I’m really enjoying comparing the birth of a church plant to the nine week gestation period of a pregnant woman and early months of life….mainly the fact that the emotions are all over the place and there is no real logic to the pain…then joy…then confusion… then eye weeping excitement….of both.
Although I have never actually gone through the nine month pregnant period…. I feel eligible to relate because I actually went through a 7 year gestation period of IVF hormones before God gave us our beautiful daughter through the miracle of adoption………Oh I think there are even more parallels there…..perhaps I’ll mix the metaphors a bit if you don’t mind.
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy.”
This was the scripture I was given when waiting for the birth of our little girl Liberty Grace. Seeing the result of those prayers took seven long, tedious, years. It also seems God has given me this verse for this period of our church planting endeavours.
You sow, you wait, you plead, you pray, you do all your spiritual callisthenics, but still you are sowing in tears at times. Sometimes for a much longer time than your friend’s church plant. Your prayers are not quite answered in the ways that you’d expect.
There is no shake n bake church birthing kit. Every church plant has its own unique fingerprint.. No two born alike. Some Walk sooner than others, some have quite a few ADHD problems……You get the picture.
Challenges week fourteen-
“Lord I miss our old church…they were perfect…my friends were perfect…Egypt was perfect…I’m soo tired of manna…it’s not like regular food… I like normalcy…it’s so, so normal. ”
“Father, I think we scared everyone off….they’ve come, they’ve seen…they’ve run!”
“Lord, some of those we wanted to stay have left, and some of those we’ve wanted to leave, have stayed.”
So things are not as they use to be in my life. And they will never be that way again. Church as I know it has changed. Moved. Travelled into the belly of my soul and revealed the soft flabby muscles there.
We all remember that infamous day in history, When God said, “Time to get moving!”
Yes, God says this church planters. What do we do?
We stretch out our legs onto the lovely seat in front of us on Sunday and say….”Naa. I’m quite cozy Lord… The coffee’s good, the cakes are tasty and I have my special spot to sit. And great friends.”
So he sends the plagues, gets us uncomfortable, itchy and scratchy like a dog with fleas. We gnaw and bite at ourselves until finally we move away from the source of our discomfort…our over comfort-ability.
Now we’ve gone. We are wandering the desert of utter reliance on God and nothing else. At times the quail falling from heaven is so exciting, we could audition for “Glee” with a magnificent, cheeseball smile on our face.
Other times our nostrils are over-full with our own complaints.
One of my new Years resolutions was “to complain less, trust more.”……I’ve since added an adjuct to my resolution and said, “But Lamenting is Biblical right Lord? I’ll just Lament before you then……..” and away I go.
Still, once you’ve heard the call to go, you can never return to Egypt again….as much as you idealize it, you are now on the move toward something much harder, much stranger, much better. God’s call on your life.
So here I rest this week. God’s Call. My “Lamenting”, but looking forward to a “Glee” day.