Never let it be said that times of intense prayer aren't productive. The last several weeks have given a lot of answers on questions that need to be answered.
I have to admit, I was starting to get very discouraged. We're making progress, but at an excruciatingly slow rate almost to the point of appearing to be stationary. It's very frustrating for me, especially since I'm very much a results oriented person. If I'm working toward something, I have a hard time with delays, stalls, and setbacks. Nowhere is this more true for me than when it comes to Kingdom work. I came very close to giving up more than once in the last couple of months. Discouragement and despair are always at the elbow of anyone called to leadership in the Body and I am no exception.
Before I could give up, I hit my knees in prayer and for the last several weeks have engaged in a period of intensely seeking the face of God and sessions of fasting. I sought answers for a lot of questions that have been plaguing my thoughts. There are a few left I need answers and a couple I need further understanding but the primary queries have been answered.
I have been asking the Lord why Freedom Church is going so slow. Instead of one answer, I got three. One of them, I've already addressed in my personal blog and dealt with a sin issue that had been tolerated far too long. Yes, pastors can have sin issues in their lives just like everyone else. We can even have a modicum of effectiveness while allowing sin to have a hold on areas of our lives. However, the time is coming when the Lord isn't going to allow us to remain in bondage to the flesh and still serve effectively in His Kingdom. He was pretty clear that he wouldn't allow these seeds of destruction to remain and proceed with Freedom Church's launch. Now that this has been dealt with, placed under the Blood, and vigilance against it is in place (including accountability), the other answers have been given to us.
The next is that we are no longer going to be limited to a specific geographic location. When we decided to focus on Sunnyland, it was in the aftermath of the Washington Tornado. I was privileged to be used of God to minister to a number of people who were dealing with the loss of their homes, shock, and grief. In retrospect, I believe we were caught up in the emotion of the grief and pain of a community we belonged to and loved. The call to the Washington area (of which Sunnyland is a part) was for a specific time and season and that has passed. For many people, not being specific about a location is gong to sound a little nuts because it goes against the grain for many church plants. However, the fullness of the Lord's vision for FC makes more sense when we are no longer tied to a location.
The real truth is that we are called to a people rather than to a location and even that has been reshuffled a little. Our calling to the outcast, the people who don't feel like they belong anywhere else. That may not seem to be of a change since that's always been a part of the vision but the truth is we had a lot of the right people on the list but not in the right order. There are a lot of people who feel like they can't be themselves in a church because they feel condemned or judged because of who they are or what they enjoy. They need a place to belong.
There are a lot of people out there who need the Gospel. No one church can reach them all. The truth is, there are a lot of people out there who don't fit the mold of the "typical churchgoer." Many of them also feel rejected by larger society and need a place to belong. There are a lot of names people use for these people including freaks, geeks, nerds, losers, and flakes. However, these are among the most intelligent, creative and sensitive people out there. Lots of them are into metal, hard rock, punk and dress that way. They could be Goth, Cosplayers, or a whole host of so-called subcultures that feel out of place in traditional and contemporary churches. That is our calling. These are our people.
Does that mean that bikers and others are off the list? Absolutely not. Freedom Church is open to anyone who feels disenfranchised or cast off and needs to find the real freedom offered in Christ Jesus. This particular change appears to be minor but the focus shift is very real. We were close to the mark but not quite on the bullseye. It's the same list we've had from the beginning but the order has been shuffled a little bit. It's going to be a more difficult road to travel, but we must go down it.
When we were aiming at the wrong part of the target, the Lord slowed our progress to keep us from going too far down the road. It's so much easier to correct a course when you're starting out than it is when you're well underway. There are a few more things we need to clear up but they're relatively minor. With His help, things should start to accelerate very soon.