We started a Monday afternoon small group a while back that grew to about 6 people but it was always a different 6 and then kind of faded when bad weather hit because we were having it outdoors. Antwon and I brainstormed and restarted a few weeks ago. So far it is just me and him so please pray that we would be faithful to invite more unchurched and lost friends. Antwon has agreed to work towards leading that group which is very exciting!
Our Sunday group is where I want to spend most of my time and honestly confess my backwards heart. Those who know me and anyone on our leadership team you know that we have prayed for a diverse church from the very beginning and at the core of our church we have a heart to bring spiritual & physical restoration to the poor, broken, forgotten, needy... the "outcast." Well, a lesson I should have learned a long time ago... be careful what you pray for because God just might give it to you... has become very relevant in my life!
I think in my heart I truly wanted a diverse church that included the "outcast" as a part of the church and not just a "ministry" of the church, but I wanted God to birth the church in the order that was convenient for me. I wanted him to connect us with lots of cool, young, techsavvy people who would bring innovative ideas to the table so we could have a church "worthy" of church planting in 2010. I truly wanted God to bring us those people who have a heart for the "outcast," and then together we would begin to bring diversity to our church... How ignorant I am!
What God has decided to do instead is bring us a church where I am the minority in every way... ethnically, economically, marital status... our church is diverse, but the lost, unchurched, poor "outcast" has become the foundation and it is hard for me to accept. One of the most difficult things about reaching the poor is that it is almost impossible to communicate with them. Every church planting class I took in seminary and since has emphasized the importance of social media. Okay seriously, the people God has brought to The Pathway seldom have a home phone, much less have a clue how to afford a cell phone or stay connected via our website,facebook and twitter! Talk about frustrating! Now I could ramble on and complain about this for ages, which is my sinful tendency, or I could accept what God has beautifully begun to piece together and trust him with the results.
What has God taught me through this unusual church birthing process? That's easy. Everyone, including our 30 year old schizophrenic, our 2 brothers with mental handicaps, single mom full of questions whose rebellious & recently saved daughter brought her to church, our 21 year old Montana intern, our 19 year old homeless guy, our 50 year old Cuban single dad and everyone in between, every single one of them is a soul, created by God, separated from him by sin and desperately in need of a Savior. All of these people need Jesus and I have decided, no matter what order God decides to piece together our diverse church, I will be thankful and faithful to the call he has placed on my life.
Jesus-- I'm sorry I wanted it my "selfish" way. Thank you for moving despite me. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your church.