A few weeks ago, Dan and Emilee came over for dinner. Dan and Emilee have been a part of our lives for years. Over the past two years or so, they have lived in another country. Well, in Indiana. That’s like another country.
Dan and Emilee are back in town for a few months, and Melissa and I have enjoyed spending time with them. They are on an incredible journey. We look forward to where it will take them.
The evening we spent together happened to be the night before we launched Pillar Community Church, ten years earlier. When I mentioned that little fact, Emilee said, “If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you’d tell yourself?”
I thought of three:
- Planting this church will be more complex than you can imagine.
- Celebrate the small victories.
- The ministry will shape you more than you shape it.
Harder Than You Can Imagine
I would further tell myself, “Though it will be complex and demanding, stay with the mission and keep the vision front and center; the vision will be tested. And, while the mission will not be found lacking, it will be found difficult. Those who come looking for less, easy, more of the same – will leave. Don’t’ fret and don’t shift your focus because you want to be successful or because you’re scared that no one will stay; pour into those who are willing and ready to explore the with-God-life Jesus modeled and makes possible.”
These past ten years, we have discovered that this with-God-life is wonderful. We have also found it is even more of a journey than a destination. This journey doesn’t use a map as much as a compass. As a church, we seek to discover rhythms and disciplines of grace as we journey along the way. We often practice them together.
Eugene Peterson crystalized the with-God-life journey when he said:
“The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him.” ― Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way
Kingdom Over Culture
Now, at age ten, I am thankful Pillar has stayed the course. We are after something different than the trappings of Amerianity and all that entails. By Amerianity, I mean the consumerism, individualism, nationalism, and materialism that churches unwittingly adopt and adapt to keep seats full. It’s a sickness, but it’s one to which we can all easily succumb. This sickness has been on full display in the Evangelical American church during the last twelve months.
At Pillar, we are interested in the Kingdom of God because we believe that is what most interests Jesus. As such, we offer ways, rhythms, disciplines, and practices that are foreign to the contemporary setting. Spiritual rhythms such as weekly communion, contemplative, slow reading of Scripture, Review of the Day, Fixed-Hour Prayer, Rule of Life, among many more.
Shepherding such a ministry is more complex than I thought, but it is also more beautiful than I could have imagined.
Emilee’s question a couple of weeks ago sticks with me to this day. I am glad she asked it. More importantly, I am glad they are back with us for a little while. Dan and Emilee are two of the dear people who are a part of the small victories that have shaped me over the years. I will write about more of these victories in posts to come.
For now, if you’re tired of the frenetic frenzy of modern-day ministries, Pillar might just be the place for you.
Rediscover Your Faith and Renew Your Heart for His Kingdom
Join us as we explore, experience, and enjoy the with-God-life Jesus models and makes possible. We gather for worship on Sundays at 10:00 AM. We meet in the gym at First Baptist Church in Vero Beach.
Bring your kids. We like them. We believe they are formed in worship in ways in which they are unaware. So, we keep them with us for a good portion of the time. We have taken important steps to build a solid children’s, youth, and young-adult program, but they will be shaped around an intergenerational family-centered faith development model.
If you don’t want this ministry style, there are about four dozen churches within a stones-throw that offer you all the age-segmentation and individualism you can stomach. Buy me a coffee sometime and I show you the empirical data revealing how many of our kids will leave that church for good when they leave for college.
More complex? Yes. More Beautiful and life-giving? ABSOLUTELY!!