Have you ever wondered why God does not give you more details up front on what He is calling you to? I certainly have. I think I know why.
We would not have to stretch our faith if God gave us all the details at the beginning of our journey. When our faith is stretched- we grow. If God gave us all the details up front, we would not have to trust Him as much.
The day I accepted the job to become the Lead Pastor of City Church, I told the Elders, “Guys, here is what I know. We are changing names, changing the vision, and moving to another location.” I knew what our vision would be. We would anchor everything and put all of our eggs in the basket of Matthew 28. We will be a church that makes disciples that makes disciples. Dallas Willard says, “Every church must answer two questions. 1. What is your plan for making disciples? 2. Is that plan working?”
The new vision was certain; but I had no clue what our name would be or where we would move.
Two months ago, I told the Elders again, “Brace yourself gentlemen, we are about to move.” Shortly thereafter, I was in a hot bath, (yep, I love hot, steamy, aromatic baths) relaxing, and I yelled across the house to my wife “Wendy, we are moving NOW.” I had a strong impression from Him.
Through a series of highly prophetic events it has become crystal clear to me and to the City Church Elders that we are to merge with Mt. Zion.
The Promised Land always becomes visible as we walk. Through this journey of knowing we would move, I was constantly having conversations with Theresa Harris; City Church’s Prayer Culture and Membership Pastor and a committed intercessor. I would say things like “We are a bridge. We are supposed to connect people who have been turned of by the Supernatural to a calm and orderly methodology. We are called by God to reach people interested in being Supernatural- naturally. We are a bridge between those two worlds.” Theresa would give her input as well and we agreed that God would show us our name.
On my own, I came up with five of the worst names in the history of Church names. I won’t divulge them here- just in case someone loves that name, or it’s the name of a church you know….
Finally, I just asked Abba “What is our name?” A few days later, at the whiteboard, Theresa says, “We are a bridge. Bridgeway Church.” I threw a black sharpie across the room and said, “Bam. Now on to the next battle.”
We will live to be a “Family on Mission” by making disciples that make disciples. We will be a bridge between the Natural and the Supernatural. We will not value the prophetic or experiences with God over His written Word. However, we will not ignore what was so important to Jesus. His works.
We will be solid in His Word, His Works and in His Ways.
We are merging with Mt. Zion to reach Greenville and influence the world. This is the way I see it: I would rather have one ounce of favor from heaven than a million degrees hanging on my wall. I don’t want to lead from my own wisdom, I want Proverbs 3:5-6 to guide us. This is not a man made plan to merge. It’s God. Our leadership is hungry. We sense that this is going to be fun.
Times are changing in conservative evangelical circles. Gone are the days where it is ok to ignore what was so important to Jesus. If we call ourselves disciples, we should probably quit acting like the Supernatural is weird. People who represent the Supernatural can be weird but the more you get to know Jesus, the more natural it becomes to see the things He saw.
I just finished reading “Holy Fire” by reformed Pastor and Scholar, R.T. Kendall, and it is excellent. Church- it is time to wake up. It is time to stop hiding behind presuppositions and fear regarding this conversation about the Supernatural. The Father is speaking from platforms all over the country and not just in the Charismatic circles. If you only read one book on the Supernatural over the next few years, read R.T. Kendall’s book. Leaders, come out of hiding. It is time to address what was so dear to our King while He did ministry here on earth.
Do you want to people to surrender their lives to Him and to His Kingdom? Walk Naturally Supernatural. There is a big difference in me trying to convince someone to pray a certain prayer in order to avoid hell and go to heaven. It’s a different ball of wax when we are trying to invite people to become disciples.
We want Bridgeway to be a church that does just that. We will ask the questions: “Would you like to follow Jesus and do the things He did? Would you like to pick up your cross and endure till the end, while you grow in revelation on what it means to be a disciple? Would you like to die well and not see church as a Five Star Resort meant to serve you and make you happy and comfortable? Do you want to give your life away to others?”
Becoming a disciple of Jesus and growing in your competency and character to look more and more like Him may not be easy; but I can’t imagine another way to live. It’s worth it.
Come Lord Jesus.
You can go to www.wearecitychurch.com to listen to a more thorough account of the merger. There will also be many more details given as we move forward. In the meantime, we will continue to meet at City Church. Eventually, we will be selling our building at 416 Holland Road and moving locations to the Mt. Zion Facilities at 725 Garlington Road.