So, I have to confess something to you – this was not the plan. But plans change, right? You wrestle in prayer and through the process of discerning the still small voice that seems to get louder and louder until you are beyond compelled to respond, and then you jump! But you don’t land at the place where you had planned to land. This is what unfolded for my wife and I as we stepped away from the faith family we had spent the last decade within Muskegon. I love these people, and they were given the gift of enormous grace so as to put up with me for ten years, which is really quite impressive. But my wife and I felt utterly compelled to step out into a new thing, into launching a new church for the new world we are living in.
So, this is not what I signed up for. I was supposed to learn the ins and outs of Harbor churches and then go skipping into the sunrise of a brand-new church. But then Walker happened. And Walker isn’t brand new. These people have been praying and sweating and crying and working for months, some for years, in order for the brilliance of Christ to sweep through the community. The passion and persistence and relentless desire these people have to see Christ shine in their community is beautiful. But remember, according to a chronological view of time, this church is not new.
And then there is the new life that God has been cultivating and shaping within the heart of this church. So once again I have been caught with a narrow view of God’s big world.
I have had a narrow view of new.
In today’s culture, there is a shiny new toy that comes out every five seconds, one that is faster and sleeker than that ridiculously old one that came out ten minutes ago. But that kind of new can also mean that it has never been battle-tested, so it might not carry the wisdom from having experienced yesterday, and last week, and the week before that.
The church in Walker carries a wisdom from yesterday, and yet has a new heart for today. Of course, because God is always making us new inside, where it matters most. I consider it an honor to step into Walker Harbor Church and leverage the wisdom gained from yesterday, while also unleashing the new life that is being cultivated deep inside for today. It reminds me of something a church planter named Paul said to the church in Corinth.
We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. (2 Corinthians 4:13-16, The Message)
Apparently, God desires to make new life, on the inside, which I have a hunch will give us a much bigger view of life on the outside. Which also means a less narrow view of new.
Grace and Peace
Campus Pastor, Walker Harbor Church