You don’t think of 22 days being that long of a time period. It’s less than a month but long for a trip. How many consecutive 22 days have really mattered?
We started 22 days of prayer at Western Hills this past Sunday. Here’s the bulk of how I unpacked it:
There is much good happening. A potentially brutally hard transition has gone well. Our family feels loved and couldn’t have asked for this move to gone any better. We’ve seen people start their journey with Jesus, wounds starting to heal, worship is packed, and there is an overall feeling of “Yea, God.”
We’re growing, we’re talking about the right things – worship, doing life together, figuring out how to bless our community – we’re asking the right questions. It’s all good, right?
It’s mostly good. One of the side-effects of growth is that it reveals what your work areas are very clearly. Here are some of the things Iâ€™m noticing as we grow…
Where is our safe place for the lost to investigate Jesus….so they can become worshippers?
Where and how do we move our worshippers into living life connected, together?
Where and how do we grow new believers in Christ to point where they act compassionately towards their world? Their community?
Where do people get front row care for their soul?
Where can a young married couple go to get some help for their marriage? Where do our out of high school, not yet married crew go to figure out their faith? What about new parents help in raising their kids? Unmarried college aged singles to grow and serve in their faith? Where can new families – no matter what age they are, what season of life they are in – connect with other families?
Where & how do we develop & deepen believers to leaders that advance the mission of God at WH?
What tools and characteristics do these leaders, these growing followers of Jesus have?
What vehicles do we have to bless the community?
How are we mobilizing our people to bless and impact the community?
On a more personal level, how long can I run at this pace? Can one pastor do all of this?
When and where and how do we start tackling these questions?
If we are going to bless our community, we’re going to have to answer these questions. And there is probably 1 of 3 reactions you’re having right now.
Reaction 1: Cue the Monty Python clip — Run away, run away…itâ€™s a huge killer rabbit with huge fangs. Too big, too much work, too many obstacles, to many issues…just punt. We know that’s not a real option, even if we feel that way at times.
Reaction 2: Defensive. Youâ€™re trying to figure out how weâ€™ve answered that in the past or how these arenâ€™t the right questions or â€œWhat about this program, or this ministry.â€ Before we get to defensive, hereâ€™s my gentle push… If what we are doing is really working, why are we still asking these questions? Are we producing leaders who lead others to act compassionately and do life together? Are we reproducing spiritual leaders who care for the souls of others?
Reaction 3: This is the one Iâ€™m tempted the most to do…ACTION PLANS!!! Letâ€™s make some charts, have some meetings, form some committees to start new programs. Letâ€™s get this group of people right here and start the â€œSafe Place For People To Investigate Jesus Team.â€ The SPFPTIJ Team. They are going to start a SPFPTIJ Ministry with a program for every one of these questions.
But maybe thereâ€™s a the 4th Reaction option to us:
Seek Godâ€™s Face. Seek Godâ€™s Face.
Donâ€™t do anything…yet. Donâ€™t panic, donâ€™t defend, donâ€™t act…just seek Godâ€™s face. And listen. Just be still, know that He is God. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m inviting you to do with us for the next 22 days. Seek Godâ€™s Face. There are 22 days between now and April 19th.
Here’s the challenge – will you spend 2 minutes a day at 2 pm for the next 22 days seeking Godâ€™s face about these questions.
Where do we start?
Fortunately, Western Hills has already answered this. As God would have it, even before I came on the scene, this church believed there were three key areas that needed to be addressed and focused on for the year 2009. Prayer, stewardship, and leadership.
Each of these values speaks to our questions and for the next 22 days, we’re going to pray through these lenses about our questions. Iâ€™ll unpack each one of these values. What does it mean? How does it speak to our list of questions? How are we going to pray through it? This week is Stewardship.