Over the 6 years that I’ve been the lead pastor of Naperville Christian Church, I’ve experienced tremendous highs and deep lows. We’ve had growth and loss. We’ve seen the beauty of unity and the shared pursuit of vision, but we’ve also experienced the pain of division. What have we learned through it all?
I believe more than ever that God has a plan for all things. His very nature is redemptive. So when the Apostle Paul says that God is working for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose…I’m seeing and living that in a whole new way. God really does take the dirt that is tossed on us and cause us to grow. It’s painful. I don’t want more of it. But I see the promise of the future! And the future is bright and full of goodness.
I dream of The Church (not just MY church) being a hub of wholeness for the hurting. And it will be messy. And that’s ok. I dream of The Church being a place where transparency is not only encouraged, but anticipated. I dream of a place where people can receive the rest that Jesus promises when we bring all of our baggage to him. A place of respite. A place that values wholeness psychologically and socially, and physically and spiritually.
I dream of a place where the broken flock, but don’t stay that way. A place where we walk through the valleys of the shadow of death with each other, and then offer the helping hand that encourages us to move beyond the broken to healing and wholeness. A place where we serve the world together and demonstrate the sacrificial love of the Savior we claim to follow.
God is doing a NEW thing in The Church, and Naperville Christian Church is one expression of God’s extraordinary plan. And I’m grateful for the mess that led us to this place.