We had a lot of great guesses regarding what God has laid on my heart to pursue in the next season of my life. Before I give the correct response let’s summarize all the guesses:
- Motivational Speaker
- Missionary (two votes)
- Non-Profit Startup with Missionary Ties
- Christian Counseling
- Third-World Small-Business Startups
It’s so interesting to me that a group of people were presented with the same information, yet came up with such a wide variety of different options. I have considered, or had recommended to me, nearly every one of the choices listed above. I’ve even had a vision of myself as a motivational speaker, but that must be coming at another time in my life.
I believe God is calling my family and I to Florida, though we don’t yet have a place to live and I don’t yet have a job lined up; it feels like an “Abraham Moment”. God is calling us, though He won’t tell us exactly where to go or how to get there. Out of obedience we are responding in faith and making plans to move to Orlando in the next few weeks.
On the flight home from my scouting trip to Florida last weekend, as I was reading “Sifted” by Wayne Cordeiro, God quietly whispered to me: “I want you to plant churches.”
I mean “whispered” only in the sense that the voice was quiet and calm; I assure you the immediate effect it had on me was neither quiet nor calm. Imagine hundreds of puzzle pieces floating in the emptiness of space, some larger than others, not all having the same shape or pattern, suddenly and dramatically pulled together to form a perfect picture. I had a moment of certainty and clarity I have only experienced once or twice before in my life. I experienced a sudden burst of excitement and energy that exploded from the center of my being. I wanted to turn to the person next to me on the plane and say, “Oh my God! You won’t believe what just happened! God wants me to plant churches! Excuse me Ms. Flight Attendant, I need to get on the PA system. I need to tell everyone on this plane that God is about to do something amazing in my life!”
Some of you, probably those who have known me the longest and who know most of my sins, will think this idea is ridiculous. Trust me, it’s no more improbable to you than to me; I’m far more aware of my sins than you are. I am completely aware of how unqualified I am to plant churches. But isn’t that how God works? Isn’t this similar to what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus? God changed the “chief of sinners” (1 Tim 1:15) from Saul into Paul, the greatest church planter in the history of the world.
Like Paul, I have been a persecutor of the church. And in my trip to Florida I saw that though the church is splintered and flawed, there are far worse alternatives in the world today. I don’t think first century Palestine could hold a candle to the idolatry and spiritual wasteland I witnessed in Florida. Yes, the church is deeply disappointing at times, but God’s people are the only true hope for the world because we are the only way for the love and power of Jesus Christ to flow into the world.
And like the newly converted Paul, I only know how to tear down and persecute the church; I have no idea how to build it up. But I believe God is going to put people in my way to instruct me and prepare me to plant churches, just as He prepared Paul to spread the Gospel. If you, as you read these words, feel that God is calling you to guide me, I pray that you will let me know and let God work through you.
Let’s do this!