I have now entered the fifth month of my time of discernment and transition since the closing of the Sunrise Church of Christ. To be honest with you, I was hoping to be much further down the path of discernment than I actually am. At the time we brought Sunrise to a close I was anticipating another venture in church planting, even another chance to start something in Grand Prairie. However, I was counseled to take some time to distance myself and reflect on my experience with the Sunrise family. That seemed like wisdom to me as well, so I made an agreement with the South MacArthur Church that would give me a nine month period for reflection and discernment. My family has plugged into Storyline Christian Community, a church plant in the Uptown/Downtown area of Dallas. I am working part time for Storyline, primarily helping them discover their nitch in Dallas to work for justice. The rest of my time is available to me for reflection, reading, and whatever else might help me figure out where God is leading.
From the beginning of this process, my desire has been to go back into church planting. Part of my acceptance of the decision to bring Sunrise to a close was that that decision didn’t necessarily mean that my role in church planting was finished. However, before I decided to jump head first back into a process of starting a new church, I wanted to make sure (or at least as sure as I could be) that God was calling us to continue in church planting rather than just moving forward based on a good idea or my own desires. One step in the discernment process we decided to do was to go through a church planters assessment with a church planting resource organization. We were hoping that through this assessment we would get nudged either toward church planting or away from it. Unfortunately, the assessment did not give us direction either way. We were essentially counseled that now was not the time to consider starting a new church. It was unclear to them whether we should be church planters or not. There was also a short term opportunity emerging that would have bought us some time to work on church planting and perhaps connect us with a potential partnering church. That opportunity seems to have evaporated in the last week. I also had a conversation with someone from another potential partnering church recently that seemed to suggest a partnership was a bit further away than my current transition period allows. None of these situations are absolutely settled, but it seems that my circumstances are suggesting that church planting is on hold at the moment.
I have sensed through circumstances, but also through scripture, over the past couple months that I need to wait on the Lord. The question I am asking myself now is “what does it mean to wait?” Does this mean that I sit on my hands and let opportunities come to me? Should I start exploring some options for church planting anyway? Should I start sending out resumes to see if a preaching job or other ministry position reveals itself? Would it be inappropriate to talk to some friends (churched and unchurched) in Grand Prairie about their interest in a new kind of church in the area? Can I be proactive about looking for a job to support my family and wait on the Lord at the same time? September gets closer every day. If anyone out there has some wise counsel, I’m willing to listen.