Even where I cannot see, God continuously provides.
I know this is true because it’s happened over and over again. You would think I’d be less surprised when it happens now, but there’s always a layer of stubbornness that eventually gives way to awesome wonder.
I remember a recent season when my first church plant was coming to a close. (Actually, I should say it was changing, not closing, since most of the people remain connected in community.)
I thought to myself, what am I supposed to do now? I wasn't worried about it, but I knew change that I could not see was coming. A new door was about to open.
Some context first. For a couple of years prior, a friend and I were having conversations about a new church community in our city for the, "outsiders". You know the ones, the people that surrounded Jesus, yet were simultaneously outcasts in their regular society. What would a church for the outsiders look like in the here and now?
For me, I had always advocated for a church plant; she wasn't on board for that size of commitment...yet.
Two days before Christmas I got a message from her, "let's do an event.” Basically, an idea for a kind of a service, once a month, to make inroads to the outsider community.
Let me think about it, I replied.
Inside I knew I wasn’t interested in doing an event. It’s easy for a church to do cool events/services to cater to a particular demographic. That wasn’t very appealing, it lacked a level of depth I think is necessary for any community, especially one for the outsiders. We needed depth for longevity, an event wasn't going to cut it.
Two days after Christmas I replied, "I'm not interested in an event, anybody can do something cool. But I'd do a church plant."
This time a surprising reply, "Ok, let’s do it...."
I don’t know what changed in either of us, other than the timing was God ordained. Right when my first church plant closed a new one came out of nowhere to begin.
Two months later Cypher Church launched and we've been figuring out how to live out community with the “outsiders” who’d otherwise never fit into contemporary churches ever since.
God always has a plan. Sometimes we can’t see how far it goes, but we get signposts along the way confirming we’re on the right track. The transformations seen in Cypher Church in our brief time have been miraculous to say the least. The pursuit without a known path has yielded incredible moments.
How did this experience impacted my writing? For one, instead of preaching (which I’ve never really done in a traditional sense) I changed to accommodate a new way of communicating. Rather than 30 minute teaching sessions, I had to distill my ideas down to 5 minute spoken word projects instead. A good challenge to communicate effectively.
The other is the one I cannot see. The work to translate beliefs and language we take for granted in church culture for the next generation who have no religious memory. This work seems to be shaping a future book. Where it goes I don't know because I can't see that far ahead. But even where I cannot see, God can, and I'm happy to meander down the path looking for signposts along the way to confirm I'm headed in a good direction.
Let's connect. My blog on church and culture. Check out my adult colouring book too.