I’d like to tell the story of how Deb and I got started on this journey ten years ago. I will try to stay objective and I think the principles will apply both to the 0-1 and the Legacy expressions of church. A decade ago we were in a perfect storm. I was wounded, angry, and disillusioned. I had been in ministry for 30 years and had my share of failures and successes but now I was at my wit’s end. I saw so much potential in the ministry and yet it was the ankle-biting things that were consuming all my time, emotions, and energy. I was done! Ever been there in ministry? Ever been there in life? Where you’re just done? Yeah, you could stick a fork in me. But as much as I could not see what was really happening behind the curtain, I would later find out that Jesus was preparing us for a new season of fruitfulness.
I love the story of Joseph. A snotty-nosed kid that might have been a little too big for his britches but certainly didn’t deserve to be sold into slavery, set up by an adulterous hussy, and then thrown into jail to rot. I mean really, did Joseph deserve all that for being Daddy’s favorite with a cool coat and a few dreams? But God was at work. Even in all that pain, injustice, and betrayal, God had a plan. And Joseph was growing and developing through every arduous day of it. And then it happened. He was miraculously rescued by God and his purpose was made clear. He had been in the Father’s tough training program for the purpose of delivering nations from starvation. Joseph sums it all up when his conniving and cowardly brothers came with their hat in their hand, fearful of what possible revenge could be taken, and Joseph confidently and mercifully states;
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen 50.20-21)
My mentor used to say, “We cry out to God when the very foundation of our lives is being shaken only to find out that God is doing the shaking.” I know people are angry and hurt by the condition of the church and probably what others have done to them in the name of the church or some other Christian organization. We are a wounded lot. But will we allow bitterness to drive our attitudes and actions? Or will we see these tough times as the training grounds that God is using to develop us into better disciple-makers, leaders, shepherds of the flock? That decision my friends will determine our trajectory for either being part of the solution or perpetuating the problem. More later…