We've come to the time when we must reevaluate where Freedom Church stands and how to proceed. The assessment we've made is that we need to change our approach to ministry and to the church.
Since late summer, several people who have listened to me have asked me about whether or not we should be planting a church instead of continuing to work in a parachurch capacity. Many have stated that I would be more effective in media ministry and as a conference speaker and evangelist. I have wondered the same thing myself and each encounter of this type has raised that question again and again.
The other side of the coin is that when we set forth on this journey, we set evaluation points to determine whether or not this was likely to happen. The obstacles are enormous. The challenges are huge. While we have found many people who would like to be a part of Freedom Church, the reception of the vision in the rest of the church in the area has been something less than warm. A couple have been supportive and encouraging, but most write off the vision as either unneeded or too far removed from their experience to work. Funding simply hasn't broken loose from any quarter. A few have given cash but no organized help has ever come. Without it, FC just won't happen.
The other part of the evaluation is what doors are opening. While I do not hold to the so-called "Open Door Theology" as a steady guide to determining the Lord's will, but it can be a good indicator of a need in the Body of Christ. Looking at the Jesus' Outsider episodes that have been popular, observing what's happening in and out of the church, and having conversations with ministry leaders and people in the local community have all pointed in one direction. There are some things we need to talk about and we just aren't, at least not at the level they need to be discussed. Many of these are areas that my lovely bride and I have the experience, knowledge, and passion to engage in these conversations. The opportunities for that to happen are already starting to become apparent.
The truth is plain for us to see. We are no closer to launching Freedom Church than we were a year ago. I am overloaded beyond any real capacity to accomplish anything. I am essentially working five jobs and none of them are getting the attention they deserve. I am still working in the mobile industry, a day a week in construction, Jesus' Outsider, Deep Mystery Studio, and Freedom Church. I am restructuring everything in my life (See my personal blog for more) to line up with a clearer vision from the Lord. I am trimming the fat and that means some things are dropping away and others are getting the pause button pushed to be revisited down the road. Freedom Church is the latter.
For now, we are pushing the pause button on Freedom Church. We will be revisiting the issue down the road but as of right now, we are not going forward with the launch. That doesn't mean that it won't happen but it does mean not now. We might not even be the right people to do this. Maybe we need to look for that person and give our support to that individual. Instead, we are throwing all of our efforts into Jesus' Outsider (including changing the Facebook page to Jesus' Outsider Ministries), Deep Mystery Studio, and speaking engagements and conferences. I will also spend a lot more time writing not only blogs but other projects that have been on the back burner.
All of the energy and donations so far will be redirected into these ministry efforts especially the Sex, Porn, and Freedom conference announced in the last blog post. Further information will be on my personal blog and the Stainless Steel Soapbox. I know this will be a blow to some of you but not really a surprise to most of you. We must do what we believe is right in the Lord and at this stage, this is it.
For all of you who've been supportive and encouraging, thank you. We hope you'll stay with us as we further refine what the Lord has for us.