Monday, October 28, 2013

Partnership & other things...

Praising Jesus as we wrapped up our 2013 vision series yesterday.  It is hard for me to believe that was our fourth vision series as a church!  Where on earth does the time go?  Part 3 of our vision series boiled down to 3 things.  The local church, commitment and partnership.  We talked a great deal about the reality that part of our vision includes becoming a church.  Right now we are still very much a church plant.  But we are not content with that.  We want to become self-sustaining and more importantly reproducing.  We talked about the importance of commitment to Christ and the local church and discussed what it looks like for individual believers to become covenanted partners with The Pathway.

With the partnership portion of our vision series paving the way, I taught our first ever Partnership class last night.  I'd say the class itself went well.  No matter what you do to prepare for something, the first time always has its ups and downs.  We had a much bigger turnout than I expected, praise Jesus, with over 30 adults in attendance.  I learned very quickly that in the future we need to keep the class smaller so that people can engage more effectively and ask more questions.  I learned what people care about, what they're interested in and that their questions about partnership are different than what I expected.

But most importantly, I learned that there are a good number of people who care deeply about being the church in Tacoma.  My heart was encouraged by the number of people in attendance but I was also excited about who was in attendance.  We had diversity in age, race and gender.  We had new believers, seasoned believers and not-yet believers in attendance.  When it was all said and done I learned a lot, and I think the folks in attendance did to.  Most importantly, we have 25 covenanted partners of The Pathway church.  Twenty-five people who said I'm all in for the next year of my life and I'm want the leadership of the church to hold me accountable to my commitment.  That's a big deal in my book.

Please pray for our new partners.  Pray that the passion doesn't die.  Pray that the commitments are taken seriously.  Pray that accountability happens and that grace is poured out on all of us.  Pray that these 25 people turn into 50 people.  And those 50 people turn into 100 and so on and so forth as the church spreads it's wings in Tacoma and beyond!

I'd also like to ask for prayers for my family.  We've had a challenging month in a lot of ways.  I always like to be as transparent as possible in my blog, but we're just worn out.  We've had some emotional/relational struggles.  We've had crazy things happen.  Our dog got hit by a car last week.  Praise the Lord she's ok and didn't need surgery!  Good ole' Bobby screwed up on our taxes last year and we had been figuring it out, but it all kind of hit the fan this month.  And then we got a citation from the city of Tacoma that the renovations done on our house before we bought it were not done with the proper permits.  We've been working through what this means but it has the potential to be a pandora's box of time, money and energy.  A friend reminded me that when these things happen, it usually means Satan is attacking.  And Satan usually attacks when God is in the midst of doing something big.  I needed that reminder!

Thanks for letting me share the joys and the struggles.  In regard to the struggles, it truly has been amazing to see God provide for every single one of our needs (inspire of my small faith at times).  Thanks for your prayers.  All who read this are truly a part of The Pathway and we thank God for every single one of you!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Most of the time when we think of God's provision we think of material things (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all).  We think of God providing for us financially.  Sometimes we just don't have enough income to pay the bills.  We also think of God providing tangible goods.  Sometimes we see God provide vehicles for people who need transportation, food for the hungry or even clothes and kid stuff for young parents having a new baby.  We even see God provide food for the hungry or water for the thirsty.

But God has taught me a lot over the past few years about his provision of people.  When I think of God providing people I think a lot about Moses and that famous conversation he had with his father-in-law Jethro.  Moses was the leader of the Israelite people.  In a lot of ways they looked at him as their savior.  After leading them out of slavery and oppression and into the promised land, he became overwhelmed with the task of leading so many people.  He was spending an overwhelming amount of time settling disputes and handling small issues between people that could be handled by any good leader.  So Jethro stepped in and told him he needed to share the load.  He needed to delegate.  What he needed was people.  And God provided.

I also think of the Apostles in the first century church.  Early in the book of Acts we see the church grow like crazy.  Thousands of people gave their lives to Jesus and the Apostles quickly became consumed with all the needs of the people.  They found themselves spending so much time meeting tangible needs that they were neglecting the ministry of the Word.  Thankfully, God revealed to them the need for deacons, servant-leaders who could carry a great deal of the day-to-day responsibilities of the church so the Apostles could be effective in their areas of leadership.

All that to say God has taught me the value of shared leadership and the provision of people.  From the very beginning of The Pathway we had 3 other adults on our team who shared responsibilities.  When we needed someone to take on the role of Kids Ministry Director, Intentional Communities Director and worship leader God provided people from unexpected places.  And when we just needed some spiritual maturity and missional passion injected into our congregation of new and not-yet-believers, God provided people from places like Puyallup, WA and Ada, OK!  His provision amazes me.

Most recently we've been praying for God to provide us with a worship leader while Donna, our current worship leader, is on maternity leave.  Every possibility we came up with kept falling through and she was slated to wrap up at the end of this month and be out through January.  For any of you who have heard me lead worship... well, lets just say we don't want to go down that route again!  So we've been praying.  I was in Oklahoma this weekend and shared specifically with some people our need for a worship leader.

Then, just as God always does, he provided.  It was either the Sunday or Monday that I was in Oklahoma that I got an email from a worship leader that's a part of another church here in Tacoma offering to help us out.  Not just once or twice, but for 3 months!  The church he's a part of is incredible and has always been willing to help us out in the past.  The church gathers for worship right now on Sunday evenings so it's a perfect fit.  God's provision is absolutely perfect and when he provides people I still stand in awe!