Theses are trying times for many of us. They have been so for 10 or more years in ministry if we’re willing to admit. Perhaps longer. I only came on the ministry scene in 2000. Now that I’ve read certain books and followed bloggers for that time I realize that there’s been elements of the church, way out on the fringe that have been doing some serious adapting since the Hippy Movement in the 60s and the Punk Movement in the 70s. I think some of us that were doing ministry during those times saw those changes as threats rather than opportunities to do ministry. I haven’t ever had that conversation, I’m just going to guess that’s what was going on. That would have probably been my first reaction. I’m just trying to learn from our history.
I have for years longed that we return to being what we originally were: a movement. At best of times we’re a praying, worshiping, serving, contagious group of Christ-followers. Willing to go to great lengths and us inspiring innovations to tell people about Jesus. At worst we’ve been a disorganized band of rabble, or to the other extreme a top heavy bureaucracy. I think we’ve moved away from both of those extremes in some cases, some not.
By rabble I’m not referring to D.S. Warner and his posse. They had purpose, motivation, and saw fruit from their labors. They used the tools and gifts they had to spread the Gospel. Riding into town singing from a stagecoach, publishing a worldwide periodical, and floating down a river town to town are great innovations for the 19th century church! They were inspired and changed. They prayed, thought of ways they could reach out, and off they went. Do any of us have that sort of energy about our neighbors and loved ones that don’t follow Jesus? I know there are bright spots but a lot of those stories are in the past. I know I’m only at the threshold, asking the Father to give me those things. To give us those things.
God is calling me, us back to movement. Those desires are not my own. The Father has placed them there. I’m creative, but every personality test I’ve taken says that “You don’t like change, and you thrive in structure. Longing to keep things the way they are. You don’t do change well.” Are those the things that a revolutionary carries inside himself? Nope. God is calling me to start a movement in the Northwest. I don’t know how its going to come together, but I know that’s what I have to step into. As scary movement is, we mus’ant shirk or turn from it. We’ve forgotten what it means to count on God in America. We’ve been around the world. Its easy to count on God when you have nothing. We have the curse of wealth and the American way of self reliance. It’s helped our nation, but its killing our souls.
In these trying times, lets build those muscles of trust in the Father. This is “Hell Week,” this is “Two-a-Days”, or like we called preseason in the AU Soccer program “all-a-days”. We can become stronger, or we can collapse. I hope we choose strength. I hope we can all tap into that spiritual muscle memory we have from our own stories.
So I pray. I hope. I take it one day at a time. One person at a time. I hope to see new growth on our small vine. I hope I’m not alone.