In June of 2008 I went on a three day camping trip in a VW van with my buddy Blake Heybrock. Epic. That’s really all that can be said about the trip. But one piece of that story is pertinant to where we are today.
On the second morning of the camp out I sat on a bridge over the Niobrara River to have my quiet time. For some reason I was drawn to the book of Acts. In the first chapter three phrases stuck out to me: “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised”, “But you will recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”, and “They all met together and were constantly united in prayer.” I sensed that God was telling us to stay in Fremont until he had given us the gift of a special annointing to go and that we too needed to be united in prayer. Over the next two years God faithfully confirmed that this indeed was what He was speaking that day.
Every attempt we made to leave was blocked (see episode 5). Eventually, I was hired at Bethany (a short 20 min drive from our home) where it was obvious that the vision of the church and its leaders was exactly what we had been looking for. I came home nearly everday amazed at how the Holy Spirit was working in and around Bethany.
Unfortunately, trouble was brewing and in October things started to unravel at the church when a council member called for the pastor’s resignation. At the time, I didn’t know where it would lead, but I was aware that I needed to keep my eyes open.
In December the Lord finally fully closed the door to my long held plan to earn a PhD in order to teach and disciple college students in the university setting and the “waiting in Jerusalem” continued. But over new years I took two students to the Urbana Missions Conference where a church planter from the Vinyard association prayed for me, specifically asking that Lisa and I be unified. I also met Travis Collins, a missionary with CRM. On returning home, Lisa and I began to pray together in earnest about what God had for us as a couple. We also continued to visit with Travis and began reading several books about missional churches and communities, something we had long talked about but never really knew how to persue.
In the seven months since those two conversations, tragically, Bethany has exploded. As it was doing so, Lisa and I kept asking the question of what is God calling us to (and not just away from). And what we have discerned is that our call has always been apostolic…that is, moving into new territory as sent ones. But only now are we prepared and released to do so. We both feel like God has given us the gift he promised, the power of the Holy Spirit for this new task, and we are eager to get moving. So now “season two” begins as we complete the process of joining CRM Empowering Leaders, cast the vision of what God has prepared and called us to, and begin to enter into a ministry of raising up and empowering leaders for the health of the church.