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IMPOSSIBLE: Building Unshakeable Faith when Nothing is Working

4 min read By July 31, 2023October 2nd, 2023No Comments

“Nothing is working.” This was my lament after a year and a half of church planting. My husband and I had used every means to build a faith community in northern New Jersey and had made very little progress to show for it. We threw block parties, coordinated vision nights, had coffee meetings and strategized for our town. Over time, the vision felt like a pipe dream. But, six months later, it came together, and the dream became a reality. What made the difference? It was a miracle of God.

I am reminded of God’s grace for His church in Acts 2, the birth of the very first church. It was a newly birthed community that was rapidly growing—every church planter’s dream! The people devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and their fellowship was vibrant. The generosity was rich, and people were happy (which is a miracle in and of itself).

The birthplace of this church was in the upper room where 120 believers experienced the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. From there, a small crowd of believers became a burgeoning spiritual family. Because God is not stagnant, dwelling with Him takes us places. Although the time spent in the upper room looked like waiting and praying, it was the process of labor. The church was birthed from the presence of God. 

What sets Christian leadership apart from any other kind of leadership is that it is called to produce results that can only be produced by Jesus. Therein lies a higher standard than any other form of leadership because the mark of success is when impossible things are done, things that human wisdom and effort could not conjure up on their own.

After all, Jesus did say that we are meant to do greater things than even He did (see John 14:14). If building the church is God’s work, then His presence is to be our greatest resource. Perhaps, this is why God has historically chosen the foolish and the weak to display His great works (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).

I would argue that the best resource a church planter can have while engaging in the business of miracles is a deep friendship with Jesus. The non-negotiable requirement for the journey is that you be intimately, joyfully and authentically walking with Jesus. I do not speak in platitudes. Rather, I speak from experience.

The way I have described our story is that it was like walking on water. Our first weekend of team meetings was the first weekend of lockdown during the pandemic. My husband and I had just come out of a Korean American immigrant church and had no connection to people from the church-planting space.

For us, the greatest gift in this season was to come to the end of ourselves and realize that all we had left was our relationship with God. It brought us back to the basics of what we knew from Scripture.

The biblical accounts bear witness that it was God who split the sea, not Moses’ leadership skills. It was Jesus who multiplied the loaves and fish, not the strategy of distribution.

So, we started prioritizing time spent with Him before doing anything else. We acknowledged Him before making phone calls. We leaned in for His guidance before making decisions about meeting locations and the launch date. We asked for His grace before inviting a nonbelieving friend over to our home.

Every person added to our team and every piece of equipment was the result of following His lead. Just as Adam and Eve were commissioned to expand the garden, while knowing their God who walked with them in the cool of the day, the Great commission is also a call for us to expand the kingdom, this time with our blood-bought connection to Jesus.

This is good news. This is good news for the church planter who is low on resources. This is good news for the female leader who does not feel she has enough influence to lead her team. This is good news for the person of color who feels hesitant to get out there to mobilize their neighborhood.What did God say to the needs and insecurities brought before Him by Moses and Jeremiah? “I am with you.” It was a guarantee of companionship—friendship. Christian leader, church planter and pastor, lean in to God’s miracles. It’s what turns souls to Jesus, changes neighborhoods and helps those in need. Thankfully, miracles are God’s work, and Jesus happens to be a very good friend.

This article was featured in the Spring 2023 AVAIL Journal.

Read the full AVAIL Journal Digital Edition →

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