Monday, August 18, 2014

Stepping up

I shared a few months back that we seemed to be having a mass exodus of leaders moving out of state due to job changes.  It really wasn't all that many people but when you have 6 Intentional Communities and the leaders and/or hosts from 3 of them move, it can be a scary challenge.  As I mentioned in that blog, God gave me an unusual peace about it all.  Usually I freak out about these types of things.  We have a hard enough time raising up leaders as it is.  But God is so good and thankfully he is sovereign.  I don't have to know his will or figure out his will in order for his perfect will to be done.

We're about a month removed from the last leaders to leave and not only are we surviving, we seem to be thriving.  Chase and Kyler Phillips and Chris and Rachel Croft were fantastic leaders.  The mark of their leadership is that when they left, and before they left, new leaders were already stepping up.  Of course it's not without challenges, but it's been cool to observe from a distance how the groups saw the challenges, embraced the challenges and are growing through the challenges.  Praise Jesus!  We lost our host, Deidra Delgado, to a move to South Dakota.  It gave us the opportunity to move back to a mission field we had thought was not going to bear much fruit and already we're seeing opportunities and open doors.  God knows what he is doing!

The two prayer requests I want to leave with you today are the following:
1) Pray for more Intentional Community Leaders & hosts.  We had 94 people at our gathering yesterday and we only have 5 Intentional Communities.  That's simply not enough groups to assimilate people into community.  We have also had an interesting influx of soldiers and families from joint base Lewis/McChord.  We need to see an Intentional Community birthed there.  I have ideas of who could host it, not idea who would lead it... but God knows!  Please pray for open doors.

2) Pray for volunteers to step up in September.  We are spoiled in the summer because we don't have to set-up and tear-down our worship gathering because school is not in session.  Well, school starts next month so we are recruiting volunteers and developing a new system with new leaders.  It's always a challenge because when it comes to gatherings, people often just think it happens.  They don't realize all the work and prayer and preparation that goes on behind the scenes to provide an environment to worship without distraction, a hospitable culture that welcomes new folks in and a children's environment that safe and engaging.  We're in the recruiting process now and it's natural to be getting excuses!  Please pray that our people would be so passionate about worshipping Jesus together that they would be willing and executed to rearrange their routines to make it possible.  Please also pray that by this time next year we would be launching a second worship gathering so that even our KiDCity volunteers would be able to gather for worship every single week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


KiDCity kiddos singing "J is for Jesus" after an awesome week of Kids Club
Whirlwind.  I think that's the best word I can use to describe the end of June and the entire month of July.  Eight mission teams, 6 interns, at least 6 block parties, partnership with 2 local non-profits, more hours of prayer than can be counted, 4 nights of Kids Club and our first ever parenting class called Equip: Parents.

I think our natural tendency is to shout the praises of our God, proclaim that what he has done is good and then collapse in exhaustion, satisfied that the task has been completed.  In reality though, that would be a horrible blunder on our part.  In fact, the task has only just begun.  

Prayers were lifted that God would bring the spiritual healing of our city and there is still much to happen in that regard.  The Kids club and parenting class were carried out in an effort to partner with parents in discipling their kids and that is only one piece in a multi-faceted, life-long discipleship process.  The block parties, cook-outs and service project partnerships were done in an effort to love our city well and find persons of peace who want to be a part of seeing the kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven.  Now it's time to build into those persons of peace and spiritual sojourners so the kingdom will in fact grow in Tacoma.

The work is far from over and we need your prayers.  We've realized that we are at a crossroads as a church.  We are no longer at a size where we can fly by the seat of our pants and handle everything as it comes.  We're realizing that in order to effectively equip leaders, make disciples and multiply Intentional Communities, we have to implement systems that are clearly defined for people to walk through as they grow in Christ and play their role in the body.

But where do we start?  Do we begin with our Family ministry system, what I believe is one of the most important things we do in equipping parents to raise up the next generation to know and follow hard after Jesus?  Do we start with our financial system so that we can raise up a community of extravagantly generous followers of Jesus as well as providing people the confidence that the church is being a great steward of the resources we have?  Do we start with our discipleship system?  Our volunteer system?  Our leadership development system?  Our assimilation system?  Our worship team system?

You get the point.  There are so many places to grow and systems to implement, the tendency is to get overwhelmed and accept the status quo.  But if we accept the status quo we won't grow.  And if we don't grow that means disciples aren't being made.  And if disciples aren't being made, God's mission is not being accomplished and that's simply unacceptable!  

Please take a good look at the kids in the picture at the beginning of this post.  They are the vessels that will carry hope to the next generation.  That hope is the gospel and we want them to know it, be raised in it and be saturated by it.  Please pray that as we follow-up with all that God did this summer and as we seek to wisely implement the right systems in the right ways at the right time, that God would pour out his grace, grow his kingdom and empower us to keep our eyes fixed on him every single step of the way.

Thank you so much!