I am so blessed to be part of our Church, I really have lost count of the ways I feel blessed there.
I've been blessed by how spirit led our pastor is, like I wrote about here. Just as we were at the end of our rope, trying to come up with ideas to accommodate up to 1400 people attending, because we're busting at the seems in our 400 seat auditorium, our pastor hears from God that our dreams of buildings are not audacious enough, our dreams should be to share our transforming God with MORE people! So, our pastor obediently brings that message home to us, stirring a passion to pray for people in our lives (or even possibly not even in our life yet) every day for the next 2 years, so that we can be guided by God as to who he wants us to be intentional about sharing our faith with. He asked us to pray about a specific number of people God would lay on our heart to reach out to in this way and Sean and I together came up with the number 7, a number that represents the Holy Spirit no less.
After that step of obedience, it was no time at all before God gave our pastor a vision for an expanded Church that fit Riverwood perfectly. The plan I wrote about in that post has come to fruition, we've been able to buy 3 more separate buildings all within a couple blocks from our Church building right now! Now, you'd think with having bought 3 properties in a very short amount of time our staff would have gone straight into capital campaign mode. They started hinting in February that something BIG was going to be happening and we'd find out March 4th. Most people thought it was going to be the capital campaign but boy were we surprised when this was what our pastor spoke about that Sunday.
Instead of worrying about how we were going to pay for our new buildings and land, instead of instantly bowing to the pressure of legal and financial commitments, our pastor gave priority to something else God was laying on his heart in a BIG way! And it wasn't just him, it had been on the hearts of several of our pastors, leaders and staff. A prayer movement for our Elmwood family, the community we've been so committed to staying in and serving. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, but prayer is even bigger than action, because it's not our action, it's then God's action!
And not only is this a way to have a BIG impact on the approximately 3600 homes we'll be praying for, for the next year, but it will also be stretching us in our prayer lives! Honestly I don't know if I've ever consistently prayed for something every day for 366 days! It's only been a few weeks and I've found I've accidentally forgotten, or been very brief at the end of the day, when praying for my 3 homes, but I keep persistently working at making my prayers for them count, and to do that every day. It's been a great challenge that has encouraged me in my whole prayer life.
I really can't wait to see the changes in myself and our Church neighborhood a year from now. I LOVE my Church!