I have a confession to make: I lived for Homecoming court, Student Council elections, and senior superlatives. I hated tryouts but loved making the team and wearing the coveted gear. I was a pro at being “impressive” and if I wasn’t looking put together, I tried to woo people with my vulnerability and authenticity. In Christian college I loved sharing stories of my unique experiences and sounding edgy in my bible classes. When I graduated college I landed a cool job at a mega-church in a “only God can” way. However nothing besides my deep love for naps communicated I was a man marked by rest.
Now I am not saying those who win homecoming king or student council participators are striving monsters but I do know I had a whole lot of identity caught up in all of the things i was doing. Through a long and difficult season, the Lord absolutely blindsided me with this concept of rest. God changed my way of thinking by this truth, so much so that He asked me to plant a church marked by rest. Now the difficulty in this is that church planters have more than a few temptations and concerns that come against this conviction of REST…here are some:
- We need to do more for the community
- We need more impressive gatherings so we can grow
- We are too spirit led and not organized or structured enough.
- We are too organized and structured, we need to be more Spirit led.
- We need a better social media presence.
- We are trying too hard on social media.
- I need to do more so we see growth faster.
Now when you have a core value, especially when it is Rest, you can’t just say it, put it on your website and printed materials, and then forget about it. Not only as a leader do you have to live it out but you’ll be tested on it. Bill Hybels, planter and pastor, says, “if you want your people to bleed something, you must hemorrhage it.” As our church has began to bleed this conviction of REST, we have received lots of questions (and even heard serious concern). In the next post I’ll look at a few of those questions, but before I do I want to offer us a working definition of rest in this context.
Rest is security in God’s finished work and being marked by divine expectation and engagement. Christ has done his atoning work, so we rest in what Jesus has already done and as we rest we rest with expectation for the Spirit to move, create, and invite and we stay ready to engage in what He is stirring up.