Church planting is hard. Think of it in agricultural terms. When you walk onto a piece of ground that has never been tilled the process of getting that ground to a fruit bearing stage is immense. It involves clearing debris, removing rocks, breaking up hard and resilient soil, seasoning the soil with the proper nutrients and fertilizers to give it the best chance possible of supporting life, etc. The list is seemingly never ending and because of that, at times, extremely daunting. Having said that I have not experienced anything quite as rewarding either. To have a front row seat in a move of God is something special. Yesterday was not only Easter but CCA’s 3 year anniversary and I just wanted to take a few moments and share with all our members and partners a few thoughts, updates and reflections.
1. OUR FOCUS IS DEPTH MORE THAN BREADTH-
There is an inherent danger of finding value in only what you do. Don’t misunderstand me, action is incredibly important and you won’t get anywhere without it. However, WHO WE ARE is more important than WHAT WE DO. It’s possible to be as wide as an ocean and yet be as shallow as a puddle. These last three years God has been defining our culture, our identity and our DNA. These distinctions have led us to become something that is uniquely CCA. A culture of true love, organization, authenticity, acceptance, holy risk and God honoring excellence in everything we do. Everyone who comes seems to immediately sense these distinctions. We simply have let God shape our hearts and the result is that we are daily becoming a healthy fellowship that is not only touching many lives but has the ability to go the distance. For this, I am eternally grateful.
2. I SENSE A SHIFT IN SEASONS-
It has been three years of plowing and planting and we have certainly seen some incredible fruit. The church has grown significantly from the 35 we began with in a living room and for this we are thankful. Everything in life and ministry is about seasons and cycles. The ability to discern your season is a huge part of being able to endure and persevere when times are tough. I feel in my spirit that we are shifting into a season of gathering and harvest. I don’t say things like this haphazardly or off the cuff as some part of expected pulpit rhetoric. And trust me, seasons of harvest are short and filled with long seasons of fresh plowing and planting in between. But I do sense harvest and I believe between Eggdrop and yesterday we are getting a glimpse into the beginning of this season. We saw some 2500 people representing 400 families reached through Eggdrop which culminated yesterday in 367 people attending CCA to celebrate Easter, 25 of which gave there lives to Christ. I am in awe and so humbled by what the Lord has done and is doing in this shift of seasons. All the glory belongs to God and we acknowledge His presence at work among us.
3. IF WE REMAIN FAITHFUL GOD WILL CONTINUOUSLY MAKE US FRUITFUL-
It has been a wonderful and pressure relieving reality to acknowledge that the ultimate act of increase is not our responsibility. When you read the scriptures in Matthew 25, the Master never addresses the servant on the basis of his productivity, he simply praises him for his relentless persistence. He doesn’t say “Well done my good and FRUITFUL servant.” He says “Well done my good and FAITHFUL servant.” Now, indeed there was fruitfullness but the truth is the servant was faithful with the talents he had been given and God had simply blessed and favored his efforts. We will never stop striving, working, loving and laboring to be His hands extended to the world. There will be many more days of plowing and planting but it is only through this process that we will see God’s hand produce long lasting fruit. I have committed my life to this purpose and thank God daily for the incredible staff, volunteers and partners that have as well. We are in this together and you can believe…..THE BEST IS YET TO COME.
All for Christ, JMark