Last night we had our second monthly gathering with twenty people crammed into our lounge, which was quite a cosy feeling on such a hot, muggy Auckland evening. We shared a meal, chatted, worshipped and prayed, and it was great.
Planting a church is a balance of listening to the Lord for His direction, figuring out what to do with that, and making plans. We have our timeline which we are using as a trajectory, but we don't know all the details yet. I'm becoming increasingly aware that the season we are in at the moment is to enjoy being in God's presence and hearing from Him, and leave cranking out the whiteboard and markers to brainstorm the exact plans for a little while longer yet.
At times people ask me "So, what are we doing?" and deep down I am tempted to try lay out a five-step plan or a bunch of tangible things we can achieve and do. I guess that's just the sign of the culture we live in where people want to know the measurable goals and steps. We want to know what an organisation is doing as a sign of whether it's successful or worth their buy-in. I get that, I fall victim to thinking we have to do this too.
But the words of Jesus call us to a counter-cultural way to make plans and measure success.
In John 15, Jesus says that He is the vine and we are the branches, and that if we abide in Him we will bear fruit. There is a warning in what Jesus is saying here: don't get this around the wrong way. Jesus' advice is that the first "do" must be to abide in Him, and from that all the right things will come.
The season we are in as we head into Christmas, a January summer break, and then kick off again in February, is to do what Jesus says in this passage. We're going to enjoy the privilege of enjoying Christ while there isn't a hundred other things that can rob us of that, and learn how it feels to make this our first port-of-call in all that we do as a church.
One of the highlights of last night was that we had a friend, Andy Campbell, visit us as our guest and lead us in worship. To finish the set he used this song, which lyrically echoes the sense I have of what we are to do at the moment:
Enjoy this song for yourself, and if you would, please join us in praying that we would have eyes to see and ears to hear what He is beckoning us towards, because until we feel we are getting this right, we won't be getting that whiteboard out in a hurry.