Part 14 of a Blog Series Called “How Did We Get Here?” (click here to go to the beginning), the Story of How I was Called to Start Life Mission Church and What Got Us to Where We are Today.
Before calling anyone, I had a dilemma I faced. Jeremy had given the green light to start gathering and building a team, but I didn’t know quite how I wanted to do that. After all, this was our church family, and though it’s remarkably similar to seeing your kids move out of the house in that it’s good, healthy, and necessary to grow families (multiplication by subtraction), I knew I didn’t want to just go start gathering people and inviting people to join us. I really, really believed that God would simply bring the right people for the team. The truth is, I didn’t want to build it…I wanted God to build it. After all, it was His work that He started in me, and it is and will always be His church. And truthfully, it’s not that I thought it would be wrong to gather and build, I just felt strongly that despite having the green light to gather and build, I instead wanted to just wait and trust. So Katie and I decided that we would finally let people know what was going on in our lives, but without asking anyone to join us or even pray about joining us. Not even our closest friends. This was a difficult decision to follow through on, but we believed it was the right thing for us to do.
Over the next couple weeks we would have one-on-one conversations with our friends to let them know, finally, what God had been doing in us the previous year. Many of those conversations included apologies from me for being so inadvertently distant and closed off. It was weird to hear certain words and phrases come out of my mouth in front of people. But it was so refreshing to be able to actually share all of this with those that we loved, and what was even better, was hearing nothing but positive support and affirmation from everyone that we talked with.
I can’t even tell you how many times we heard common phrases such as “it’s about time” or “this doesn’t surprise us at all” or “my wife and I have talked about this before” or “we figured you were asking us over to talk about this.” It was pretty crazy. “Totes cray” as the kids these days say.
But in all of these, we still made it a point to not ask anyone “so what do you think” or “what will you guys do” or even something like “of course we would love to have you guys” or “I could really see you doing [insert ministry role here] in this church.” I knew that it had to be just us sharing what God was doing, and not even hinting at anything along those lines.
The hard thing about this, to be honest, was that in our own insecurity, we wondered if there were some of our friends that would maybe be hurt or insulted that we didn’t ask them to join us, as if we didn’t think much of them. It pained us to think that some would have those feelings, and yet there was no real way of letting people know “hey, we’re starting a church, but we’re not asking anyone to join us!” So that part was difficult, personally, for us, and we just simply prayed that the Holy Spirit would be the One orchestrating and directing.
Through these get-togethers, some (though not many), instantly “knew.” Of those, a few spoke up right then and there, and yet others kept their “knowing” to themselves to go home and, unbeknownst to us, pray with each other to be doubly sure. The vast majority, however, simply left our house stoked after praying for us and gave absolutely no indication either way on what was going on in their minds. It was a lot of fun being able to share all of this with people, and I can remember every meeting so clearly. Katie and I had also early on decided that we wouldn’t try to guess afterwards who we thought would do what, because even in our own experience at theMovement and in other ways, we knew to simply and only expect the unexpected.
So we were slowly getting on the on-ramp. But soon we’d be going from zero to sixty.
When have you been able to do something that was “allowed,” but decided not to anyway? What do you think is more difficult, being told not to do something, even though you know it’s right, or being told you can do something, but thinking that you shouldn’t (even if it’s okay to do)?
It’s Go Time: The time frame got bumped up…way up.