Paige and I began down this wonderful, scary road of church planting about 3 years ago when we felt Him tell us to resign our position at a great church where I was executive pastor. Since then, He took us through a desert place for about a year which tested our faith in Him but also “de-programmed” us of a bunch of stuff that was tradition of men and had nothing to do with what it meant to actually “be” the church. At the end of two years, God brought an incredible group of people int our lives and we made a commitment to God and each other that we would allow Him to make us missionaries to our world no matter how unclear that process may be at time…and it has been very unclear at times. We all have been tempted at times to go back to the “way of doing things” that produced visible results and made sense to us since we all grew up in church. Thankfully, we resisted that temptation and stayed on the path that God was showing us, step by painful step.
Well, here we are, a year later and God seems to finally be illuminating more than just the very next step in front of us…the path to becoming missional Christians is becoming a little more clear every single day. We have decided to forget about planting a church and focus on planting the gospel in our offices, homes, neighborhoods and wherever God takes us. The cool thing is that we are starting to see how that seed is taking root in people’s lives and God is the one who is causing the growth to happen…all we have to do is continue to sew seeds of justice, mercy and love and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. A network or “oikos” is beginning to take shape and it is very, very exciting!
About 6 months ago, a woman in our church befriended a woman who was in a homeless shelter with her 2 year old son. We all agreed that God brought this woman into our lives and we couldn’t leave her like this. So, we basically adopted her and her son, helped them move into an apartment, buy furniture/dishes/pots and pans/clothes for her, her son and the new baby and anything else she needs. It has been a slow, incredible, painful process but actually helping someone always is. When you don’t just ‘throw money’ at someone but instead to become intimately involved in their lives, you have to sacrifice time, money and convenience but it is SO worth it. So, the cool part is that we just found out that not only this lady wants to be a part of our church but now her mother (who she had NO relationship with as of a few moths ago), wants to check us out because she has seen how we have helped her daughter.
This has now become more than abstract concept to us. God is wanting to birth a rapidly multiplying, multi generational move of God in this country but it will only happen when we focus on planting the gospel, loving people and “being” the church wherever they are. For the first time in years, I am truly excited about the possibilities of what the church can be and what can be accomplished in this country for Christ!