My husband and I began this long weekend at a conference focused on Jesus. More specifically, directed at pastors, ministers, Church staff and volunteers and imploring us to rethink our own faith and inspire those who are not in a relationship with Jesus to fall in love with him. Now, here I sit in an awesome little coffee shop and bookstore in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina and I have the immense pleasure of writing our very first Go Church blog. I have the privilege of sharing my heart for Jesus and telling my story of how my journey toward ministry began. When I was 15 years old, I felt God call me to missions. I listened to a very compelling sermon given about missionaries at a Christ in Youth conference. The pastor spoke about how things used to look for missionaries and how dire their conditions were. They left their homes and traveled to far off “savage” countries to carry out the Great Commission. They went not knowing how their message would be received, not knowing if they would ever return home or see their families again. For this reason, before they set sail for their pilgrimage, they built a wooden box to pack their belongings in. This box would double as their coffin should their message fail or should their message take root, leaving them to carry out the rest of their days in this foreign land for the sake of the gospel. And as scary as that sounds, I couldn't not stand on my feet when the pastor said “If you feel called to missions, please stand”. I never imagined that my mission field would be my hometown. In fact, I was straight up against it! I never wanted to live in Hernando County again once I left. Not that I had bad experiences, I loved my childhood! But I just knew that I was meant for more, that God had big plans and a big calling for me, bigger than Spring Hill, Florida! Or so I thought. It was only after I ran from home, trying to chase what I thought God had in store for me that I could crave being back home and finally let God fulfill His purpose for my life. On top of never wanting to return to Spring Hill, I never wanted to be a part of Go Church. I knew I had married someone who had a heart for church planting, but when we talked about planting churches it never looked like this and it certainly never included staying in Spring Hill. But once again, I was focused on me, my calling, my big dreams. For someone who felt called by The Lord to carry out His mission, I somehow continually left him out of the equation and prayed that He’d get on board and bless my own path. I don’t know if you have ever chased your own plan or gotten ahead of yourself or gotten ahead of God, but if, like myself, you have then you know that once you stop and come to that place of being at peace and knowing that you are exactly where God wants you to be… you don’t likely want to go back to chasing your own desires any time soon. This was CCW for us. It was where we stopped chasing and found peace. It was home, it was good and it was very comfortable. It was exactly where God wanted us to be for a season. Go Church was a call out of our comfort zone. It was a call away from the place we found refuge after a season of unrest and a call away from the people who had taught us, encouraged us, built us up and poured into us. And it was exactly what we needed. God called us to Go Church when we least expected it and we’re so glad he did! While I thought I was destined for far off places, God has always know exactly what we needed. Somehow He has stretched and molded us in the comfort of our hometown and brought us far out of our comfort zone all at once. He is growing us in so many ways and revealing His heart for today’s church every day. This mission field doesn’t look anything like I expected it to when I answered that call 17 years ago, but neither does today’s world. One of the biggest lessons that I am learning as the years go by is to not get comfortable. Not in a place, not in a circumstance and definitely not in Ministry. If i’m comfortable, I’m not growing and if I’m not growing, I’m likely not doing much good for the kingdom. The world is changing every day, which means ministry is changing every day. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Though the mission field may change, the call is the same and the command is simple. Love. A very encouraging and inspiring quote from our time at the conference this past week was: “The church was never meant to be a place. The church was and is a movement!” Jesus brought a movement, He was the movement! Now he left us to carry out His mission, to literally be His hands and feet and keep moving! His calling on my life is clearer now than it was all those years ago as I stood to my feet in reckless abandon and submitted my life to a life of Mission work. I thought I was pumped up then, I had no idea. How exciting to see where we go from here! I am so blessed to be on this journey and to be a part of the movement that is The Church. I can’t not jump to my feet for the call of the mission and for the sake of the gospel. I hope you’ll GO with me.

 

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