The Pathway has never really done things by the book.
In the world of church planting, it is commonly said that you will always reach people that look like you. Ha! I think we blew that possibility out of the water when we moved to Tacoma. From day one God drew us to people, and he drew people to us, who look absolutely nothing like us. From background and economic status to race and religious heritage (or lack thereof), God has connected us with a diverse bunch of people, very few of whom look like me or Kelli.
Growth. In "typical" church planting (whatever that means!), summers are always a difficult time. I'm sure that's true for established churches too. Rhythm's are broken. Vacations are taken. Attendance drops. Consistency wanes. Giving goes down. But of course, for The Pathway, that's never been the case. Summer has always been an incredible opportunity to embrace the patterns of summer and maximize the opportunity to do life with each other, engage new people and see people decide to make biblical community a part of their new routines. This summer has been no exception to that. We've seen doors open, the vibrancy of our gathering increase and more and more people connect to the community of believers.
The list could go on but for some reason I assumed that while we don't follow any other normal patterns of church planting, we would follow the pattern of renewed consistency and momentum heading into the fall.
What was I thinking?!?! Why would we do that by the book when we do nothing else by the book? The last 2 weeks have proven to be somewhat "slow," for lack of a better term. I think people are still clinging to what's left of summer. Getting kids back into school certainly drains parents and kids alike. Overall, our worship gathering has decreased in attendance rather than increased and from a cursory look at our Intentional Community gatherings, attendance is sparse as well.
All this to say... pray for consistency. Not just in the Sunday gathering, although I want people to long for and value that time, but also in community. Pray for people to consistently do life together, consistently make disciples (and become disciples), consistently serve, give, love and worship. Pray for people to see the need for disciple-makers, Intentional Community hosts and Intentional Community leaders. Pray that our church, starting with myself, would embrace the call of God on all of us to be missionaries for the gospel in our own world, our own neighborhood and even in our own homes.
We're learning to be the church together. We're learning the rhythm's of life together. It's messy and it's fun but it is never ever "typical!"