i’m in the mountains this week, with my 4 best friends from college and their families. we first spent a weekend together here in january 1982. 26 years later, we are all married, with an additional 15 children in tow, from age 5 to 21.
yesterday, the dads took on the five oldest boys in basketball – 2 hours of gutting it out in the heat. the five of us have played together for so many years – we know each others moves, strengths and weaknesses, where each will be at any given time. but yesterday, that didn’t matter…
because we’re old. okay oldER, but older sometimes feels very old when five boys age 18-21 are running full-court like derby champions. but it got worse…
somewhere mid-game of the first go-round (we played, and lost, 2 close games), i twisted wrong and felt a stabbing pain in my lower back. next thing i knew i was on the floor, wondering if i would be able to continue… wondering if i could even walk, actually…
Dare You To Move – the words of our now-to-easter challenge of doubling the size of threshold took on new significance as i lay there. i didn’t want to get up. i knew it wasn’t impossible, but i knew it wouldn’t be comfortable. but i also knew how long i had anticipated this day. from the days of the births of will, ben, jake, john, and graham, i knew the day would come when our boys would finally overpower us on the court, the day that they would show us once and for all that they were men now. and i had a pretty good feeling that this was that day. so, hurt though it did, i got up. and i ran – sorta – up and down that court for another hour – God knows how – because i was not gonna miss this. no way. no how.
Dare You to Move
when God planted threshold, he did so with joy and anticipation, and with a vision – a vision to reach the entire surrounding community with the joy and fullness of a life in Christ, in ways that are authentic and real, that bring healing and wholeness to all the definitions of life. for a few years we ran up and down with energy, inviting and drawing in our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, people we meet at starbucks. but in the past few years, it’s as if our back has given out, in a way. we have reached the plateau that nearly every church reaches and that most never move beyond: 200 in the worship space on sunday.
it’s been a great six years. people have come to know Christ. marriages have been strengthened, kids have been baptized and nurtured, the hungry have been fed… but as i see it, we’re not even halfway through the first game. i know, growing a church can be painful – that’s why this 200-barrier is so rarely unsurpassed. but i didn’t sign up for a game, only to throw in the towel when a little pain stabs me in the back. i signed up for the whole deal, and we aren’t there yet. there’s still a lot of game to be played. plateaus in the life of a church come. but i’m not stopping here. no way. no how.
last sunday i spoke of the challenge to be replicating followers of Jesus. this sunday we’ll talk about the risks involved. the week after that, we’ll discuss our individual responsibilities – after all, it will take every one of us playing.
i am more excited about the movement of God at threshold than i have been since the fall of 2002 when we first opened the doors. the potential to make disciples and see people loved into an exciting life in Jesus Christ is electric. i cannot wait for next easter!
lastly: after worship, i met a man who introduced himself to me and told me that God had spoken to him during the service. he said that God told him to affirm my call to us to be obedient (in our plan for growth). and he also said this: buy more chairs.
i did not get his name. i don’t know if he was with one of you or not. but i sense in my Spirit that God did in fact speak through him. i hope you do too.