by Scott Nelson – Lead Pastor
I think we all realize that it has been a long year. Things have been closed, canceled, and changed. There is a global sense of anxiety and loss over what has happened. So much of me wants to go back to how things were before. I saw a movie in a theatre recently and found myself almost in tears – it was so good to be back (and the movie wasn’t very good either). The world got upended, and it is normal for us to want things to go back. But time moves forward, not back.
The first Sunday inside felt like we were “back.” Back to worship, back together, back to climate control. But then I realized we had already been worshiping (never stopped in fact), we had already been together (closer than ever), and even though we didn’t have climate control (tents don’t really have that) we got the memory of worshiping Jesus every single Sunday…through the summer and winter…rain or shine…outside and under a tent. Those are memories that shape you. Maybe we don’t need to go back. It would be way better to remember those lessons and move forward. Those lessons in the fire move you forward in faith.
There are lessons I learned about myself this year: where I am strong and where I need work. I don’t want to go back; I am not the same–I want to remember these lessons and be even stronger. I hope the world won’t go back either; I hope we have learned some positive lessons about what divides us, what makes us anxious and afraid, and what can truly unite us in hope. Many of us feel like the world is more messed up now than ever, but sometimes your room has to get messy before it can get put back together. I live with faith and hope that this mess can lead to a better world for us all (and there is still work to do).
Our church is moving forward, not back. As I look around on Sunday, I realize there are dozens of new people in our church who have joined in the last few months. There is loss, too; many have left and don’t plan on returning. Yet the Lord has brought new people whose lives are being transformed. People are coming to faith, getting connected, and serving Jesus. Our church has needed to delay construction, but the Holy Spirit has opened up church planting. We are moving forward and planting a church in 2021! Your church Council approved Zach Riley to be our church planter. This is a HUGE step for our church, and we are so excited. It is a little scary, but we are faith-filled, prayer-led, big thinking risk takers. We are moving forward, not back.
Maybe you are still struggling. I know I have days full of struggle, and hesitancy, and feeling like I got nothing in the tank. I think it will be like that for a while. But I still open up my eyes in faith, and pray, and look forward. Do I want to go back? No way. Jesus is leading forward in faith!