lord for the “Go.”


Thanks for your prayers.

Motives are everything

As my family and I begin the journey of church planting, my mind is continually racing on every different aspect of our next step. Where we our landing, our name, our vision and mission statement, what we want our reputation to be. And it can be very overwhelming.
But I want to be so pure in our motives that drive every decision we make.

I was at a big leadership conference last week and every speaker is this great leader that has an incredible church or business…
And I have to check my motives for why I want to plant this church.

Do I want to plant so that I can one day stand on a stage infront of 13,000 people…

Or do I have something to prove?

Or do I want to be recognized or known for how great of a leader I am?

Or do I want our plant to go so well that I have instant success as an author?

Or… oR…. OR


I heard one guy compare ministry and church planting  to pornography. We all watch these few, rare guys have all this success in church planting and it gives us an unrealistic view of what can really happen in our lives. I fall guilty in this so often.
I want to make disciples and see God transform lives on a daily basis. I dont care about my name, I care about His glory. I want our family to live and breath obedience to God, whether we ever get recognized or not.

I know so many guys our in the trenches that our serving the Lord and their community so well and will never be asked to speak or write or share, at anything. And they dont care. I want that heart. I want to use whatever platform I have for the Glory of the Lord, not so people notice me.
So if you are on this journey with us, pray for a clean heart and pure motives- because motives are everything.



What am I waiting for??

I got slapped in the face last night. Not by my wife or daughter, but had that light bulb moment where God in his grace lovingly shows me how big of an idiot I am.

I will to do good. I want to live a life transformed by the Lord. But I struggle…. By God really hit me with this phrase… Instant obedience. I can talk my self out of anything I feel like God is prompting me to do. Fast. I can rationalize, justify, and make excuses faster than Aubryn is growing up (which is stupid fast).
But God really pressed in to me and asked me for Instant Obedience. If I feel God is prompting me, just do it! Because I will talk my self out of it- I have seen me do it! Its just like when Jesus is calling the disciples in Matthew 4:18-22. Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to be his disciples. And v. 20 and 22 both start with “Immediately.” They all four of them immediately left everything and followed him…
If you feel God is calling you to move to China, get a team to pray over you and seek wise council.

But men, if God is calling you to pray over your wife and daughter before they leave in the morning, practice Instant Obedience.  (thats my story this morning)

If God is prompting you to read the bible, practice Instant Obedience, stop, and read the word.

If you see a need today and feel a stirring in your soul to meet it, practice Instant Obedience. Do it.


What are you waiting for?

The Start of a Crazy Journey

My wife and I are taking a huge risk following the Lord. We have heard clearly that the time has come for us to plant a church. I will be posting a lot about our journey over the next few years. I wanted to share our resignation letter with Lanier Hills Church as well as everyone else as we begin this crazy adventure the Lord has us on.

We will be posting a lot more details soon.

Pray for us. Join us. Support us. Journey with us.


To Randall Popham, the Elders, and Lanier Hills Church,

Thank you guys so much for taking a chance on me three years ago. If it wasn’t for you listening to the Lord, I know I would have never been hired. But because you did, I was able to get my first full-time ministry position. Over the past 3 years, there have been some great times and some hard times, but I have grown as a leader, pastor, husband, father, and disciple. I am really appreciative of your investment into my life.

Over the past year, I knew God was preparing our hearts for something big. I wasn’t sure where, what, or how. My wife and I knew that things would be changing soon. In June, the Lord really put it on my heart to “remember what I have called you to.” That has always been church planting. Again, like I have so many times before, began to make excuses why God was mistaken for asking us to plant. We are too young, inexperienced, not smart enough, etc. But, God would not relent. We felt like he wanted us to begin declaring “We are starting a church.” Not “one day” or “we would like to” but “we are.”

As I gathered some Godly men around me to fast and pray, God began telling me and my wife to leave Lanier Hills. My number one problem with church planting is that I don’t trust God to provide. So, by God calling me to quit a great job with a consistent salary, benefits, and close to home, I really struggled. But, after prayer and affirmation from different avenues in my life, we conceded to the Lord’s plans. We are going to get a normal job as we begin this church-planting journey in efforts to get into the community, meet people of peace, and begin building a core team.

As we are praying about specific details, the Lord has allowed us to zero in on a few areas. One being the Avenue in Cumming, which we feel strongly God is leading us to. We are also praying about Dahlonega and Portland, Oregon. We are completely open to wherever God is leading us to go.

Because of our method of church planting- going in with no core team and starting from scratch- we ask that Lanier Hills would support us with much prayer. We desire a partnership that would last for years.

It is our desire that Lanier Hills would flourish, not fall in our departure. We care deeply for the church and are only leaving because of God’s call on our lives. Because of that, with your blessing, we will be here for six more weeks, making September 30th our last Sunday.

Thank you so much for allowing me to serve here for the past three years. I pray that we can partner together as we follow God in the journey he has for us.

With Love,

gabe dodd

Are you bored?

Very interesting view on technology and the amount of knowledge thats at our fingertips…. that still leaves us empty.


What are your thoughts?


My blog will be simple.
I am simple. I don’t want life to be bogged down by details and worries that do not matter.

Jesus is simple.

“Follow Me.”

“No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Simple. A warm blanket for those who embrace it.