Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Wait" Versus "Go"

During my week in the hospital in mid-February, I was struck by the thought of how easily we take our health for granted. I thought and prayed, "If only I could become healthy again, I would be able to do so much for God. I would seize the day."

The idea of standing on the sidelines has always seemed especially absurd to me, and yet I suddenly felt as though I could have, or should have, done more.

I guess I have always been a "take the world by storm" kind of guy and being incapacitated only intensifies the natural desire in me to risk it all for Jesus.

The biggest, most important steps I have take in my life have been steps of faith following Jesus into the unknown; leaving a full-time, well-paying corporate position to pursue ministry; moving our family to Helena, Montana, what seemed like the "ends of the earth" at the time; announcing our desire to follow God on an adventure to plant a new non-traditional church in a place where traditional churches thrive.

So now I look in retrospect at the last eight months since we closed the doors of Encounter Church. Andrea and I were sure God would open specific doors quickly and whisk our family away to another part of the country. The first couple of weeks we visited an amazing ministry, a new church plant in South Jordan, Utah, and we were sure we would plug-in there. I Skyped extensively with church planters and ministry leaders in Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts, Virginia, and California (not to mention several opportunities right here in Montana). In three separate trips, I met with a number of church planters doing amazing work for the Kingdom in Seattle.

  • Met with ministry leaders and led worship at One Community Church in South Jordan, Utah — a unique ministry in a stronghold of the Mormon faith.
  • Talked with Healing Place Church doing amazing ministry in El Paso, Texas.
  • Considered moving to Springfield, Missouri with another church planting friend.
  • Made an East-coast connection with Sovereign Grace Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Was considered for Area 10 Faith Community in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Considered an inner-city ministry at The Pathway in Tacoma, Washington.
  • Talked extensively and led worship for Emmaus Church in Bothell, Washington.
  • Met with and talked about joining two other different ministries in Auburn, Washington.
  • Been invited to be a part of starting a new church in Omaha, Nebraska with a friend right here in Montana.
  • Made a connection with River City Church, another new church plant in Missoula, Montana.
  • Began discussion with a church planter, planting Element Church in North Phoenix.

From all these connections and more, we've felt a desire to go forward — but not yet a call. The pieces are just not coming together financially, geographically, or socially to facilitate that big step in to our new life adventure. Leaning on my passion and experience, I have been seeking to connect in some area of worship arts, and yet I have been offered positions in missions, youth, and discipleship. The cost of living has been an impediment in some areas, as well as the abundance of non-paying ministry opportunities. We've had to weigh a quality of life working full-time secular work and burning the candle in order to squeeze in some ministry. Is this what God has planned for us?

For eight months, we have been ready to "go." We have been ready to immediately follow His call. And yet God's response has been "wait."

How does a man of action wait? And why is it so difficult? I recently heard Charles Stanley explain that "waiting on the Lord" often means "trusting in the Lord" and vice versa. The natural man in me, the experience in me, the entrepreneur, the risk-taker, the adventurer, the barbarian in me says "GO NOW." But it even troubles me now that my spirit says "WAIT" — His Spirit says "WAIT."

So here we are. Helena, Montana has become a crossroads for us where we've experienced much joy and pain. Like the apostle Paul, we are held back from moving forward. And as we long to leave, we have also become obedient to God's will at this time. We continue to ask Him for the grace to trust Him much more that we already do, to stay somewhat planted when we desire to soar like eagles.

So for now, I continue in my job in the Copy & Print Center at Staples here in Helena. I am interviewing for both graphics and ministry positions over the phone and on Skype. I am making new connections with ministry leaders and church planters in places like Missoula, Omaha, and Phoenix. If you know of a ministry needing an experienced worship arts, former lead pastor, passionate team builder, and disciple maker — be sure and let me know. It may be the opportunity that God is orchestrating so that He can allow us to go.

But for now, we trust and wait.
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