I Dream of The Church

2 Apr

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.





3 Responses to “I Dream of The Church”

  1. Steve Hinkle April 2, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Neil, I love it when I read of another pastor who has the same dreams and vision of the church. When starting our church in Joliet, we set forth to try and live and love like Jesus and help bring restoration to the broken. As I look for a pastorate, I am praying that God leads us to a church with the same desire and mission. Keep the dream alive even when the going gets tough! Steve

  2. tschori April 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm #


    Good piece!


    Tom Schori, Ph.D.

    808 Ironwood CC Dr

    Normal IL 61761

    309-532-8466 voice or text

  3. Barbara Roberts April 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    My sympathies, Neil. Sounds like you’ve been through the grinder a bit!
    If you haven’t already read it, you might find Jeff Crippen’s book helpful. He has a chapter in it that might relate closely to what you seem to be saying above.

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