Until now the stories of conducting church from my 2007 Prius have been complete sugar and spice. I must admit it seemed so surreal to witness the sudden expansion of Commission. However this past Sunday was my wake up call and I have to say it left me shaken, even terrified. I may not have been as stunned with the events that occurred last Sunday if things had not been going so well at Commission. One should not misunderstand; our church is doing capitol all things considered, but I realize that this journey is no longer a fairy tale. Fairy tales practically always conclude with a happy ending. However this week I was reminded just how fragile our future really is, and how much faith it will require to see Commission through.
Easter week passed and we had 65 people in total attendance. It was such a refreshing time together. Everyone seemed to have truly enjoyed themselves from the worship to the egg hunt. As usual we did not advertise our Commission and we were still experiencing growth in attendance. 65 people may sound trivial to many pastors, but for a church that has a goal of planting many small congregations with each having a goal of a weekly attendance between 20-50 people (including children) we were thrilled. I was even beginning to get nervous about the potential need to multiply our community sooner than expected. Then something happened that brought my thoughts crashing back to earth.
Things moved along as usual and this past weeks attendance was low due to the poor weather. As my leaders will happily tell you "people are still hungry when it rains" so thanks to my wonderful team we have a concrete rain or shine policy at Commission. Things were going as well as they could in undesirable conditions and then something caught us off guard.
What started as a friendly gesture between two homeless people somehow evolved into a potential brawl between them. To be honest I still do not understand what caused these two to almost harm one another. Death threats and excessive profanity filled the park. I noticed that one of the aggressors had his hands in his pockets while making promises to "bleed" the other. This made the situation even more frightening especially with small children present. I handled the situation as calmly as I could and luckily one of the perpetrators left the premises before the situation exploded. I was disturbed to say the least.
"What do I do now?" I thought to myself. "What happens when things get out of hand?" I asked myself.
I do not remember a time in my life were I felt so unqualified. I mean I have played guitar and sang for the past ten years of my career. Music was the extent of my "ministry". "Why would God call me to do this?" I questioned. I mean I was happy just being the music guy where my life was secure and my music was adored. In "church" things are so ... safe, and shelter was honestly sounding attractive. I truly missed the traditional church model and being in the spot light for a brief moment. After all sitting for an hour listening occasionally to some middle aged socially inept pastor desperately trying to be hip in order to connect with the twenty somethings is much safer than my idea, and it pays! Then I remembered something I read a long time ago. "What kind of faith does one actually possess without risk of personal detriment, or failure"? I understood at once that if I am not going to bleed for a cause than it is not a cause worth standing for. So I await the pain, I welcome the falls, and I accept the failures. I will take the mockery, accept the danger, and embrace the criticism. I lay it all down; my ambitions, my comforts, my preferences, my pride, my legacy, and even my life. It is a gift to the one who gave the same for me. I do not care if anyone supports me in this endeavor or if they think me less of a "christian" or even a fool. I don't care if I die in the process because I am finding life in risking it. I know that I have a mission and I do not have time for fear and doubt!
-For The Kingdom