The following post is part of a series on our blog inspired by the opportunity for church revitalization God has opened to us in Rancho Cucamonga. Catch up on the earlier posts in the series here:
- "Revitalization: Our Moment"
- "Why Revitalization?"
- "Revitalization: How We're Doing It (Part 1)
- "Revitalization: How We're Doing It (Part 2)
In the last post I explained two points, answering the question "How are we doing this revitalization?" But there's more. Here are the next two points on the methods we're purposefully trying to use in this work.
3. We are trusting the Lord to move people to Rancho Cucamonga. One of the remarkable ways God has led us through this so far is by providentially aligning Jordan’s sermon series with this opportunity. As we worked through the book of Ezra, we encountered a phrase that has given us direction and focus: “the Lord stirred.” The Lord stirred in king Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem (1:1), and he stirred up some of the Jews to go to rebuild the temple (1:5). We reflected on the reality that when God wanted something done for his glory, he stirred in the hearts of his people to do it. And as they moved forward, though they faced opposition, “the hand of the Lord was upon them” (8:18) and they succeeded. We are trusting the Lord to do this revitalization. I’ve talked to many people about potentially moving to Rancho to participate in this work, but I’m committed to avoiding manipulation or coercion. I don’t want anyone to be guilted into going or to feel that staying is less spiritual. Our prayer has been that God would stir in people so deeply that they desire the work. If I convince people to follow me to Rancho, the work will fail. If the Holy Spirit compels people to go, the work will flourish.
4. We want to move at the speed of prayer. We want to be a people of risk-taking faith. We also want to be wise. When moving forward in something as big as this, there’s a potential for ruin on both sides of the tight-rope. On one side, we can be presumptuous, moving forward before we’ve sought the Lord and seen his hand in it. On the other side, we can be fearful or lazy, dragging our feet and missing opportunities. We’ve gone into this with prayer first, moving cautiously and casually, but purposefully, trusting that God will open doors and clear obstacles if it’s his will. We have often asked God to shut down the process if it wouldn’t be to his glory, our good, and the advance of the gospel. With each obstacle that could have stopped us in our tracks God paved the path forward. And every time he’s opened the door or cleared the path, we’ve stepped forward. When I begin to worry about the project ahead of me, I often go back to Martin Luther’s statement: “Pray, and let God worry.”
Again, we're so excited for what God has in store for all of this, even in the unexpected things we haven't anticipated. Keep praying, and considering how you can be used by God in this work as we all keep partnering and laboring in it together!