I have been on a small sabbatical from writing my personal journey’s. The reason is that I have focused all attention on moving Renewed Life Church from transient to a partnership with a sister church.
Doing this has seen me also transition to being bi-v0cational. This does not mean I haven’t been active in my reflection time but that I just have not taken the time to share my journey.
With this transition I knew there would be challenges. Whenever you take a church from one location to another there is always collateral damage. People who otherwise would have stayed see this as an excuse to now not be a part of the community. The funny thing is you could move right next door and these same people would find a reason to not attend.
Our move was not across town but it did place us further away for some. The distance not only being a change but we also had to adjust the time we met. We landed at 11:30am. Yes I know it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Cowboy’s even in a bad season would cause a loss in attendance much less a great season like they are having this year. There is also the mental jump that half the day is gone by the time we even let you out for lunch. I havent even mentioned the diabolical children’s sports programs that already are reeking havoc on church attendance.
With all this said it was still worth the move.
1: We all unanimously agreed and voted that this was what God wanted. (I guess voting and living out your vote may not be the same thing).
2: It was a win/win for both churches. My goal then and still today is that all those who thought our service was to late could at least attend the other churches service at 10:15. I mean you would get out 30 minutes earlier and get home for the noon kick off!!!
3: It gave us opportunity to do the ministries we were called to do from the beginning.
What are these ministries you may ask?
Well kids let me tell you.
A: We have set classrooms for our kids and adults. For you who have never been in a travel church this is something you take for granted. It gives greater consistency for our students hence we have a greater chance to create better learning environments.
B: We can offer things that not only help us as a local church grow but can be things that benefit the greater community at large.
This has always been the vision and passion of my heart. I see the building as a place where even an atheist would want to come and join the things we are doing to impact our community.
January 9th we will start a program called Grief Share. We as a church have experienced a lot of loss the past few years. We have not only lost family and friends in death but relationships have been strained and the community as a whole has had to several times work through grief.
We will also start a recovery program called Overcomers. This is a Biblically based 12 step group. It is approved by Tarrant County parole and also is very open to work with other 12 step organizations. It sees itself as a partner in the greater effort to help lives ripped apart by addiction to be restored and made whole again. We just realize like the founders of AA that without God this is not possible.
There has also been New Minister training going on in the building. I have had a chance to walk with 3 people through exploring Holiness. I also am connected to 5 other individuals exploring their call or continued call in ministry. I can’t forget 2 ministers who also see us as their church home. This next year will see discipleship of people called into ministry at an all time high.
With all this you would think we would be busting at the seems. I can’t help but scratch my head when I look and think of all the living and transformed lives that are a part of our church and yet the people who should be here that just won’t come. But isn’t this every pastors struggle? We know and see everyday God active in our world not because we are pastors, but because we earnestly seek to live out life as God asks everyone to live.
My challenge this year will be to not try and convince people to come to Renewed Life. If they can’t see that then my words will never get them to be a part of our community. My goal is for God to touch peoples hearts and realize that the emptiness they feel and the void in their life can be literally filled. There is no hype just life that God offers.
I have had some tremendous struggles this year alone and in the midst God has NEVER let me down. So why would I quit? The only way I will ever leave is if God tells me or the people loose the vision. And even if they loose the vision I will keep going as long as God says stay the course.