Monday, July 28, 2014

What a summer!


I'm pretty sure that's the best word to describe my attempt to fulfill my end of this blogging relationship.  You can't read and pray if I don't write and post.  Sorry about that.  Let me share with you a bit of what's been going on.

Mission Teams:

I'm going to jump in the "old church van" in just a little while to go pick up our 8th and final mission team from the airport.  Please be praying for Humble Area First Baptist Church as they lead our Kids Club for the second year in a row.  Last year I believe we had around 25 kids a night. This year we already have around 70 pre-registered!  Glory to God!  Please pray that this would be an incredible opportunity to partner with our families in making disciples of their children.  Please also pray it would be an incredibly fruitful connection point for many of the families in our community.  Our heart is that they would experience the gospel in all it's fullness and the Holy Spirit would change them in a powerful way.

Humble is our final team but God has been rocking our community this month through the 7 teams that came before them.  In brief, we had 2 teams per week for 3 weeks come and serve with us.  Two teams focused on the Hilltop, the neighborhood where The Pathway started and where my family lives and 3 of our Intentional Communities currently gather and serve.  Two teams focused on the neighborhood around Franklin Elementary where we have our Sunday gathering and 2 teams focused on the North End, a new neighborhood for us but where we already have 2 Intentional Communities gathering.

What do I mean by focus?  Quite simply the teams adopted the neighborhood for the week.  They prayer walked the neighborhood almost every day.  They dove into what we call "Gospel Saturation."  That is, after they prayer walked with their eyes open, asking God to show them people and needs, they went out and met those needs.  One example was a family on the North End who needed a HUGE tree trimmed and some yard work done.  By God's grace one of the team members was a professional tree trimmer so he bought a chainsaw and knocked it out.  The family happened to own a sail boat so they took the team out sailing on their final day in Tacoma.  It was a beautiful and God-ordained connection.

One of the teams who was focusing on the North End seemed to also unofficially adopt a local frozen yogurt shop as their mission field.  That's where they met Tanya and Faith (pictured above).  Tanya is a single mom and Faith has special needs that the doctors have not been able to fully diagnosed.  Faith can't communicate verbally and she's in a wheel chair but she has one of the most precious smiles I have ever seen.  The team bought mom and daughter Frozen Yogurt and invited her to The Pathway's block party.  She told them she felt like God was trying to tell her something because some of her neighbors keep inviting her to The Pathway's gatherings and block parties... imagine that!

Well sure enough, Tanya and Faith came to the a party where she immediately recognized Gene (also pictured above).  When she found out Gene was a part of The Pathway she knew God was up to something.  She had multiple days of sweet fellowship with the mission team, has come to 3 block parties and visited our Sunday gathering.  When she came to the gathering she also realized she knew my wife Kelli from time spent with the kids at the zoo.  God definitely knows what he's doing!  Please pray that Tanya and Faith will connect to Intentional Community!

All in all the summer has tilled up an abundant opportunity for spiritual harvest.  We have tried to make the foundation of the entire summer a movement of prayer.  God has been honoring that and we have seen him move in a unique way.  Two Sunday's ago we had 113 people at our Sunday gathering and that does NOT include any mission teams.  Yesterday we had 96 on what was one of our lowest Sundays last year!  Please be praying that these new folks would quickly connect to Intentional Community where we are confident they will connect to the gospel.

Intentional Community
Speaking of Intentional Community.  Please be praying for our Intentional Communities to grow.  We really focus on 3 areas of growth as an IC... Communion with God, Community with each other, and Mission among our target neighborhood.  The last month has been a time of good-byes for us.  Two of our IC Leaders, Chris and Rachel Croft moved their family to Nevada and 2 more, Chase and Kyler Phillips, moved back to their home state of Oklahoma.

Normally I would panic about such things but God has provided so beautifully and new leaders have already stepped up.  That being said, we need more people who understand the heart of Intentional Community to be willing to lead and host IC's.  Please pray that God would bring leaders for the harvest that he has been working on this summer.

The picture to the right is of my family's Intentional Community.  We gathered yesterday to have a good-bye party for one of our families who are moving to South Dakota.  We are sad to see them go but I'm excited to see how God uses them in their new home.  I'm certain he has big plans for them.  I posted this picture on Facebook today and my sister sent me the following text:

Just saw a pic of your IC on Facebook. Every time I see these pictures I am AMAZED at what God has done with the Pathway. Do you remember when it was just an idea??? Be encouraged- He is doing awesome things!!!

I definitely remember when it was just an idea.  And as I told my sister Amber, I hope I never forget the days of inviting people intentionally into community and repeatedly being rejected, stood-up, taken advantage of and stabbed in the back.

Does that still happen?  Of course.  But by God's grace he has provided some incredibly loyal brother's and sister's in Christ to walk with us through the hard and to join us in celebrating the good. Thank you Jesus for Intentional Community!  Please pray that God would multiply us!

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