On Sunday mornings, I usually say that Satan has descended upon our house because words fly carelessly and shoes are tossed around and babies cry when the hairbrush pulls through tangles and my stress hits the fan while we simply try to get everyone one block down the street to the little old library that is our church home.
Thad makes two trips from the house to the little old library to unload the things our church needs and then comes back to pick up his women folk who are skating on the edge of a break down. The boys take the high road and walk to church and I know for a fact that you couldn’t pack them into our petri dish on wheels to save your life. Who wants to ride in a car with five wild-eyed women on a Sunday?
Our sweet little church scurries around setting up coffee and setting up extra chairs. My six kids set up the floor mats for the children’s room while I unpack the toys. One friend prepares the weekly communion cups and wafers while another prepares to receive guests. Two men and one woman gather to pray for the service and Thad tunes the guitar for worship. The fifteen or so kids scarf down donuts and run wild and our precious college girl wrangles them with the loving kindness that drips from her pores.
And at 12:30, around our beat up farm table, we bow our heads and beg Jesus to send more laborers.
Because the harvest in our little neck of the woods is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Last weekend, at my last ever MOPS retreat, the new leadership team was asked to share their story of Jesus and their story into MOPS leadership. We were in a circle with cups of coffee and bare feet and boxes of tissues and as each woman shared her story, we all cried and laughed when nearly half the group said:
Well, I’m here because Lori told me that Jesus told her I was supposed to serve.
Because it was true. I had asked each of them to serve because I absolutely felt that Jesus had a place in our MOPS ministry with their name on it.
And as I sat there in the circle, I couldn’t help but feel my face flame with the audacity of how I went about building that team. Who was I to invite them into MOPS and play the Jesus card in the process of asking?
I cringed as each woman shared the same story until I felt the sweet whisper of the Holy Spirit:
See. Look what we did. You heard me right and you invited. They said yes to the adventure.
And I let the tears roll because I had prayed for laborers and Jesus had sent them and together, our MOPS team had ushered in the kingdom of Jesus by planting a new work.
I hesitate to answer the question How do I know if I’m supposed to leave one church for another? but I spend countless hours answering that very question, asked in a thousand different ways. The question masquerades itself in discontentment, lack of purpose, unfulfilled longing to belong to something bigger than oneself, or idleness. Sometimes the question waltzes into the room looking like temporary help to a permanent problem such as showing up to feed some hungry kids once a month, knowing full well there will be hungry kids every day forever.
And sometimes the question comes out exactly like a statement:
I know Jesus is inviting me to something uncomfortable and I do not want to leave what I know, but what I know is leaving me longing for more of Jesus.
And the only answer I can give you is this:
While you are posturing yourself at the feet of Jesus begging for more of Him, somewhere out in our great, big world, is a person posturing himself right beside you at the feet of Jesus, begging Jesus to send laborers into their field of mission.
And the answer to both prayers may be YOU, leaving what you know to give yourself away to the harvest that is plentiful.
If we can ever begin to look at our churches as our places of sending, leaving would not be the question we ask.
The question would simply be Where?
Someone is praying for you.
Maybe by name…because Jesus told them to.
Just say yes to the adventure. You’ll be grateful you did.