So, I am very excited to be part of a church plant here in Gothenburg coming out of a Swedish church (with a sistering denomination in the states called Covenant) where I was involved with an international student ministry last year called The Well. I have watched the leaders of the church plant-- a pastor from MN, actually, and a dear Swedish friend-- going through all the hoops of following this call through their denomination here and mission board in the states. And today, finally, after many months of praying and preparing and taking steps, we had our first official meeting as a new little church family. And it's exciting.
It's exciting to sit in a family living room, with people from all over the world mixed in with a handful of Swedes, and unite on a vision to see God glorified in our lives, in our relationships, in our community. The church is being planted in a rather down-trodden area of the city. It's just exciting. It's exciting to "do church" in a way that gets away from so many religious traditions made by man, and in a way which is just people who love Jesus and want to know Him more and want to bring this love of His out into a world aching for it, meeting in one another's homes and sharing one another's lives, praying, digging into His word, encouraging one another, and eating together. I'm excited about this church model. I have never been very excited about "normal church". haha. We have a vision and a passion for being a city on a hill, being a reflection of His Kingdom here and now, in this city; seeking His Kingdom in our own lives.
We are meeting as a small group in someone's home every other week initially, and in between, we are encouraged to meet with 2 or 3 of us weekly for DNA-- Discipleship, Nurturing, and Accountability. This is what church is meant to look like. Vulnerable and deep, praying for one another where it really matters, where we really need it. Challenging one another on what needs challenging, encouraging one another where we need support. Last week was my first time meeting with my DNA ladies-- whom I love. We talked and laughed and shared and challenged and prayed. We are encouraging one another weekly to do BELLS. Hehe. B stands for Blessing Others. We need to keep our eyes open for how we can intentionally bless others and then we need to share with one another at the end of the week, for the accountability. E is for Eating Together. We hold one another accountable to eat with 3 different people throughout the week, as it encourages us to be hospitable and to reach out. The first L is for Learning Jesus. Encouraging one another to be in the Word. The second L is for Listening to the Holy Spirit, to encourage one another to be keeping our eyes open to what He's doing and how we can be a part of it in our day to day. And the S is for Sent, holding one another accountable about the people in our sphere of influence that He may be sending us to these days. It's an awesome model for accountability and just makes you so proactive about your faith and being missional.
After we shared our BELLS, we had a long prayer time for one another. As we were sharing, one of my DNA ladies was literally laying on the floor with her feet up on the couch, aching in pain with a terrible sore back which she had developed over the last few weeks and which was just not going away no matter what she did. So, when it came time to pray, she asked for prayer about that. So, we simply prayed for her and carried on praying for everything else we'd discussed praying for. And by the end of our evening, she was literally feeling better. She was standing up and stretching and trying to decipher what it was feeling like. She felt literally better for the first time in days. But she thought it was probably psychological. She'd never had such a healing before. Because the back pain was always the worst when she first got up in the morning, she figured that would be the real test, and remained dubious til then.
But when the next day came, she awoke with no back pain whatsoever. And praised the Lord.
And it was very encouraging for us just starting out this church plant. Today we talked about His Kingdom and how the world is aching for it and how He's commissioned us as His hands and His feet to carry it to an aching world. Seeing Him answer our simple, down-to-earth prayers for my DNA friend last week was heartening. A glimmer of His miraculous Kingdom breaking through the brokenness of this world. We were asked at church today, if we could ask God to show His Kingdom in any area of our own lives this week, what would it be? What would it affect? And it just sets me to thinking... and I think it will change the way I pray. The way I trust.
So... I ask you who know this God and the Kingdom Jesus taught about in His thirty-some years on this earth. What is it in your life that you want to see God bring His Kingdom into? Why don't you tell Him so? His love is so much bigger than we know, His plan so much wiser than we could wrap our minds around. May you follow Him right into forever...