This morning, I was jolted awake after hearing the clearest words:
“Well, everyone is offended by everything today anyway, so it can’t hurt — it’s time.”
So, to what am I referring?
Michael had been working on a small book for almost ten years, Name on the Front of the Building. If you knew him and spent any time with him talking about the local church with a little “c” and the big church with a big “C” then you probably know exactly how passionate he was about these things:
- Giving the Church back to Jesus (this was a phrase that made people – even me – uncomfortable at times. I didn’t understand fully what he meant by this until I was writing updates from his hospital bed, just hours before he left this world.)
- Holding to the hope that leaders would be “more than sorry” and actively work to heal community connection.
- Helping people understand the difference between having walked away from people versus having walked away from Jesus when they walked away from the little “c” church.
He used to tell me, “Ami, this is controversial information that many out there won’t want to hear, and I don’t want to put a target on the back of our family. Not now.”
He also used to say, “I don’t know how to start this, and I don’t know how to finish it. I have the rest, but I always get stuck on the intro and the conclusion.”
I’d always – ALWAYS – reply with, “That’s because I’M supposed to write those parts of the book!”
I never would have believed that it would be in this way.
So… I had an extremely vivid dream before I woke this morning, and it was all about this little book — a book that addresses things like:
- “High School Community Church” and its varying degrees of social drama
- decisions made “in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Senior Pastor” and the hope to set the Holy Spirit in his rightful leadership seat
- The vying for effective resources — often grasping for scraps — due to “Tribal Church” efforts and the lack of joining together
- And so much more…
I used to hear his conversations — I LOVED THEM — so I understood his heart over these topics. Having grown up a pastor’s daughter and lived through a whole lot of needless hurt, having watched my sweet dad experience things that should not have been even remotely a part of biblical kingdom culture, having worked alongside Mike in several churches with ups and downs of spiritual health, and with our final five years of ministry together providing a place for many to heal who had been hurt in church… I do think about this small-but-packed little collection of Mike’s words quite often.
So, what do you do when the last words you hear before you wake are, “Well, everyone is offended by everything today anyway, so it can’t hurt — it’s time.”
You get to writing… even if it’s from my bed in the morning.
Please pray as I do something with this, and please pray that the right steps come along to do not just something, but something beautiful, with a book meant to help and to heal many who have been quite hurt. A book meant to challenge leaders and to make actions toward togetherness.
Finally, please pray that the Lord shows me what to do with this after it is complete.
Oh, that we may walk as One!
Oh, that we would become more and more about the names behind the numbers on every home, and less and less about the name on the front of the building.