Have you ever wondered if what your doing is making much of a difference? That is something that I've done alot of over the years. Of course, that question was much more difficult for me to deal with when I wasn't following God's call on my life.
Today, it's different. I question and wonder if all I do is making a difference. But today, I know I'm following God's direction in my life. Not only have I followed the call to plant a church, but I've seen that church reach an important goal of muliplying into 3 churches. Another great aspect of that are the stories I hear from folks in those churches. Great levels of depth of relationship. Folk gettin real with each other and with God. Leadership being exercised. The church being the church. Is there much to be done? Are the churches yet being and doing everything they could or should?
Of course not, but neither is/does my 4 year old daughter. She is cute as all get out and brings me much joy, but she is not a finished product. She still struggles with being away from mom for any period of time. She hasn't even considered the aspects of reproduction (thank God for that!) She can read some (or at least memorize the words my 8 year old taught her -which is an amazing lesson in itself, my 8 year old teaching my 4 year old how to read - that makes a daddy proud and dumbfounded :) but she can't read or understand some more difficult texts. She doesn't have a clue about relationships yet, but she knows she holds a key to my heart.
Now that I think about it, there is much to be thankful for in our church planting efforts. We are still very much in our infancy stages, yet some very good things are happening. I guess my wondering this morning has to do with the finished product aspect and the one responsible for getting there.
I have long accepted the responsibility for things that are not my responsibility. One of my favorite reminders from scripture is, "unless the Lord builds a house, it's laborer's labor in vain." No, I'm not making a difference, if I think I'm the one that's gonna make a difference. :-)
I've been reading Organic Leadership by Neil Cole. It had a great reminder for me/us last week. God is not calling us to be "successful" in the eyes of the world (even the modern church world) but he's calling us to be faithful, fruitful, and to finish strong. We've only just begun.
Now about the fruitful/finished product that I hope to see...
I envision people who don't know Jesus walking with us in such ways that they are introduced to God's Kingdom at work in the lives of Jesus' followers. I see them being challenged with the gospel. I see them making life changing decisions. I see God transforming their lives in ways that could only be explained by the Holy Spirit's work. I see people growing in great maturity in their faith bc of their personal contribution to their house church and the folks they interact with every day. I see people digging deep into God's Word bc they simply want to know Jesus. I see folks responding to God's love in such ways, they begin to give much more than they receive from others bc they are aware of how much God has given them and continues to give them. I see folks working through some difficult issues in their lives, that otherwise they might have stepped away from a church and not dealt with. I see multiple generations of house churches multiplying before our very eyes. (Someone said, if you say multiplying is in your vision, your vision is not fulfilled until you see a church multiply a multiplying church that has multiplied multiplying churches. :) - think exponents. Another aspect I see is when God has enabled me/us to volunteer our ministry to the network. If you want the entire body to jump in and participate, I believe you gotta get away from paying people to over compensate for those that aren't exercising their gifts. (I hope to start grad school at Wright St in Jan to be a school counselor!)
Thank you for reading. Now my question for you is what do you want to see happen? What has God put in you to partner with Him to make an impact in the world?! How will you respond to God's great love for you?!!