On January 16, 2014 we will celebrate our three year anniversary as a church. With such a small amount of time before this date, we have no plans to throw a party or have a special service to commemorate what God has done in these three years. When I look back I have mixed emotions; some memories cause me to laugh, some cause me anxiety, while some cause me to feel a sense of accomplishment. All of my feelings fade as I’m reminded of the following verses found in 1 Corinthians:
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-5, ESV)
The truth stated in this passage causes me to look outward and celebrate our righteous judge, Jesus, instead of celebrating a church and examining ourselves. So with that stated, I will not take much time to measure ourselves prematurely. What we can do is renew our commitment to continue the work Jesus has started and seek to make disciples that touch their world with the love of Jesus.
Our church was birthed with very little to boast about, but a strong desire to teach, preach and proclaim the gospel while loving people like Jesus did. Like any other autonomous church plant with no support, all we could do was meet the “wide” needs of the community. “Wide” meaning: preaching on Sunday, gathering during the week in Community Groups, and addressing general needs. I believe all church plants should meet wide needs at first, but prayerfully strategize on how to meet “narrow” needs as the church grows. “Narrow” meaning: in addition to preaching on Sundays and meeting during the week in Community Groups, we seek to help people apply the gospel to their current stage in life. For example: Youth, young adults, single parents, battered women, people dealing with addictions, divorced, etc.
What I’m hoping to see happen, with the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit, is to identify through the leadership of the elders, various gifts and assignments that the Lord has placed on people’s lives. I would love to see us as a church begin to meet narrow needs in addition to wide needs. This will not happen overnight, but through much prayer and effective training we will begin the transition that will help hundreds and eventually thousands of people learn how to submit their lives underneath the Lordship of Jesus.
I end this blog with a call. This call is for patient disciples that discern a grace to minister to a narrow need. In an effort to begin this general call for help, I have put together an initial filtering process. If you meet the following prerequisites please contact Pastor Eliot at Eliot@lightinthecity.com
1. Attend Sunday gathering regularly.
2. Attend Community Group faithfully.
3. Give generously.
4. Willing to submit to the timeline that our elders decide is appropriate to launch
5. Evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.
In His Service,
Pastor Eddie Leon