After Eight Good Years, Where Do We Go From Here?
Looking Back on Eight Years
As I look back on our first eight years, the main word that comes to mind is “faithful.” Sure, we’ve tried to be faithful to the Lord and faithful to the call, but I’m not talking about us. When I think of our first eight years, I think of the faithfulness of our God.
We started as a scrappy little bunch. We spent the next 6-7 years doing all we knew to do, listening for the Lord’s leading together, getting some things right, and making lots of mistakes along the way. And God has been faithful to his purpose and his promise, through Jesus, to build his Church.
Over the last 12-18 months we have seen God do some stabilizing things among us, maybe the biggest of those being raising up some exceptional leaders. And as he has done these stabilizing things, we have sensed him closing the chapter on our first season of life as a church.
Looking Forward to What’s Next
As we end season one and transition into season two, our elders and staff team have been praying and talking a lot, asking the Lord what he wants from us in the next season. While those prayers are ongoing, we do believe that God is beginning to answer. So I would like to share with you a few things we think the Lord may be saying to us about our future…
It is time to be more intentional in planting new churches. While we have participated in planting churches in indirect ways, we believe the Lord wants us to take the lead in starting some new churches. We think this means asking the Lord to show us people and places that need new churches and to raise up men and women to go to these people and places, some from within our own church family.
Set aside 10% of our giving for missions and church planting. This will require some sacrifice on the front side, but we believe that our obedience in faith will result in a harvest of righteousness and that God will supply all of our needs (2 Cor. 9:6-11).
Engage the brokenness in our city in a deeper way. Brokenness is all around us, and we obviously cannot engage everywhere, but a few spaces the Lord has stirred our hearts for are…
- Orphaned and vulnerable children. This includes adopting, fostering, supporting parents, working with pregnant women in crisis who are considering abortion, and serving organizations who serve these groups.
- Men and marriages. Marriages are struggling and fracturing all around us, and a big part of why is the brokenness, hurt, and struggle in men. We want engage both.
- Racial divisions. Our county is plagued with mostly unspoken racial tension that does not please the Lord. The issues are complicated and will not be easily undone, but we believe the Lord wants us to begin praying and watching for ways he is leading us to engage.
The Body Needs All Its Parts
These are just a few of the things we think God is saying to us as a church. We will continue to pray, and we expect God to continue to speak. As I read and pray through 1 Corinthians 12:14-21 it is increasingly clear to me that all the parts of the body are necessary to discern the full will of God for us as a church. So I would like to ask you to pray, too.
Will you begin praying about each of these things and specifically asking the Lord what he wants for us as a church and what things he wants to do among us? As you hear the Lord speaking, we want to hear that. Is he confirming some of these things in your own heart? Is he burdening your heart for one of the areas in particular, something that you need to get personally involved in? We want to hear that. Is God putting something else on your heart, maybe something he hasn’t said to us yet? We also want to hear that. And we believe that God will work through us all to lead us into his good and perfect will.
Church, I’m encouraged about the future. It will require some sacrifice, and we will have to take some risks in faith on things only God can do. But it excites me to think about the stories we will be able to tell about the Lord’s faithfulness in our next eight years. Let’s dive in it together, and see what God will do!