Sunday, May 1st 2011, the Riverwalk Church of Christ commissioned us out to do the work God has called us to. They sent us out to proclaim the good news of Jesus, to make disciples, and to start churches in and around downtown Wichita, Kansas. I was able to share with the church in our Sunday assembly how I was reminded of the story told in Acts 13. The church in Antioch was worshipping and fasting when the Holy Spirit set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work for which he had called them. So after fasting and praying, the church laid their hands on them and sent them out. You can almost change the names to the Riverwalk Church and Micah & Amy Lewis and keep the Holy Spirit and you have the same story. The story we are living in is the same kind of story that we read about in Scripture. It speaks to me that this is a story that God is authoring. The whole commissioning service was really special. I really enjoyed/appreciated that much of the order of worship was focused on telling the story that was unfolding from the Riverwalk perspective and our own. It was a special day.
I was also really excited that Kyle Mott was able to be there for the commissioning. Kyle made a quick trip from Tennessee so we could spend some time planning and working toward his arrival in Wichita and the beginning of our work together. It was great to get to hang out with Kyle, to renew our friendship and to start working on our vision for church planting. We focused our time talking about developing a rule of life, brainstorming what a house church might look like, and hammering out a working agreement. It was really meaningful to get to think about how we might teach someone to pray and read scripture and to imagine a house church emerging here in Wichita. I can’t wait for the Motts to arrive. I am excited about how they are preparing for this adventure.
This commissioning comes at the end of a period of learning and discernment for me here in Wichita. I have been intentionally trying to learn as much as I can about life here in the city. As this time of learning and discernment comes to an end, it is apparent to me that it is not really coming to an end. Even if I had been able to do everything I had set out to do in cultural analysis, I am sure that the learning just continues. I feel like I have a better grasp on the make up of people around downtown Wichta. I learned some important perceptions from my friends about life here. One thought that comes to mind is how many young people feel trapped in Wichita. For whatever reason, Wichita does not have or does not appear to have what they are looking for. I don’t know all the implications of this idea, but at least we still get to learn.
Now that we have transitioned out of the Riverwalk Church, I am feeling some pressure that get a church going. Sunday, May 8, the only church we will be gathering with is the church that we gather. The temptation now is to get a group of people together as fast as I can. But when I’m quiet and reflective this doesn’t seem to be the course that God is leading. Everything up to this point has led me to focus on a few and work on developing deep friendships and committed disciples who will also make committed disciples. If we can do this well, then we have a chance to see a lasting movement of disciple making and church planting in Wichita and beyond. If we just get a church going as quick as we can, we might do some good, but I think we will be settling for less than what the Spirit has in store.
So looking to this weekend, what will we do? Well, I’m going to meet with a potential partner and participant in our new church, we’re having dinner with some new friends, and we’ll communion with God as family. Let the adventure begin!
O Yeah…and we’ll watch some Mavericks playoff basketball. GO MAVS!