I’ve spent the last couple months on hiatus from writing allowing the season to percolate in my heart and mind. Like the smell of a quality coffee brewing, God has brought a new aroma of perspective. It has helped to clarify who I am and where God is leading. If you want to indulge me for a few minutes, I invite you to keep reading.

Training Season

Sometimes there are seasons of your life that you wish away in the middle but value in the end. I believe much of life is a cycle of learning that requires pain to further purpose. Without the seasons of difficulty, we are unlikely to move towards destiny. It’s adversity that compels us to rethink, evaluate, learn, and grow. Perhaps what you see as resistance in your life is the actually refining for what’s next.

I’ve learned that the good and the bad experiences alike are meant to draw me to Jesus and develop me for mission. The years Moses spent as an adopted child in a foreign culture and the years Moses spent as a shepherd in the wilderness were not his assignment, they were his training. The assignment was a task beyond his ability but built on his past. God called him to free his biological family from his adopted family. Only Moses could have spoken into both families and navigated the tension.  God called Moses to lead the people through the wilderness. Only Moses could have used both his Egyptian education and Wilderness education to guide the Hebrews forward.

God never wastes your circumstances.

Life On Mission

After a season of self-awareness and refining, God has put the pieces of my life together to reveal the assignment: plant a gospel-centered, city-transformative, multi-ethnic, mission. Then, out of the mission grows a church community.  Hundreds of years ago priests would travel to new areas and establish a Mission. The Mission was a place of worship but it was also a place of holistic community involvement. Ed Stetzer writes, “While it’s common for people to say, “The church has a mission,” a better way to talk about mission is “God’s mission has a church” (Ephesians 3:7–13). God’s mission is the starting place for understanding the church and its mission.” Somehow years ago we began focusing more on doing “successful” church then we did on being effective on mission. 1268697-Alan-Hirsch-Quote-It-s-not-so-much-that-the-church-has-a-mission

Our hope is to refocus our lives on the mission of God to make disciples of all peoples and to serve faithfully wherever he leads us. We long for a church community that can be spiritually distinct but not societally segregated. Jesus displayed a different brand of “church” than we often see today. The method of Jesus to seek and save the lost and to reach people with the life-changing power He possessed was to go find them. The Samaritan Woman at the well in John 4, the blind man Jesus healed in John 9, the demon-possessed man Jesus set free in Luke 8, the leper Jesus touched in Matthew 8 are all examples of the Jesus model. The bulk of ministry Jesus did was in public spaces meeting broken people where they were at. Jesus went out of his way, both geographically and culturally, to change lives. In order for the church to truly reach the broken and influence them with the power of God, we must take on the Jesus model of incarnation.

Moving Forward

And so, we will embark on the mission this fall. Our first step is to do an 18-month residency with a church in Arkansas called Mosaic. They are intentional about being on mission and letting God grow His church out of it. They are willingly entrenched into the socio-economic state of their city and making a massive impact through non-profits. They are attracting diversity and worshipping together. Their influence far outreaches their attendance and that is a badge of honor.

For me, this is a journey that compliments everything about who God has prepared me to be. Much like Moses, I’m ready to step into the assignment God has been prepping for many years. After the 18-month residency program, we will launch the mission God has put in our hearts. We are leaving that mission location open for now. This journey is a large step of faith for our family but we have full confidence that it is aligned with God’s heart and purpose.

Wherever you are at right now has purpose. Never lose sight of the potential God is building in you. Never let circumstances dictate your faith. Romans 8 talks about how nothing can separate you from the love of God. While on one hand, it is correct to interpret this as God’s job to hold on to us, we can also see within Paul’s declaration that it is an invitation for us to never let go of God. For God’s sake we endure all things because we know God’s love is faithful and we choose to never let go of it.

Perhaps you have been questioning if God’s love still has ahold of you. It’s also possible that God is asking you if you are still choosing to hold on to Him. Will you keep holding on to God’s love even when things are difficult, confusing, and painful? Will you trust that His love is always available, ever-faithful, and eternally secure?

I look forward to returning to my weekly writings where I can update you on our journey and continue to share insight into life and faith. If you are interested in finding out more about our vision, how to support us, and how we’ll get there – please feel free to contact me!

-Josh