Where and when it all began...


When we tell people we are planting a life-giving church in the community of Lake Travis in the Austin area, they always respond by saying, "We love Austin!" I have yet to meet a person who does not love this great city. From live music at local restaurants to the dog-friendly park just across the lake, you will never run out of things to do and experience here in Austin. In fact, many people move here to experience the vibrant culture and beautiful outdoors. While these things are true, we have also seen Austin to be an empty and hurting place. Because of its beauty and endless forms of entertainment, many people come to Austin searching for something more. This is why we see new ecstatic spiritual dance classes pop up all over the city and new bars opening up almost every weekend. It is clear people are searching for purpose and connections and Austin is where they hope to find it. The statistics show that 54 percent of people in Austin don’t even claim a religion while only 25 percent claim to be Christian. The national average for churches is 10 churches to every 10,000 people and Austin records only having 4 churches per 10,000 people. When we look at this, we believe that Austin is in need of some solid, life-giving churches and is prime and ready for a big move of God. When God revealed this to us, we were confident that His plan for Zao Church was huge.

The name Zao was birthed out of wanting to bring truth to the people of Lake Travis.

With all the growth across the city, it is obvious that so much life and energy is being birthed right here in and through Austin. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t be seeing over 100 people moving here each day. People come to Austin to enjoy life, but are they enjoying REAL life? This is the truth we are wanting to bring. The meaning of Zao in the Greek language is to enjoy real life. When I see the people of Austin, who are hopeful in their efforts of finding real life, left empty after pursuing what they thought would bring real life, my heart breaks. We are excited about bringing the Gospel message to this amazing city. We know we have the answer to the question that so many people are asking: What is the point of life?

We are here to help teach people how to live real life through knowing God and loving others! 

And one thing is for certain, our calling is loud, our vision is clear, and our commitment is strong so we won’t stop until every person we meet knows God, finds freedom, discovers purpose and makes a difference for the cause of Jesus Christ! We love this city and we love this state. Thank you for joining the journey and for supporting our family as we ride this calling from God and plant a faith-filled, life-giving church in the Lake Travis community of Austin, Texas!

-Jared Lyons

Pastor, Zao Church

Click play to watch the story of Zao Church