July 30, 2008
I spoke several days ago with a former staff member.
He told about arriving at his then new and still current pastorate and sensing immediately that the big need they had as a church was to diversify. The church had moved away from people frequently in past years following "white flight." That pattern being stopped was a key, he felt, to the church's future. They must diversify and reach all peoples around them.
God agreed with that goal, and here in part, is what He did to be tangibly involved in their journey to diversify.
The process basically began this way -
A member was driving to church on a Sunday morning. As she did, she noticed a black family walking along together, all dressed up. She drove by them and then thought: Why are they walking? Where are they going? I could offer to help them.
Turning the car around, she pulled up beside them and asked: "Do you need a ride?"
"Yes," they responded, "we are going to church."
"Well then, jump in," she offered.
And they did so readily.
"What church are you going to?" she asked.
"We are not certain, m'am, in fact, we are looking for a church."
"Would you come to mine?" she inquired.
They said yes
....and have been coming ever since.
That was over 2 years ago.
And during that time they have become leaders in the church's diversification and health.
The story doesn't end there, for the woman who offered the ride wondered how it was that they had so readily accepted her invitation for a ride under those circumstances - from a stranger and with children in tow, to who knows where. So she asked that question and this was the response:
"Last night I had a dream and in that dream I saw our family all dressed up walking down the this street going to church. I saw a car exactly like yours pull up and a ride offered to us...as you did. I knew when it happened it was the Lord. So we got in without hesitating."
"Oh my," the woman said. "This morning I got ready for church and looked outside and saw my husband's vehicle rather sideways in the drive. The car I aways take to church was blocked in the garage, so I took his."
And voices in heaven said, "Everything worked out just perfect, Father. And another church is on the way to renewal." (This account in fact has propelled the church forward in rapid fashion into a present unfolding of God's life among them.)
Dreams, prompts, acts of love, trust, acceptance of "coincidences" and more....all part of the way that God gets tangibly involved in our journey. "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.."
So, head in the ways that the Lord is leading.......and keep your heart open!
Watch people...take advantage of coincidences...offer acts of love often...and expect to see Him join you on the journey.
It's a promise: "The pure in heart will see God."
With eyes wide open..........with you.