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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

seriously - I'll do it.

We're on the last few hours of the last day of church planting bootcamp. For those of you who don't know, which a lot of people don't, church planting bootcamp is kind of meant to look a lot like real bootcamp. It a) breaks you down, breaks down the selfish and glamorous ideals you have about planting a church, b) gives you a really realistic picture of what planting a church is like - in an effort to sober and excite you all at once, and c) it sorts out the people who are or are not ready to plant a church. Nick and I are in the scary division of church planters called "parachute plants", meaning if/when we go to Boston - we're going without a group of people already established, to a culture we don't totally understand, & to a city that has a high-need for churches. That being said, the assessment process is really important for us. If we're not ready - we shouldn't go. Moreover, if Acts 29 doesn't think we're able, we don't want to go. We're not trying to start a church plant and gain influence in people's lives and mess up a ministry and thus, waste people's time and do an injustice to the gospel.

From a possible church planting wife's perspective, I've been really incredibly thankful for these past two days. I'm really thankful for the speakers who have opened my eyes, for the pastors wives who have humbly been transparent about their hardest struggles & greatest gains, and for the team that will sit with us for two hours tomorrow and gracefully question our motives, abilities, marriage, ministry perspective, and most importantly - our understanding of the redemptive work of Jesus.

I wish I could say I've felt this open and grateful for the past forty-eight hours, but come on - let's be honest. Sitting in session after session at a "bootcamp" will tear you down, build you up, whip you around, and shift your heart. On the way to Seattle yesterday, I was already tearing up - weighing the cost of what we might do. I made Nick promise for about the sixteenth time that we were doing this for Jesus, not for ourselves or for a job or because it seemed like the right thing to do. His answer is always the same, that yes - Jesus is the only reason He'd do this. I believe him.

After twelve hours of boot-camp yesterday, I was teary again on the way this morning. Not terrified or sad, just really sobered and chock-full of pregnancy hormones. Right off the bat today, we heard just maybe my favorite pastor of all time, PJ Smyth from South Africa, give about the most beautiful call to follow Jesus. He talked about Peter's walk with Jesus in John 21, and how incredible Jesus' questions were for Peter. He didn't ask his mission or vision for the New Testament church, he didn't ask Peter what his spiritual gifts were, and he didn't ask the name he would use for the first post-pentecostal gathering. He simply asked Peter if he loved Him - three times.

So, tomorrow is our interview. No matter the outcome, I know for sure that my husband and I love Jesus. I know for sure that the two of us should willingly do what He asks us, go where He sends us. If He says stay in Puyallup for the rest of your lives and minister to the farmers and their sheep, we'll do it. I feel pumped to live the rest of my life in relationship with the One who changed history, the One who changed my history, the One who saved my silly, gross, sinful soul. Pray for us if you think about it - for peace in our hearts, wisdom for the people assessing us, and grace for us to hear their wisdom. Our biggest call in life - for ALL OF US who are believers - is the great commission: to go, make disciples, baptize, & teach the people. I know for certain after these two days, that seriously - we will go wherever and however Jesus wants us to do that.

Whatever the outcome, I'm thankful for bootcamp. There is something nice about being stripped down and built back up in Christ alone. I'll probably post some notes from all the amazing sessions over the next few weeks and we'll let you know as soon as our next steps in life become more clear!


michelle said...

praying for you both :)

...and selfishly telling Jesus that the connollys and boston are a great fit. just in case he wanted a little input from a mere mortal ;)

InthemiddleofLIFE said...

Powerful words, precious daughter-of-the-King! You did such an amazing job of giving us word-pictures of the transformation that takes place when we open ourselves fully to His work in us and through us.
We are praying today and anxious to hear how it goes!

Anonymous said...

praying hard for y'all in this process. church planting can be so much fun, but so draining too.

saw this article today and it hit me that god's working on y'all to fill a real need.

blessings on the journey!

Lauren said...

Praying for you & Nick.

wight people said...

this is a big day for all of us.....can't wait to hear! Love you and always will. whether your accent turns more seattle-esque, stays southern, or you go bostonian.

suzannah said...

how exciting/terrifying! i will say a prayer for boldness and a sure discernment of God's call.

ever read The Shaping of Things to Come? it is such a fantastic book on what it looks like to BE the living Church in the world (instead of some physical structure.)

grace and peace

Pinkie Winkie said...

We were thinking about and praying for you two yesterday morning!
So excited for you guys!