7 years ago today I woke up in a state of anxiety, sure I had to get a ton of resumés out ASAP. By the end of that day, I went to bed in a state of excitement, sure we were supposed to plant a church.
I knew my time at the Big Church was coming to an end, but I had no idea of what came next. The relevant data facts were- 1. We had just bought a house 2. We had just gotten pregnant 3. I was pretty sure I wouldn't "fit" in most mainstream churches anymore.
So when I was told we'd be making a "transition" in terms of my job at the Big Church, I knew something had to happen- I just didn't know what. I had a friend who had a job for me as a children's pastor- No... definitely not me (especially since at the time our child was -7 months old). A lot of churches were "interested"... but none were pulling the trigger, and even if they did, I was highly ambivalent about their style/paradigm of doing church.
God was definitely telling me that He wanted me back in pastoral ministry, but He sure wasn't making it easy.
So that day, throughout various conversations with friends named Bj, Jim, Stephen, Johnny, Bernard, and Tim, it became clear: Time to put feet to faith and actually DO all the "new" church stuff I'd been talking about for a couple of years.
They asked: So where are you going to plant this thing? I said, "Well, we live in the Murray Scholls area- maybe there's a school or something there..."
Tim just shook his head and said, "No. No. No... The Lucky Lab in Multnomah Village."
I thought about it for 10 seconds or so and said, "Yes. that's it."
And you know the rest of the story.
Seven years of hoping God will move and seeing Him do just that, of trusting the process and rarely being disappointed, of learning hard lessons about the difference between what I/we think we have figured out and what we actually do.
This last year has probably been the toughest- I feel like I've made more leadership/strategy mistakes in the last 10 months than in the 6 years previous. But in all of that I am simply reminded of both how much I need Jesus in this church endeavor and how much He shows up and perfects His grace in my weakness.
Thank you God and thank you Evergreen for seven years of amazing adventure. I'm grateful today for people who love God more than church and so love the church God is building/using more than most other things. I'm thankful for people who say "Whether the car turns right or left, we're staying in it." I'm thankful for people who care enough to disagree without disengaging, for people who love others unselfishly and sacrificially, and for people who work hard to make a welcoming community. I'm especially thankful for those who have found and re-found and are finding and re-finding Jesus in and through our community. What a gift.
And I'm thankful that it has never gotten easy.
Because that would be boring, and if there's one thing this deal is not, it's rarely boring.