To pull from the ever famous remarks of presidents at the annual state of the union address, "The state of The Pathway is good." However, it doesn't end there. We are good today but we are not satisfied with "good." We want to see the "greatness" of God reflected in the lives that are being changed in Tacoma and the growth of his Kingdom.
I would describe the state of The Pathway as good for 4 specific reasons...
1) We are witnessing the power of God through changed lives. One quick story: Maria is the newest member of our Community Group. She has a relationship with Jesus but she comes from an all too typical Catholic background filled with frustration, guilt and bitterness. She gave up on "church" and the "mission of God" a long time ago because she felt that it was impossible to live up to all the rules of religion. She didn't think she was good enough so she was satisfied with a very small faith that focused on personal prayer and confession. Over the course of the last several months we are seeing a transformation in Maria. She is coming to an even stronger realization that she can't live up to the rules of religion but she is growing in hope as she learns more and more the true meaning of grace. She is even beginning to explore what it looks like to make disciples of her children. I was filled with so much joy a while back when she texted me that she had just read an amazing passage in Colossians and she decided to read it to her children! Praise Jesus for changed lives!
2) New Leaders are being trained and stepping up. I don't really know very much about how to plant a church in Tacoma. It's the first time we've done it. There are very few things I knew with certainty starting out. However, one thing I did know is that we had to train leaders and they would have to step up and lead. Another story: We met Levi last summer by hanging out at a local park and loving on people, meeting needs and sharing the gospel. Levi is young, has had a tough life in a lot of ways and came to Christ in jail. He has been growing in his walk with Jesus over the past several years and has expressed a strong desire to lead youth at The Pathway. He's had his share of struggles over the past year but he has been willing to do the behind the scenes, unrecognized grunt work and wait for God's timing for him to step up in lead. In the mean time he has taken the initiative to invest in the lives of youth and allow me to invest in him. Last week we finally came to the decision that he would begin leading the guys youth Community Group so that I can step back and focus on other areas of Leadership. Praise God for new Leaders!
3) Reproduction: God hasn't called us to simply plant a church in Tacoma. God has called us to plant the gospel in Tacoma and he has told us that the best and most effective way for us to do that is by starting Community Groups that start Community Groups that start Community Groups and so on and so forth. Towards the end of last year we hit some bumps in the road, we tried to reproduce when we weren't ready and we ended up going from 6 CG's to three. However, what Satan meant for his good our God turned for his good. Our Community Groups have grown in depth and some have grown in numbers. One of our Community Groups grew to the point of needing to reproduce and a new CG was birthed last week. We are already talking with Future Leaders and praying and planning towards the start of more new CG's. Praise Jesus for reproduction!
4) The hope of momentum through the summer. Hope in what has not yet happened is a good thing. But hope without faith is futile. We believe God is going to do some huge things this summer. Summer is unique in the Northwest. Due to the whether, you see very few people 9-10 months out of the year but when summer comes, people are everywhere. We are praying big prayers leading into this summer. We actually have a church this summer, as opposed to a Leadership Team and a few random people like last year. That is hopeful. We have 4 interns coming in this summer who will be living in 2 apartments downtown and their sole purpose is to plant the gospel in the lives of people. We have 2 mission teams coming to saturate our community with the gospel. But most importantly we have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that gives us hope and faith. Please pray for momentum and join us in praying for at least 20 new believers and 5 new Community Groups as a result of the work God does this summer. It's a big prayer but we serve a big God!
"How are things going?" The state of The Pathway is good. But we believe the truth found in Ephesians 3:20 that we serve a God who can do "immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine." The state of The Pathway is good but we are not satisfied with that answer. We want more for Tacoma. We want more for God!