During our Sent sermon series—which discussed new ministry works in 2017—there were three responses presented: pray, give, or go. My family decided to go.
What does it mean to be Sent? It's not just a sermon series, a great thought, or a sweet graphic for t-shirts and wall displays. To be Sent is to respond to the call of God on your life and live out the Great Commission, as we see in Matthew 28.
For my wife and I, this meant moving into a life of full-time ministry as I became the Campus Pastor for CrossPoint Osawatomie—a life vastly different than what we had known. When the initial excitement and enthusiasm faded, reality set in. And when the blunt force of reality strikes, I discovered I had two choices: give up or look up. I am learning to “look up” to my Heavenly Father and fully rely on His strength daily (sometimes multiples times a day).
When we officially started the new campus in Osawatomie, I truly felt the Holy Spirit moving. Our church was full of willingness, eagerness, and zeal. It appeared the doors of possibility were wide open with an unlimited growth potential. Unfortunately, that feeling quickly faded when members began questioning the changes being made and expressing their frustration in unhealthy and unhelpful ways. There was pushback from community members outside of the church saying that a “video church” would never work in this town and that we were wasting our time.
The tension and frustration followed me home and created struggles between me and my wife. We were being introduced to the dark side of ministry. What was happening? How did things suddenly get so difficult? Up to this point, the road seemed paved in gold. As I sought guidance and direction, I began to realize that when God moves, so does the enemy. Satan was not happy about how God was working, and he was attacking. I had fallen prey to the enemy’s distractions, and I needed to refocus.
I realized that I had paid more attention to what the enemy was doing and less on the glory of God. I was missing what I had a front row seat to—His goodness and grace! While it took some time, conflicts were resolved and hearts were healed. Attendance was not growing; however, lives were still being changed. And while some in the community looked down on us, others joined alongside us by removing denominational barriers and simply enjoying fellowship as one body of believers.
God had not failed me! God allowed things to happen to remind me of how I need His strength and wisdom. Our circumstances may be hard and overwhelming, but God is always greater.
The other side of Sent is hard. It’s a battlefield. It’s troubling, and it’s messy. But it is also pretty awesome.
It’s God’s relentless grace and mercy poured out in love and provision. His beauty is on full display. If you are on the verge of your own Sent calling, I challenge you to go! Don’t overthink it. Just jump in. If you are already in the thick of it, I encourage you to stay focused. The weight of this world has already been lifted. Our job is merely to share that truth with as many as we can. Hard times happen, but we know that blessings await us in the end.