In 2002 and 2003, I worked with a team of leaders and several mission teams. Together we built a church in Otis, Colorado. It was an all-consuming process. We began the process because God gave us a clear direction. A large sum of money was donated and a piece of land became available. We were able to purchase it for cash. That gift gave us the confidence to pursue a building project.
However, it was not easy. We were trying to maintain our ministry focus, take care of those that God had sent us, and a building project. It was so much more than too much. But, we did it. And, when the dust settled, we had a building and enough debt to make our budget very uncomfortable.
I was surrounded by some very strong believers. We worked in complete agreement with each other and never fought about anything. We disagreed, prayed, came to unity, and made decisions. And, still, it was so difficult.
As many of you know, I came to Emmanuel Baptist Church in December of 2003. A couple of years later, there was a strong effort to begin a building project. I opposed it because of my experience with our prior construction project. The Otis project was much smaller and we had excellent unity, and it was hard. At Emmanuel, we had a lot of conflict within the body. Unity was not really part of the church’s DNA. We had been working on it through sermons and a focus on Ken Sande’s “Peacemaker” training process, but we had a ways to go. In addition to the conflict, we did not have a clear directive from God. I could not pinpoint a specific moment from God that indicated a clear path forward. At least, not concerning a facility expansion.
I eventually decided that I had to step down as pastor because of my disagreement with the project. I couldn’t support it and I didn’t believe I was the one to lead the church through it. I did not believe I could handle the conflict that it would inevitably cause.
Why am I relating this story to you? Things are difficult when you have a word from the Lord. They are impossible if you don’t. And, if they are possible, they are likely not the best for the church. That’s why we need prayer. We need to hear from God.
It is so easy to get excited about an undertaking in the beginning. But, that assignment turns into hard work soon enough. Yes, a facility would help us accomplish our mission. But, building facilities is not our mission. Making disciples of Jesus and equipping those disciples is our mission. Transforming Wyoming into a wonderful and Jesus-honoring state is our mission. And to do those things we need unity, and we need God’s power.
So would you take time this week to pray for a clear directive from God? Also, would you pray for complete unity in everything that we do?
Thank you for helping us Build Ordinary Faith.
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