One thing I love about my job is getting to hear stories from church planters around the country of how God is moving and working. I received this little story from a friend of mine who has been working to plant and nurture a brand new Vineyard church in his home in Louisiana. Let’s pause to celebrate this beautiful moment with him.
A Beautiful Moment: Why We Plant Churches Reason #498
My wife and I have been gathering people in our home now for about 100 days. We live in Shreveport, LA. Our city is a place that is over-churched and under-loved. Over the last few months we have had a lot ups and downs. The downs have been tough, but we have been learning to focus on and celebrate what Jesus is doing and not what He is not doing. So, I want share with you one of the things Jesus is doing!
Last week at our home group we had a new lady come to check us out. While we were singing a couple of songs together, I began to get a picture in my head. It was a memory of the way I pictured a John Wesley small group in 18th Century England when I read about it years ago. I asked God, “What are you trying to tell me?” Then I remembered that in these groups, they had 3 or 4 tenets, or things they felt like they should do every time they met. The one that stood out to me was the open confession of sin. So, I was like, “God are you wanting us to do that? Really?” Then I felt like the phone lines from heaven just got quiet. You know what that means? It means the last orders are still good orders, and so I went for it.
As the music began to wind down, I shared what I had just experienced with the group and explained what I thought Jesus was saying. Then I proceeded to start it off. I prayed out loud and confessed some of the sinful attitudes and behaviors I had been exhibiting. Next my wife confessed her sins and then one by one it went around the room. And then the beautiful moment happened. The new lady that came to check us out that night was last in the rotation to confess. Everything got quiet for a few seconds and then she began to pray. She said, “God you know I was abused all my childhood and I have blamed you and hated you for it. Please, God, can you forgive me and some way accept my pitiful life? I want to follow you.” Right then and there, on our couch, she surrendered to Christ! At the end of the meeting she was asking for a Bible. Nobody told her she needed to read a Bible. Nope, but God’s Spirit dwelling in her began to coach her in the ways of the Kingdom. And that, my friends, is why we plant churches. It is stories like this that keep us going on the days when it is difficult. It is worth it!
You’ve got to love stories like this, right? It’s a huge part of why we do what we do: why we move locations, give up decent jobs; why we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations; why we take risks over and over again to see the good news of the kingdom proclaimed and demonstrated, and to see new churches planted. For me, every time I see another person surrender their life to God’s love…I want to sign up and do it all again!