5 years ago, Allyssa and I started praying about planting a church.
This past Sunday we held our 11th weekly worship service. #whatajourney
This church planting experience has been a journey. God has worked in amazing ways, but not often how I expected.
Some doors have just flung open. Others we have had to knock on over and over again.
We’ve worked hard. Maybe too hard. Maybe not hard enough?
Allyssa and I have even fought over things. More than once. More than twice. I bet you never would have guessed that our marriage isn’t always perfect. And church planting has put a strain on our marriage and our new family. Did I mention we’ve been trying to raise a kid during this whole time? #themanyfacesoffinn
I’m still learning to trust God. And I find it’s still hard to do.
There’s nothing simple about what we’re doing. God has built, almost simultaneously, a worshiping community in one of Columbus’ top neighborhoods and a new community development organization in one of Columbus’ transitioning neighborhoods. The “distance” between these neighborhoods often feels great, even though they are only separated by a river and an interstate. Sometimes I feel spiritual whiplash navigating these different worlds. Yet, we believe the Gospel can bridge any divide, so we press on. (I hope God really can do the impossible.)
We might be doing too much. We might not be doing enough. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty in this line of work.
All and all, it’s hard, beautiful, painful, worth it, and downright exciting (and terrifying).
With all of this, there are a four things that keep me going. Here they are.
1. My Call
You see, you can fight and scratch and strive to be successful, but that desire for success won’t sustain you when things get hard. In fact, a desire for success might just suffocate you when things get tough, for fear that “success” is no longer possible. When we try to succeed, defeat can have the final word. When we try to be faithful, God always wins. If you’re desire is to be faithful—to live into a call that God has placed on your life—well, that holds. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, and even if I did, I couldn’t—because I’ve been called.
2. My Wife
Allyssa is a true leader, who loves God and people. Her unique skills and calling have made this church start possible. If you’re a part of Central City, you know this is true. She basically runs everything. Many weeks, I feel as if I do very little. Without her, I’m not sure this would be working. I can’t thank her enough for catching this vision four years ago. She’s the best.
3. The Future
I remained convinced that God has amazing things in store for the future. Even when things get hard, or seem to not be working, I remain convinced that God will work all things out—they might not be what I expected, but they will be good. I choose to be faithful today because I trust God will make something of it tomorrow. I believe the future is a story yet to be written, and when we choose to be faithful to God today, that story gets better and better.
4. The Opportunity
I live on a street where women sell their body to get by and people park their cars to buy drugs. Young kids of different races won’t go to certain parts of the neighborhood for fear of being jumped. Young families struggle. People are overdosing. Some would see these as needs. I try, in my understanding of God’s economy, to see these as opportunities. We have a ready workforce, a community ripe for miracles, recovery, and reconciliation. While I have very little to offer, I trust that with a humble spirit and a bold faith, God can do the impossible through us all. I might get tired. I might worry about whether my sermon was any good, or whether people will like our worship set that day, but at the end of the day, I drive home to a neighborhood that is both beautiful and riddled with opportunities. The possibilities keep me going.
These are four things that keep me going. How about you? What keeps you going as you live into God’s call on your life?
Next week I’ll post four things that try and steal my attention. Things that I care about, but wish I didn’t: things I’m tempted to care about too much.