For the CityPosted: April 11, 2011
A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those epiphany moments that leaves a lasting impact on you and those around you.
In church leadership circles, we talk a lot about being kingdom-focused. Although we rarely know what it means or how to actually apply that to our ministries, we talk about it and want to embody it. Admittedly, I’m in that camp of talking about it, but not really knowing what to do with it to make it happen.
When God called us to Columbia to start Awaken, it was as much a call to our city as it was a call to start a church. God truly gave me a burden for our city. That meant that regardless of how long or hard it was to launch the church and lead it to growth and maturity, we would be committed to the task.
In the process of planting, we learned that over 80% of the population that lives within 5 miles of our meeting location is not connected to a church community. That translates into about 80,000 people. 80,000 people disconnected from God and His people. That reality drives everything we do.
Here’s the epiphany: Awaken could grow to 5,000 people in attendance in the next 2 years and be a hugely celebrated success among churches and church planters. Honestly, I hope that happens. I pray that it happens. I want to dream and pray big and I want our leaders to do the same. But get this…
If that happened, that would still leave 75,000 people in our immediate community disconnected from God and His people. We could grow to 5,000 and there would still be 75,000 disconnected people.
In other words, we need other gospel-centered churches in our city to do well. In fact, we need them to do really well! If we care about the kingdom of God in our city and if we care about making God’s name great in our city, then we need to dream, pray, and work big for our church…and for other churches, too.
One immediate application point is that we are taking time in our service each week to pray by name for another church in our city and their Lead Pastor. We are asking God to empower and use them to make His name great. We are thanking God for the chance to partner with them in our city. We are asking God to give them success in reaching people with the gospel.
My hope is that this will help everyone in Awaken, including me, to realize we are a part of a bigger story. We’re not just asking for God to do a great work in and for our church, but also in and for our city. And that means that we pray for God to do a great work in and for other churches in our community.
It’s a small step, but hopefully it’s a good step forward.