Day 3 started off like most Wednesdays I remember in school, slow. The class wasn’t slow, I was. The cool thing was though as we started to worship and sing to our God, I woke up.
The morning revolved around the word “community”, what is community, what does it mean for a disciple? This by far was the most challenging and convicting section of this week I have had, and that is saying a lot.
Community needs to be wrapped around the dynamic personal presence of God. Now before you start to wonder what the heck that means, here are the aspects of it, and I think all are biblical and were not that “radical” for New Testament community.
1. Awe-being amazed at a Huge, Holy God
2. Signs and Wonders-Actually believing God heals, transforms and makes new
3. Gladness-hearing God say relax, quit micro managing everything
4. Generosity-using resources (whatever they are) to bless someone else
5. Praising God-worship
6. Favor w/People-caring for the city and area you are in
7. Daily Salvation-seeing people come to love and follow Jesus daily
Needless to say, as I started to look at the list I say many aspects missing from my life.
This week I believe has been transformational in so many ways and will help shape the life of the church plant.
#7, was the hardest one to swallow. In Acts they were seeing conversions daily, today there is an estimated 180,000 new people, according to Bill Clem, who start following Jesus everyday. Why do we think seeing a conversion is a rare thing? It should be the center of what we do, why we do it, and we should expect it. (I am not talking about just altar calls or prayer card decisions, but about people following Jesus, repenting and turning from sin to Jesus.)
Bill Clem said this of our churches:
“If we can manage growth, it is because we are being disobedient.”
Our afternoon project as a cohort was about being sent out with $100 to use in some form or another to show what community meant.
We spent our money on lunch and then a few pitchers of beer. We also left the waiter a good size tip with the rest. Alex our cohort leader took us around the Locks in Ballard and shared a lot of what community meant for him in Ballard.
Community was gathering around and hearing from one of our cohort members, Ross, Ross is from Johannesburg, South Africa. Ross shared with us what life was like there, and what it meant to be on mission there. He spoke of Johannesburg as being one of the deadliest cities in the world that is not in active war. He also spoke about what it means to let people in, and trust them as brothers, which is the only way to actually do any sort of community.
I felt like the time and money was well spent. We bonded as men, we opened up to each other and I feel we formed a community that will help, rebuke and get each other’s back throughout the year. Realizing that, this year for me, will involve preparing a church plant and gathering a core group, I am very thankful to have these men in my life.
After our class time, we headed to Carkeek Park for a ReTrain Orientation BBQ. Many men who are taking the classes live in Seattle so many brought their families out for this. It was so cool to see dads playing with their kids, to see young families, I actually felt like I was back at Desert Springs. I think Mars Hill and Desert Springs could give each other a good battle in seeing who has the most kids. What a difference it was to see these kids and parents, who love Jesus, love each other and love the city, from what we saw Tuesday when we walked around downtown Seattle. Jesus transforms lives, changes priorities and through Mars Hill and other churches in Seattle and all over the world, changes cultures and cities.