I love my church. It's that simple. Just like anything a person loves, the church can drive me crazy, annoy me, frustrate me, and even make me mad! But I love her. I love the people that make up The Pathway church. I love how far God has brought us, how we've grown, how we've matured, how we've changed and adapted, how we've stumbled, how we've fallen on our faces, and how God has pulled us back up every time. I love my church.
One of the things I've been anticipating for a long time now is the year or season in the life of our church when we really have to own this thing. Does that make sense? Being a church plant, supported by over a dozen other churches, and even more individuals and families (primarily form the south), we've been able to focus on outreach, evangelism, discipleship, and over all gospel saturation for almost 6 years now. During that time we've consistently been prayed for and funded by our partner churches. Not to mention all the ground breaking and seed sowing that has been done by short term mission teams.
Thankfully those partnership are not finished, but they are changing. For years now I've been telling Kelli, this may be the year that our funding slows down. But for years, it hasn't happened. Well, this is the year. I began getting calls around the time churches are working on their budgets, and they came in bunches. One of the reasons I love our partners is that these calls did not come with out warning and every call was filled with compassion and care. Not wanting to cripple us, but knowing it is time for our supporters to begin pulling back. They are full of wisdom and they know it's time, slowly but surely, for this toddler church to begin taking steps on her own.
It's scary. It's exciting. It's time.
And it's more than just outside support. Over 3 years ago we hit a wall of growth at about 20 people. We just couldn't grow past that. By God's grace, we were able to bring on several staff people to put time and energy into developing aspects of our church... Kids Ministry, Leadership development, etc.... that would never have developed as quickly without their undivided time and attention. But those staff had very specific goals in mind and they knew, from the beginning, that they would eventually step out of paid staff positions and the church would have to be the church.
Well, I would be lying if I didn't say I was nervous. But I believe God has birthed this church. I believe the Holy Spirit fills this church. And I believe we are ready to own the vision God has called us to. We're ready to become a self-sustaining, autonomous, reproducing church.
Pray for us.
It's time... spiritually, financially... it's time.
For God's glory!