One evening my phone lit up with a text notification. The name looked familiar, but it had probably been over a year since we’d been in touch. She and I have been acquaintances for over ten years. We live in the same city north of Boston, but the paths that led us here look very different.
She has deep generational roots in our city. I transplanted here when I first married. Yet even with our different backgrounds, we’d regularly find ourselves sitting together at sports games, in line at school pick-up, running into each other downtown, and catching glimpses of each other’s lives on social media.
We built trust in these moments. Slowly, we shared stories of our real lives. We discovered some commonalities that cut through the superficial differences and created the grounds for an unlikely and wonderful friendship. But the distance grew as our kids got older and moved to new schools and activities. Our daily lives simply didn’t overlap anymore.
God’s Faithful Work
I quickly learned from the unexpected message that their family had a medical crisis. It profoundly disrupted their lives, and God was awakening new questions in her soul and gave her a longing for peace. Remembering some of the things we talked about in past conversations, she asked, “I know you love God and are at peace. Would you come by and sit with us to talk about it?” We often complicate the work of mission or become discouraged by the lack of results, but God’s pursuit of his beloved children never ends. Click To Tweet
I was stunned, but it made me consider the simplicity and sweetness of how God draws people to himself. It’s through the faithful witness of Christians living out the “excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9), that the Spirit makes his love known. We often complicate the work of mission or become discouraged by the lack of results, but God’s pursuit of his beloved children never ends (Lam. 3:22).
The work of church planting, both those sent out and those who do the sending, requires a vision for the multifaceted ways God works. Our churches aren’t grown by strategy and clever words but by humbling ourselves under God’s mighty hand (1 Pet. 5:6). This humility allows us to see where he’s moving and gives us the presence and strength to be faithful pictures of his love to whoever he brings into our lives. Evangelism happens one conversation at a time over a long period.
Our Ordinary Lives
As we set out to be faithful in our ordinary lives, it’s crucial to consider that the One who calls us is faithful and promises to bring everything to completion (1 Thess. 5:24). Let us remember these three ideas as we go about testifying that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14):
1. The ordinary matters.
God is present in every part of our lives. The temptation to divide our lives between the secular and sacred is real. But the integration of our faith into everyday moments is where we’ll see the deepest movement of the Spirit. Meaningful connections happen on the sidelines at games, during store run-ins, or when talking with neighbors. The Spirit interrupts us in these spaces with the opportunity to see others as God sees them, with their real hopes, fears, and needs. The temptation to divide our lives between the secular and sacred is real. But the integration of our faith into everyday moments is where we’ll see the deepest movement of the Spirit. Click To Tweet
2. We’re in it for the long haul.
Church planting and establishing a gospel witness in a particular context doesn’t happen overnight. We look first to the unseen and eternal (2 Cor. 4:18), so we have a sober assessment of our temporary life. As we carry that with us, there’s both urgency and openness to God’s slow and patient work. In those moments, we celebrate wins, but we don’t give up when it feels like only losses.
3. The Spirit gives us what we need.
The Spirit gives life (John 6:63) as we actively listen for how he’s moving in our midst. He helps us ask the next question, listen and bear witness, or boldly declare the gospel. We’re not alone in the work of loving others. There’s freedom in entering relationships with the anticipation of what he may be doing in someone’s heart. Let’s step into our days with expectation and confidence that God is doing something beyond what we see. Click To Tweet
That unexpected text invited me into a deeper conversation on spirituality with my friend and opened another opportunity to be faithful in embodying God’s love. I had no idea the previous years would lead to this moment, but God did. So in faith, let’s step into our days with expectation and confidence that God is doing something beyond what we see. He’s building his church and calling people to himself. Let us rejoice that we get to be part of his story.