It is tremendous fun to watch someone begin to master a skill. There is a joy that comes as a person gains competence. I was playing a game we call “Where’s Declan?” with my grandson. I have to say, I believe he is the greatest player of “Where’s Declan?” in the whole wide world! The game proceeds like this; I throw a blanket over his head and he quickly pulls it off while I ask “Where’s Declan?” As he emerges he is full of smiles and brimming with a sense of accomplishment. He knows he has mastered the game and both he and I delight in the achievement.
In 1 John chapter 1 the author writes about reasons for sharing about Jesus. He cites a reason for sharing “that our joy may be complete.” At its very inception the idea behind Street Hope Saint John has been the formation of a serving, witnessing community. This goal makes us different from other ministries. Formation by its very nature is not an instant conversion event. It is often slow and tedious. It is messy and frequently disappointing but the joy, oh the joy, when milestones are reached!
Over the years I have seen people; come to faith, radically reorder their lives, and discover a new life, yet these developments fall short of our aim. Few want to move beyond this ‘consumeristic’ view of faith into gift oriented service. My motto has become “Work with the willing!” The numbers are small but the joy is great. We may be few but we believe we can have an impact in the world not based on our size or prestige but on the power of the Almighty Trinity.
As I have been writing lately we are focussed on our “Thirty Day Challenge” (see last week’s blog for information about that). In our theme song “Come Alive”, by Lauren Daigle, we hear the call to “step into the valley unafraid” and to call out to the dry bones “Come alive!” We are a very repetitive bunch not quickly moving on from one thing to another. We have been listening to this song for over a year. We have been studying Luke 15:11- 24 (the Parable of the Lost Son) since summer. We repeat because that is the way we learn, so we repeat. This staying with a truth and a text has helped us to move the truth from our heads to our hearts and now to our hands and feet.
I watched a video of the head of Pixar this week. He was explaining the ‘culture shift’ he was able to lead at Disney Animation. At one point he said he could encapsulate the ‘vision’ in a four hour presentation but it was a four year process to have the community really “get it”. As I heard the words from this acknowledged creative genius, I realized that I was on the right track with my chosen discipleship methods.
While we have high hopes for our “30 Day Challenge” our sense of accomplishment will not be reliant on outward evidence. Ours is to step into the valley unafraid. It is God’s to bring life. Having said that, we do pray expectantly for folks to find their way back to the Father. I have already personally invited 3 people and one has responded very positively!
Please pray for us in this venture, especially in the next weeks as members of our community invite friends to take up our challenge. I almost hate to add this but could you also pray for our income during this time when so many are experiencing financial challenges?