March 21, 2005

Paradigm Shift

God works in mysterious ways.

Check that - it implies that I could understand His ways, given enough time. Rather, God works, and I have no idea how. But He does. I had this weird experience last night. I don't know if you've ever had one of those times when you suddenly saw a huge picture of how your life had been working in tandem with several other people's without your knowledge, but if not, you should start asking God to show you. It's pretty sweet.

I know, I'm rambling, but I'm just not sure if I can put words to how entirely excited and scared and nervous and ecstatic I am right now. There are so many details to be worked out it makes me sick just thinking about it, and there are so many risks that I don't know if my tiny little brain can wrap itself around them. Maybe its best that it doesn't.

We had another phone meeting with a Pastor friend of ours in Australia last night, about our future mission trip there for a church plant. Funny thing though, I answer the phone and after a few greetings, she says "so I have some really big news, but I don't know what it means for you guys anymore - I've had a bit of a paradigm shift, and I'd like to explain it to you first before you say anything."

And then she more or less read me my thesis.

Mind you, we'd never talked about this before. All we've mentioned up until this point is the details about getting there and who we'd be working with and stuff like that, but never our ministry philosophy, because we all sort of assumed that it was the same (we all studied at the same church). And of course, you all have read about my changing ideas on ministry, of the missional church and how everyone in it is called by Jesus to be missionaries and how the church takes a holistic approach to ministry - building into each person on every level possible, incorporating service alongside worship gatherings alongside recreation. About how a worship gathering reflects the community, how art is important, how above all else, we are to be open and honest with our non-Christian neighbors, not judgemental.

None of it's very traditional, none of it really fits into the way church has been done until this point - unless you go back about 2,000 years. But the world is changing, and Ruth (the pastor) realized that too. I have little doubt in my mind that God's been preparing both of us for this mission, planing a church that looks nothing like a church, at least, in the world's eyes.

In short, we're going to Australia in the fall. I don't know how yet, but I know that it's going to be amazing. I hope we don't have to swim there, but if we do, God's going to give us the water-wings to keep us afloat. If you're the praying sort, please be praying for us - for Liz and me, for Ruth and her family, for the city of Melbourne, for WWM to see how valuable this new philosophy is for the new generations (and to give us the ok to raise funding so we don't have to swim over or live in a cardboard box), for our families to understand and be supportive, and for our hearts and minds and bodies to be ready for the hardest thing either of us has ever done.

Melbourne - your time has come to understand the Truth. We're on our way.

"Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I dare you to move ..."

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