365 Days…4 Things I’ve Learned

365 Days…4 Things I’ve Learned

A few days ago, I celebrated one full year of serving on staff at The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis.  I came into this season with some very high expectations and, honestly, I was also carrying some baggage. I needed God to heal some of the disenchantment and skepticism that had built up inside of me concerning the Church. I needed to see that living as followers of Jesus still meant something.  I needed to see fresh, vibrant expressions of the Kingdom of God.

The last 365 days have taught me a lot…here are 4 lessons learned:

Spiritual Discontent is Acceptable; It is often the Holy Spirit’s operating system. 

That inner whisper that says that this is not God’s Best for you, whether personally or as a community, is not some emotional brokenness.  That discontent could very well be the Holy Spirit pointing you toward’s God’s standard, a standard that is higher than what you’re currently experiencing. Don’t ignore it.  “Harden not your heart,” as King James might say.  Instead, look for ways to move with purpose towards that higher place without settling.

Biblical Reconciliation is not a passive journey. 
If the goal of a multiethnic church is simply getting 2-3 races of people to sit near each other in a worship service, that cannot be accurately called reconciliation.  In fact, I’m not sure what you would call that.  True biblical reconciliation is an active, intentional journey where people’s lives intersect with the lives of others, made possible and spurred on by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It won’t happen by accident…our natural tendency is to flock to our own tribes, those like us. The challenge is for reconciling churches to intentionally invite people into those intersections, leading by example, and affirming over & over the biblical mandate of reconciliation. I’m excited to be a part of that work at The Sanctuary.

Ministry to Families matters more than we can imagine. 
There are countless areas of concern for the future of the Church, but this one is particularly critical because it affects generations.  If we fail at ministering to parents and others who are leading families, we will negatively impact the spread of the Gospel in this generation and the next.  Parenting is an incredible blessing, but with it comes challenges that are unimaginably complex.  The idea of being responsible to care for, protect, shape, and develop another individual causes great anxiety, pain, even anguish at times.  Healthy churches will regularly and intentionally look for ways to pray for, encourage, equip and empower families.  Similarly, healthy families will prioritize and take full advantage of opportunities available to them through the church, believing that Godly wisdom is essential.

Passion without commitment and community is fleeting. 
Few things have become clearer to me over the last year than the fact that a part of my calling is to be a blessing to young adults that cross my path.  Like never before, God has opened my eyes to so many young brothers and sisters who have serious needs and serious questions about faith and life.  Here is a troubling reality that I see, though: a troubling number of the young adults that I see are overflowing with passion, ideas, and will, but many of them struggle in the area of commitment & connection. How does that play out? Often it materializes in passionate displays of concern for any number of issues & causes, as long as the cost is low. As the costs associated with engaging that particular issue rises – time, resource, regular participation, accountability, etc. – there seems to be a genuine struggle for many young adults to pay those costs. I’m speaking in generalities, of course. There are many young adults who are passionate, reliable, consistent, and disciplined.  The challenge, especially for the Church, is that we must rethink the ways that we engage, minister to, and commission young adults to serve.  In the coming year, I’ll be sharing more thoughts on how we can do this.

Honestly, I cannot explain how incredible these last 365 days have been! I’ve been able to realize dreams that I carried inside of me for years.  I’ve felt an amazing amount of support and freedom that I had not known previously.  I’ve never had so many people walk up to me and pray for me on the spot! It’s been a tremendous encouragement.  I’m looking forward to the next 365…I’m expecting that God will exceed even my greatest expectations!!!

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