For the last several days I, along with two other guys, have been away at a learning community/planning retreat. We have done a LOT of learning and processing and work in developing a six-month plan focused building a discipling culture in our church community. It has been an exciting and insightful few days. The journey itself has been fruitful, and my prayer is now that our work will seed growth and bear fruit as well.
Yesterday afternoon as we were working through some of our plan a woman who is part of the 3dMinistries team handed me a piece of paper that I ignored until several hours later. When I finally looked at it, I discovered that she had been praying for our group and our church specifically and what she had written on the page were things that she heard as she listened for any prophetic word(s) that God might be saying to us. Much of what she shared resonated with me, and I think with our community, but here is one thing that she shared that particularly struck me at the moment. She wrote,
Focus on love and intimacy – covenant and community and I will bring the baby. Do not fear and artificially inseminate. Just love and enjoy my presence and each other and invest in the core. Invest in the core.
She said other things that I will likely share with our community, but this particularly resonated with me because too often in this journey of trying to lead and develop and grow graceway as a community of faith I have tried to force the issue. I have tried to force-fit a program or strategy that doesn't feel authentic or doesn't fit our context… but has "produced results" in other settings. As a leader I have too often tried to "artificially inseminate" to produce growth — trying to skip over the hard work and labor pains of giving birth to something more naturally. Focus on love and intimacy – covenant and community and I will bring the baby. I CANNOT GROW THIS CHURCH… but GOD CAN!