What did we all learn in high school physics class? An object in motion will stay in motion, unless acted on by an equal and opposite force? If I remember correctly, this is called momentum which maintains the movement already happening. Our momentum is prayer and for that I am grateful for all of your prayers both past and future. Please continue to create more momentum—praying—for the Gospel and its impact in Chicago.
Tom and I did meet this morning. He had many positive things to say about the proposal and I was continually waiting for the "but". "If a stranger had handed this to me, I would think it was a good plan." But? "It shows that you've done your homework." But? "It's clear that you have a Biblical approach and know your context." But? "Your goals and timelines are reasonable." But? The "but" never came.
There are two things that we are looking at for next steps.
First, Assessment. Sometimes a dirty and scary word; however, it is a necessary process that most, if not all, church planters go through. It shows exactly where my strengths and weaknesses lie. It will help to tell me where on the spectrum of church planters I lie—am I solely a church planter and every 3-5 years I will be planting a church, or am I more of a planter/pastor where I stick around a lot longer before moving on, if at all. Where are my blindspots? Things like, my numbers and budget is not exactly nailed down, which isn't a strike against me—Tom said, most church planters that are good with numbers aren't exactly good at planting churches—so I'll need to make sure I have those types of people around me. This will take place by the end of September.
Second, Presbytery approval. The regional body of elders over Chicago for the EPC is the Rivers and Lakes Presbytery. They have final approval of the plan and proposal. Tom has a lot of influence and sway. Hopefully, there will be no unseen roadblocks. Rivers and Lakes has expressed interest in planting a church in Chicago. The R&L Presby. meets in September, which may be a little soon to get the plan approved, so it may be pushed to January 2013. Obviously, we would prefer September, but everything in God's timing. Once the plan is approved, I can receive my call and be ordained.
And about ordination, I can take all my ordination exams before I receive my call. I will begin the long hours of study for the written and oral exams which should be completed in October at the MidAmerica Presbytery (with whom I am currently Under Care).
Tom and I are scheduling our next meeting for the week of August 20th (my birthday, ehem). Stacey and I are moving forward with readying our house for sale and looking toward Chicago. It feels a bit like Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, when Indy goes to cross the invisible bridge.
We will continue to take steps forward in faith as we see God leading us.
Please continue to pray for the process and our faith in the process. Please continue to pray for the hearts and minds of those in Logan Square that God is calling to himself. Please pray that the Spirit would be stirring up their hearts for their ultimate longing which is only satisfied in Jesus. Please pray that God would provide an excellent employment opportunity for Stacey that would help accelerate our move.
Jesus tells Peter in Matthew 16:18, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." As we pray, we find our way into God's movement and momentum which cannot be stopped. For it is only an opposite force exists (the gates of hell), not an equal and opposite force. It's high school physics.
"For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared...and awesome above all...?" (Ps. 89:6, 7)