Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Leadership Challenge & God's Provision

Those of you who have been following our journey for several years now know that for the longest time our greatest challenge, our greatest deficit, our greatest need was leadership.  For over a year I would shamelessly beg through my blogs and my newsletters that we desperately needed the help of some mature Christian leaders.  Kelli and I dedicated one whole trip to Texas to recruiting singles, couples or families to move their lives to Tacoma to help us make disciples.  For the longest time it felt like God was not moving.  It seemed that God was not answering.  It seemed that nothing would happen.

Then, in what felt like a blink of an eye... God said yes.  It kind of reminds me of bed time with my kids.  We usually let them have a small cup of chocolate milk before bed.  Healthy?  Probably not.  But it's just one of those things we stumbled upon that makes them smile and makes bed time easier.  Well, often times Rylan will start asking me an hour early for her chocolate milk.  I seldom respond with a "no".  Sometimes I say, "Not yet sweetheart".  Or I'll just keep quiet, not responding at all, knowing the time is coming.  Then, when that time finally comes and I let them know it's time for chocolate milk, they get so excited, start screaming and yelling frantically about which cup they want their treat in and then they run and jump on the couch because they know that's where they need to be to receive their reward.  However, in the midst of the frenzy, they seldom say thank you.  They rarely recognize that they have been asking for the milk for so long and when I finally give it to them they are so consumed by the goodness of the treat, they don't acknowledge the one who provided it.

That little story describes how I feel I've acted as the recipient of God's answer to my prayer.  I begged and I pleaded with him to provide leaders and for the longest time it seemed that he was either saying "no" or just not responding at all.  When in reality, he had a plan all along.  He knew what he was doing.  He knows what he's doing.  And he has provided so perfectly.  So graciously.  How has he provided?  Let me just tell you...

Towards the end of last year God brought 2 young adult ladies to serve with us for a month or so.  They were awesome.  A breath of fresh air.  They were energy and life to us as we have been exhausted and tired.  Right before they were about to move on I shared with our small leadership team, and they happened to be present, that I felt like God wanted us to pursue some specific leadership.  Two specific positions were a Kids Ministry Director and a Director of Intentional Communities.  Shortly there after these ladies came to me and told me they wanted to fill those spots for the next 6 months.  Before I knew it, they had decided to move their lives to Tacoma permanently.  God has used Jenna to grow our Kids Ministry from 5-6 kids to 30+ and has used both of them to plant an Intentional Community in their apartment complex where several people have already come to know Jesus.  God has used Stacie to help us recruit and train leaders, launch Intentional Communities, develop a direction and vision for our IC's and to develop an intentional discipleship process.  

While all this was going on God had also been stirring and moving in the heart of one of our former interns.  When Kyler left us after her summer she knew that God had uniquely connected her heart with Tacoma.  She was so committed to this that she went home and worked through her calling with her then boyfriend, shortly to be fiance, and now husband Chase.  They wrestled for a year with this calling and Chase even came up on his own to see if Tacoma was the place for him.  Along the way the challenges of ministry were overflowing my plate and I realized I needed help with the day to day aspects of ministry.  Kyler and Chase answered God's call to Tacoma by moving here a week after their honeymoon.  Kyler has stepped in to be our Ministry Assistant and they have both been passionately living as missionaries in their apartment complex where they are planning to start an Intentional Community.

While all this was going on we still didn't have a worship leader.  For those who have heard me try to lead worship, you know this was something that needed to change!  We have a sister church in Tacoma called Discovery and their pastor has been nothing but a support and encouragement to us since we've been here.  He knew of our need, connected us with a young worship leader named Donna and then blessed her and her husband to be sent out to serve with us.  An amazing demonstration of a heart for the kingdom.  The other area where we definitely lacking was in the "gray hair" department.  Our church is very young and we desperately needed some committed believers to be a part of The Pathway not in an official position, but just as regular people pursuing Jesus.  I approached another church in our area and asked their pastor if they could send us such a couple.  They prayed and approached 5 couples about the possibility and God pulled on the heart of Duke and Miri!  Now they are not exactly gray hairs... although I like to give them a hard time... but all their kids are out of the house and they have so much wisdom and life experience to share with our church.

All that has been going on and God has also been raising up leaders within as well.  One of our interns from this past summer is moving back to help us full-time in March and another young single lady is moving from Texas in a few months to be a part of The Pathway.  It's simply been amazing to watch God move in response to not only my prayers, but your prayers as well.

All I can do as I reflect on the leadership challenge we faced and how God is providing is to say thank you Jesus.  He knows what we need when we need it.  My challenge for you is this.  What might God be calling you to do that seems absolutely crazy?  Is he calling you to help a church plant?  Not as a pastor or worship leader, just as a committed disciple of Jesus.  We still have needs... a youth pastor, a future church planter, an associate pastor and more IC leaders.  But there are similar needs all around you.  You might be the solution to the leadership challenge that a church plant is facing today!  Pray and see how God responds.

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