What do you do when you’ve been at something for seven years and need a reset. How do you know if your “micro expression of the church”, your missional community, is in need of a reset? There are three points for evaluation. In Brian Sanders little book, Micochurches, he describes the “ecclesial minimum” of worship, community, and mission. At minimum, if you want to call your group a church, those three things need to be going on. If you are seeing persistent breakdowns in anyone of the three, it’s time for a reset.
We have seen some of that, but there’s been a worldwide Pandemic. There have been disorienting cultural shifts on the outside, and a fair amount of personally challenge situations within our group. Finally, we haven’t been able to meet much at all for the last year – and Zoom is helpful, but it just isn’t the same! That is all the more reason for a reset.
What is God saying now? What will we do about it? in the last seven years, God has done wonderful things among us. We’ve learned so much and grown spiritually. We’ve had a season when we can say, “God has come near” so it’s time to turn, to reflect, to pay attention to what the Spirit is saying to our church, and to respond.
So we got together in retreat to work on that. We met Friday night and much of the day Saturday at Nicholl’s barn. The weather, by the way, was incredible! It’s May! There was low humidity and it was almost cool enough to need heat. That rarely happens in Florida!
Friday night, 18 of us gathered to feast and remember what God has done among us. We spent some time celebrating and listing great things God has done! But then, importantly, we spent some time lamenting some of what was missed or lost. Finally, encouraged by the prophet Joel as quoted in Peter’s Pentecost sermon, we dared to ask the Holy Spirit to stir our hearts to “dream dreams.” (See Acts 2:17-18). We wrote it down and turned it into prayer.
Saturday, we were a smaller group. But I was very pleased how the Lord put that together. Saturday’s group was much of the “core” of LoveFirst Coast. We were missing a few, but the people who were there have been committed to living life on mission and following Jesus faithfully and want to see LoveFirst Coast move forward.
And – there’s a huge opportunity in front of us. It’s a huge opportunity for anyone seeking to be a part of the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Part of this is a result of the pandemic. Obviously, many people have had their patterns of life disrupted. We’ve been through a season that has been tragic, hyper-political, and disorienting for everyone. In seasons like this, people search and question. They are spiritually more open. I currently in coaching cohort led by Hannah and Alex Absolom. Alex thinks the re-opening will take much longer than many expect, along with it, the season of spiritual openness. He reasons that it will probably last for 18 months to 2 years. So there’s no need to desperately rush out on mission. However, there’s no time to waste, either. People need the Lord and they are open to him. Time to share the good news!
So this is what we’ll do. This fall, for ten weeks, we’re going to work on developing a process for reaching a neighborhood. And we’ll put it into practice together. It will be a ten week mission based at Norma and Andrew’s house.
Want to join in? Let me know.