I recently had the opportunity to hear Steve Berger, a lead pastor from Leipers Fork, Tennesee. He talked about how churches and pastors need to have guts in the 21st century and I immediately saw the correlation for us as we plant Encounter.
Referring to Caleb in Numbers 14, God says "He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately." But this is important, because God continues to repeat it up to 6 times.
Caleb followed God fully, passionately. He had a different spirit about him.
In Numbers 13-14, it is the account of the Israelites coming upon the promised land. But as we know, most of the leaders sent in to survey the promised land while it was still inhabited by its native peoples — they were discouraged and convinced they couldn't take the land.
But God promised the land. And Caleb knew this. He quieted the people and reminded them, "we are well able to take the land." He believed God. Unlike the other leaders, he had a different spirit about him.
The others had a spirit of minimizing themselves and maximizing the enemy. They minimized their trust in God and maximized the challenge before them.
This directly relates to the challenge and risk set before us at Encounter. We need to believe in what God has placed before us — a city and region of people far from God who desperately need a growing relationship with Jesus.
Sure there is risk — there must be. Because God wants to put us in the position where if we don't rely on Him, we're going to fail. We must believe in the dream He has set before us — a church community where people will encounter Jesus Christ through intimacy with God, community with believers, and influence with outsiders. A community where people are led into growing, thriving, living relationships with Jesus.