I’m not a big hiker and I’ve never sailed before. But there are principles of hiking and sailing that directly apply to the way we live our lives. In my church planting orientation, trainings, books, and cohorts there has been a great deal of emphasis put on planning and strategizing. While planning has helped us develop and clarify our vision, we’ve learned to plan in pencil recalling, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
We do like to make plans…but planning assumes predictable and unchanging pathways similar to a hikers dependance on a map to navigate. In the planning process, there are fixed points that can be anticipated because the paths and landmarks don’t change much over time. Their presence is predictable.
But imagine the context of a sailor on the open water. There are few landmarks or fixed points that provide an ever-present constant. Storms, shifting winds, and changing currents require an entirely different set of skills to navigate. Similar to navigating the seas, observing and adapting to our ever-changing environment is essential.
We are reminded everyday that North America is the largest English-speaking mission field in the world (although 40+% of Bellevue, WA speaks another language at home). As Will Mancini urges…
“The Church can no longer think and act like club members; we must think and act like missionaries.”
As we live as missionaries on the east side of Seattle, God continues to open new relational doors. In my regular routine of hair cuts, I’ve developed good relationships at a local barber shop. Most of the workers in the shop are from the middle-east and they refer to me as “Preacher man.” My regular barber, Michael, and I have had some great gospel conversations over the past few months. The door opens a little more each time I’m there. When I first met Michael, I added him to a prayer list of people I regularly pray for. A couple weeks ago I mentioned to Michael that I prayed for him each week and asked him how I could pray for him specifically. With tear filled eyes, he shared how grateful he was and how I could pray. I let him know that I’d be preaching at three different churches in November and I invited him to come when he could. This past Sunday, after a 20+ year hiatus from any church, he showed up to hear me preach. After the service, he sent me a text message that read…
Jonah, I really enjoyed the service. Felt like Jesus was talking to me face-to-face. Thanks for the invite and the prayers. I’m excited because I know that He who began a good work in me is faithful to see it through.
I’m so thankful that God brought us together and how He is working in Michael’s life. I look forward to my next haircut!
For Thanksgiving, we invited 7 new friends to our house for dinner. Most of those that came had never had a traditional Thanksgiving meal before. We got to express our gratitude to God for his son, Jesus, and for bringing us new friendships. We then prayed together and had a great time teaching them about Thanksgiving traditions and what we are thankful for.
Holidays provide such great opportunities to share the good news with people all around us. This week we began Christmas conversations in our ESL class. We read and explained the Christmas story in the book of Luke, sang Christmas songs, and talked about Christmas traditions. Our ESL class turned into a special time of discovering Jesus. I could see faces light up as we read the Word of God. Jesus showed up to Talk Time!
I hope these few stories help paint the picture of what God is doing in, around, and through us. We have a great focus these days on our preparation. While planning relies on predictability, our preparation helps us stay focused during times of uncertainty and seize the opportunities God gives us. We continue looking for ways to bless and serve our community.
As sailors on the open seas, we are continually praying, learning, and discerning what God is doing. As each day unfolds, we are beginning to discover God’s unique vision for us and the planting of Awakening Church.
I am continually reminded that my Kingdom vision really isn’t about me at all. And “It’s actually not really about [Awakening Church]. It is about the Kingdom assignment of unleashing a wave of God’s reign across [the east side of Seattle]— and way beyond.” -Jeff Christopherson, Kingdom First
Please join us in praying specifically this month for:
1. The development of our core team.
2. Partnering churches and individuals to help support the launch of Awakening Church.
3. Our ESL classes and the developing relationships God is beginning.