Dec. 10, 2020.
I hate pauses. For people who are progress oriented, having to slow down feels like a death sentence. And yet, an honest perusal of our lives will assuradely reveal many stalls, setbacks & side-steps. It usually takes most of us decades of walking with Jesus to realize there is something very holy going on during these slow-downs.
#JesusStories: One of the undeniable themes of the original incarnation story is bad-timing and back-steps. Luke 2 records that Mary was forced to take a required trip to Josephs’ ancestral home for governmental record-keeping while she was nine-months pregnant. And if that weren’t inconvenient enough, the only accommodations were a cave-like animal shelter. And it was there that she went into labor, gave birth, and laid the Christ-child in a feeding trough. Are you kidding me? Then Matthew 2 tells that after Jesus was born, Joseph was visited by an angel who told them to flee in the night to Egypt to avoid Herod’s jealous wrath. And then after they fled, all the remaining Jewish male babies were put to death. That was a grievous back-lash. It was years later before Joseph would be informed in a dream that it was safe to return home to Nazareth. In Mark 1, when it was finally time for Jesus to begin his ministry, he was instead swept off to the wilderness for forty days to face-off with Satan. FINALLY, in John 2 we see the wedding at Cana where Jesus’ ministry of miracles began. But before that wondrous day, there were A LOT of pauses, half-starts, and push-backs. Is that the best that could be procured for the Messiah and the launch of the greatest rescue story of all time?
Truthfully, as a life-long project achiever, I do not understand this long list of set-backs in the Messiah story. Nor do I understand pauses and intersections when they occur in my life and leadership. Do you? However, after sixty-plus years of being disappointed by God’s pauses, I have come to the conclusion that there must be something holy going on here. If the first incarnation story needed all those earthly set-backs before the heavenly mysteries (stars, angel choirs, divine dreams), then perhaps our lives and ministries need the pauses too. Can we be good with that?
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “The incarnational model leads to little Jesuses, walking across all boundaries to be in every nook and cranny of society.” -David Fitch
#PracticalStuff: Several of our pastors are reporting that miracles and healings and preaching impact is still happening at their sidewalk Dinner Churches. Covid aside, Jesus is still showing up around these buffet lines and doing his thing. Perhaps it would be misguided to assume that we will regain our traction once we get back indoors. It appears that Jesus isn’t waiting.
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.