What has 2017 meant for me?
I wanted to start off 2018 with a personal year in review, answering the question, “What has 2017 meant for me?”
Typically, I make a document for our people that explains our year at Revolve by the numbers. In this document, I share things like monies received, monies given, baptism, and quantifiable statistics. The problem, as I was trying to think about how to summarize 2017, is that so much of the amazing things that happened this year are unquantifiable. What did 2017 represent for me?
A change of perspective from viewing myself as a church planter to a pastor. This has been a year of transition for me. I have had to put aside the aggressive role of church planter, turn to the our people, and embrace what God has provided. 2017 was a year of transitioning away from tasks and focusing more on people and relationships.
A relief of long awaited delegation. The transition from planter to pastor was largely rooted in a successful delegation of responsibilities that I was either unwilling or unable to pass along in previous years. Through a process of being humbled by God, as well as raising up and developing new leaders, a large portion of responsibilities that were hitting the floor under my leadership are now being healthily handled. I thank God for the leaders that he has provided.
The onset of starting to feel like a real family rather than disconnected individuals. Personally, 2017 was a refining time in my life as I wrestled with and began to embrace the honest reality that I had no time for community in my life. During this calendar year, I took aggressive steps to be engaged with more people, pouring into a small group of men, opening up my home, deleting all social media, and more. It has been stretching and rewarding.
The year where five years of trying to build a culture began to feel like a potential reality. I think that we can often understand things in our heads long before we embrace them in our hearts, and we can embrace them in our hearts long before they trickle into our hands and feet and take action. We have been talking about discipleship in the hands of everyday people since we planted Revolve, but this is the first year where I began to hear stories about people making disciples where they live, work, learn, and play outside of corporate organized programs and events. Our group leaders have told me numerous stories about how people are living out their faith. Neighbors are served, co-workers are loved, friends are reading the Bible for the very first time.
To me, these things are true success. A few months back, someone asked me what “success” looks like at Revolve. I didn’t have to think to answer. Success is when Revolve’s people are making disciples outside of the corporate gathering. My hope has been that we realize our identity as a family of missionaries, who gather to celebrate what God is doing and to be equipped in order to scatter and live a missionary lifestyle - making disciples where we live, learn, work and play in community with one another. This is my desire for Revolve and, indeed, for all those who read this column.
It is with honest humility I acknowledge that five years ago I had no idea what I was doing. Revolve Church was planted by the grace of God and the obedience of his people to preach, to teach, to give, to pray and to serve. The Spirit of God built our local gathering, it wasn’t because of anyone’s skill or prowess.
Moving forward, with that realization, I know that we need to continue to strive for faithful obedience. We cannot guarantee the future of Revolve any more than we could guarantee its past. I am not even sure that we should strive to guarantee the future of Revolve. We what should fight for is daily obedience in whatever season of ministry God gives us.
2018 will be a year of marching forward towards this goal. Like I wrote about two months ago, we will strive to be gospel-centered, to connect with God’s Word, to connect with one another, and to connect with God’s mission. We will strive to be a healthy church made up of healthy microcosms in the form of groups. We will strive to be healthy groups made up of healthy individuals.
As you think about 2018, I ask you this question: What are you investing in? Are you giving of your time, your gifts, your emotional energy, your finances, and your very being to the cause of Christ in our county and to the ends of the earth?
Let us pray for one another as we ask God for more than we could possibly ask and imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and commit 2018 to his purposes and fame.