If you were in church this morning you already heard, or at least were exposed to this message http://youtu.be/RheehsilDWI
The premise from it would hopefully get us thinking about what God wants for the us as individuals as well as for us as a church, and hopefully that line of thinking would be carried on to what God wants for the very communities we are living in.
I think when we discover that God wants something so much greater than any sort of check list of accomplishments. God wants us to experience life in love in many ways beyond what we could imagine. It is not just heaven when we die, but a peace that passes all understanding. In John 13-17 is what has come to be known as the Upper Room Discourse. In this Jesus starts by washing feet and then begins explaining what he has done for the disciples. Next is what he is doing next for them, I am going away so that the Father can send you the Holy Spirit. John 16:12, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” That is an interesting statement for Jesus to make after telling the disciples that the Holy Spirit would remind them of the things Jesus predicted would happen, so they would say, ‘Oh yeah, Jesus did say that.’
Many that I have been talking to about becoming one church in three locations have been having a hard time grasping this idea. Some do not see what real difference it will make, while to others the idea is so far out of their experience they are afraid of what it might do to the church. No one in Needles, Blythe, or Parker has ever done anything like this (to our knowledge).
Here is the most honest statement I can make about this whole plan. I am trying to get all three of these churches to go somewhere NONE of us have been. That’s right, I have not been where I am trying to lead us. But lets think about this for a moment. For you sports fans you will likely like this, for others, imagine as best as you can. You are in the biggest game of your life, the Super Bowl. Your team is behind by 6 points, there are two minutes left in the game and it is fourth down and 8. You are the quarterback and have to make the call. What do you do? Punt? not a good option for many reasons. You have to go for it. So you gather everyone in the huddle, what play are you going to call? I would hope that you would call the play that you feel is going to get you at least 8 yards. Is there any certainty that you will be successful? Absolutely not!! There are too many unknown factors for 100% certainty. So do you quit the game? I would certainly hope not. You call the play that the people you are surrounded with (those who are in the huddle) are most likely to succeed with.
What God wants for us as a church is far greater than the coach of that football team. God wants us to win. So I am working on clarifying the play I am trying to call, because in my mind it is the best opportunity for us to be successful as a church in the long run. Will the road getting there be bumpy? It already has been, and it will be.
I thought about posting here the game plans for each congregation, but I am hesitant in airing each churches laundry, maybe even to a fault as I have been in multi-point charges all of my pastoral career and I cringe when we start comparing what each other is doing.
The basic plan for all three congregations is to form small groups in each community where the main teaching and missional work is done, and each group completes a task or study. Part of these studies we will be embarking on will be designed toward spiritual growth and putting our faith into action. There will also be times when we go to community events and spread the love of Christ.
Many of the scary parts will disappear as we move forward as Christ is calling us to. I believe at the very heart of the Gospel is a transforming love that can be known and felt in real ways in each of the congregations, which is why to me ‘Creating a place where the transforming love of God is made real’ is what we should focus on. Please use the comments section to add your thoughts and questions. Many likely have the same questions as you!!!