I have learned over the past many years of ministry that God is often at work just as much in the slow unnoticed steps of preparation as in the big publicized events. There is something that happens in those tough moments of perseverance and steadiness. God tends to humble and refine your character and teach you a level of obedience that only comes through trusting him. In the midst of long hours of writing, preparing and organizing I have been renewed in my heart wanting even more than ever for God to be glorified through this project and the church to be equipped for great things.
How did God surprise you in the past six months?
I don’t know if there was one defining moment of being “surprised” by God over the past six months as much as an overall recognition about where God has brought this program. From a few ideas on paper to a module full of training, with presentations, marketing and more God has breathed life into this vision. I have certainly seen his hand throughout the process of formulating and organizing ideas and now to step back and realize where we have come is exciting.
What has been challenging or disappointing?
I would say that the biggest challenge has come in the tediousness of writing and developing out ideas. I consider my gifts to be more on the sharing/teaching side of the spectrum so the long hours it takes to buckle down and write can be a challenge. In this process however, I have learned a lot about myself. I have been challenged to recognize and be thankful for the person God has made me and to cherish the gifts I have been given. I have also come to appreciate the fact that God gifts each of us in unique ways. As the body we function best working together and knowing our limitations and strengths is important.
What obstacles have you faced?
The vision for this program is centered around working with churches and North American churches are busy. My obstacle has come in the fact that many of the churches I have talked with are very interested and find great value in the ideas this program has to share, however, getting them to schedule dates for training has been difficult. Churches reflect the people who make them up and if I have learned anything it is that our society is as busy now as it ever has been. Patience is an attribute that I have been tested with over the last few months.
What has God been doing in your spiritual life in the past six months? What has He been teaching you? How have you seen him at work?
As I have put together ideas that equip churches to effectively love the poor I have time and time again been blessed by seeing God’s grace at work. With each bible verse that I read I see another dimension to God’s character. His grace strung throughout the verses I have examined has spoken to me about how much he loves people. We are broken, marred people and his pursuit of us does not stop. The pages of scripture have time and again challenged me to see myself in realistic terms and to recognize the grace that has been freely given me.
What is new, or what do you see on the horizon?
I am so excited to look into the horizon! I believe the Lord wants to use this project to change our cities and nation. I see a message being shared and lives been changed as I look ahead.
Over the next several months we are aiming to connect churches to this message. Through seminars and trainings churches will be wrestling with ideas related to loving the vulnerable and then stepping out on faith to love those placed in their proximity. It is exciting to think about a church praying to God asking for a vision for how they might be used in their city. The thought of what God might do with that prayer is so thrilling!
Is there one story from the past six months that has been really meaningful or encouraging?
I have spent a lot of time praying that God would connect me to like-minded pastors and churches. There is one story I have to share that relates to God answering this prayer.
My family and I decided to randomly attend a family vacation bible school hosted by a church in our community. Having never been to this church we didn’t know what to expect. The first night we jumped in and had a great time. The second evening a man dressed in full Hebrew costume approached me and introduced himself as the pastor of the church. Over the next few days we talked a few times until the final evening when he asked more specifically about what I did. I shared about this program and he became very excited to learn more. We met for coffee a few weeks later and his church is now very excited to line up a time to walk through this training.
For many, this story isn’t probably that exciting. However for me it reminds me of the way God is connecting this project (through ways I never would have expected) to churches he has called to step forward in loving the vulnerable. Every open door is an answer to prayer, and a reason for me to celebrate!!
*If your church, study, or group is interested in hearing more about this program feel free to contact us for more information!