Most of you know that the Man and I are 2 years into a church plant.
We have no staff, no local board of directors.
We live in the constant state of seeing growth, seeing loss, and then seeing more growth.
And just when we think we’re turning a corner, we see more loss.
It’s a whipping, in every sense of the word.
And in recent months, I’ve not written much about church planting.
I’ve not written about it because as my audience has grown, the Lord has seen fit to grow it here, in my place.
For those of you who don’t know, most of you faithful readers live here in Rocky Mount. We stand in line together at Target and rub shoulders at Wal-Mart and share cups of pour over coffee at Milton & Miles. We see each other at the YMCA and at JCPenney and at El Tap. And for some of you, we sit next to one another at the gathering we’ve named Fellowship Bible Church Rocky Mount.
I know you’re my readers because you tell me, in those quiet words of yours, and so this place of mine no longer feels like my place.
It feels like our place.
And when I consider it to be our place, I find that words are harder to come by. There is a risk and an unspoken commitment to honor you in my words, and that makes it hard to write about this church planting business.
But when I consider the birth of this blog, I cannot deny that I chose to write to a specific group of people with the intent of keeping these loved ones abreast of all the happenings here in Rocky Mount. My readers lived in Dallas, TX and all attended one church, none of them knowing anything about Rocky Mount.
And I was free to write the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Tonight, that freedom no longer exists and I wrestle with words, wondering how my words will land and to whom they will land upon.
I am tongue-tied, wondering where God’s story begins and where the enemy lies in wait and my words hang somewhere in the balance.
To write or not to write? That is the question.
And really, that is always the question.
The enemy is always waiting to spin my words into things I never meant to say and push me into spaces of quiet.
So, do I write the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or do I curl up next to silence and let my silence speak words of wonder and speculation?
I’m not sure.
I’ve not yet learned how to dance this dance of truth and real life, story of God and thwart of enemy.
But I do know that this writing is my art and that this is the way that Christ comes out in me.
And if I know this to be true, I’m absolutely certain that the enemy has his scope on my back, conjuring up all kinds of lies to make me not tell you the truth.
Y’all, I’m not going out like that.
I’m going to tell the whole story, one part truth-one part grace, and let God figure out how you receive it. And so I tell you:
We’ve had 2 families leave our church in one week, both leaving in the span of 48 hours of one another.
I’ve cried and been angry and spent the days of this week living somewhere outside of my skin, unable to make sense of their leavings.
Small churches have only big leavings and we’re left shell shocked and stunned,
Circling the pool of We’re-Not-Enough.
And that pool we circle tells the truth.
We’re not enough, but Christ is.
I wallow in this truth, knowing it is Christ alone who builds His church,
And I, in my smallness, have the honor of writing His story.
So receive my words as you so choose for I’ve wrestled them out, over five long days, and I spin them here for Christ to use them as He sees fit.
And I pray that when we rub shoulders at Wal-Mart, you ask not about my church, but only about the Christ who builds His church.
And I ask for grace here:
I share this post from the archives because I’ve got a writing deadline and my fingers are itching to tell this story again. Not because I think you need to hear it, but because I need to hear it. Most of you know I live in the Bible Belt where we count notches on our individual church belts with baptisms and t-shirts and number of buildings. And there is a murmur in my heart that I cannot quite put words to, nor can I sleep at night for the rabbits trying to run down this trail. This week, I’ve heard 2 terms tossed about in reference to our local churches and their implication is this: We have a corner market on Jesus and He has made us the spiritual leaders in this city.
For more days than I want to count, I have scratched out every word that has come to my mind in reference to this corner market theology.
And I’ve not had one good word to write.
So I give you what I have and all I have is Jesus.
And Jesus is handing us a towel and a basin and a cross,
Not a program or a t-shirt or a notch in our belt.