When my husband and I were perhaps at our lowest is a time that I often look back on and analyze – both to remember what it means to feel like you can’t get a break, and to remind myself that we could definitely face similar circumstances again and we need to have a game plan ready this time. I remember my Dad saying to us during this time, quoting from Jeremiah 29:11, that God wants the best for us – basically trying to give us hope that things were going to get better. Thanks for that Dad – I really needed it. On a particularly bad day, when we were stumped about how to turn a few dollars into a lot of dollars so that we could pay some bills – we took a break from the stress and went for a walk out side in the melty, mucky, Fort St John Spring and started dreaming. We let loose every idea that we had about what we wanted to do with our lives, where we wanted to do it and how. Those dreams were seeds planted by God – letting them out, speaking them, made us realize that they were not crazy, not when you consider that we are not capable of understanding in the least what the extent of his capability is. It’s also kind of a love-building exercise in marriage to dream together – it can be a very attractive quality in a spouse to hear them aspire to great things. Whenever I think of goal setting and dreaming I remember that conversation. The funny thing is, I cannot end this story with a wonderful explanation of how we reached those dreams – the fact is, the dreams changed considerably in the last seven years and we met different ones. But things only went uphill from there (overall, I mean, there were a few dips in that line graph, but explaining them all would be tedious).
In the first section of the Purpose Driven Church, Warren talks a lot about barriers and how, when a church doesn’t grow, it’s basically because we are not letting it. We are putting limitations on it. I love when he says: “I feel that most churches build too soon and too small. The shoe must never tell the foot how big it can grow.” This speaks to dreaming big. Build a church building twice the size of your congregation – and then you will actually grow. Build a church just to seat the amount of attendees that you have currently, and you are not exactly creating a invitation to new-comers – but it could incite the old practice of having a “family pew.” In Mathew 7:7-8 God reminds us that things are given to those that ask. What does that look like when you’re building a church? (I don’t have a really great answer here, I’m just hoping someone might actually answer in the comment section. I mean what should we be asking for?).
The other comment that I have on this section of the book is on Warren’s assertion that his church is built on conversion rather than transfer – unbelievers that are converted through the church rather than people switching churches. Hah! He’s hitting the nail on the head – cutting away all of the other stuff that doesn’t matter – and getting right to the point. This is how I want to see our church built too. Read it – you won’t be sorry.
So, my church tour continues. I think I am headed to Abbotsford this Sunday and to Whiterock in a few weeks and there are plans in the works to go to Seattle in March (yay!). If you know of an evangelical church doing something innovational in the Vancouver area (I’m willing to drive up to 2 hours from downtown Vancouver each way) please let me know. I want to check it out.