i’ve been in denver all week at our annual mid-winter conference for the evangelical covenant church (www.covchurch.org). it has been an amazing time of hearing God’s word, praying, making new friends, and catching up with other friends. what i’ve learned most from this trip is the beauty and power of living and serving together.
we are typically individualistically driven (at least I am.;)) and concerned with our own progress and growth in life, but it’s so apparent, when gathering with others, that it’s so much sweeter when we have a communal and collective mindset. the covenant church pastors refer to one another as ‘mission friends’ which is a great description of God’s kingdom. it means we have a high value of our mission as well as a high value of relationship. we ARE in it together and need to remember that others need our encouragement just as much as we need it.
i’m so excited to be a part of building the Kingdom rather than a single church. i’m grateful to be part of the greater body of believers and value our friendships as we move forward to change lives and make disciples of all nations!!!
I hate being alone!!! I can’t stand it. On a Meyer-Briggs personality profile, I’m a capital “E” for Extrovert. I have no “I” in me. I get so fueled by being surrounded by people and have to be pulled away from the crowd in order to get me out of it. But… this past year has been a season of more alone time than I’m particularly used to. And it has been in this alone time that I’ve had to face some incredible, dysfunctional junk in my life. People have asked me about my journey of church planting and I’ve openly shared that it’s been a hard and painful year. Mostly, I’ve had to face the incredible fear and insecurity that is deeply rooted in my heart and soul. Being alone forces me to find my identity in Christ alone. I’m so easily swayed to find significance and worth in others and how they “feel” about me. Simply put, I’ve heard the question from God: “Why do you want to plant this church? Is it because you love people? Or is it because you want to be successful in your ministry?” It’s humbling and almost shaming to answer honestly. I do love people!!! But when I’m honest with myself, I know that I love me more. And I know that I wrestle with my sense of self-worth. This is why my times of solitude shape me and help me cling to Christ all the more. It’s in my aloneness that I have no one to turn to and have no way to fix me on my own. It breaks me into a posture of opening my life to Jesus. I was sharing my process and journey with my previous pastor (Dave Gibbons – Newsong Community Church) and he recommended reading Henri Nowen’s book “The Way of the Heart.” Nouwen beautifully portrays my struggle and has helped me to embrace my time of solitude rather than run from it.
There is so much more I’ve learned from my times of solitude. More will come next week…