Saturday, December 21, 2013

Waiting and Working Through Advent

No one likes to talk about the ministry that happens behind the front lines. It's not glamorous, it doesn't feel like it's changing lives, and it can seem a whole lot like waiting. We're in one of those seasons of ministry when waiting means working and working means waiting.

Our team is working toward the launch of what we pray will be an urban church planting movement, that we all want to see happen...yesterday. Our Christ the Victor Church-planting plans and resources are being fired and hammered out and re-fired and hammered out and re-fired and there are days when it feels like a process that will never end.

Some days, when I'm drowning in project tasks, my face glued to the computer screen, and when Andrew is running errands for the ministry and serving behind the scenes, it's easy to question the impact we're having. It's easy to get frustrated and antsy and get sick of waiting. Intellectually we know that these resources, if done excellently, will help urban leaders plant churches in an effective and reproducible way in our city and beyond, but it takes big dreams and faith in our calling to wait for it.

As Advent draws to a close I find it not at all coincidental that we find ourselves not just in a figurative season of waiting, but in a season of waiting for our ministry that can be frustrating and exhausting. Our desire to see churches invade the darkest corners of our cities fills us with holy discontent, which is merely an extension of the holy discontent that filled God's people waiting for the kingdom of God to break through the skies and fill the darkest corners of our world with the light of the Son. God's people waited and waited and worked and worked and there seemed to be no point, until one night some shepherds heard the long-awaited good news.

Advent shows us that waiting on the Lord and his kingdom is never done in vain. It gives us hope to work through silence, discouragement, set-backs, confusion and even cross-eyed computer stupors and to claim the victory of the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ even in our waiting.

There was nothing glamorous about the evening the Messiah was born until the Son of God breathed his first breath of air as a baby boy. There is nothing glamorous about what our ministry team is doing until and unless the Lord uses it to break through darkness with his unquenchable light. Our hope is pinned on the proclamation of the angels who spoke of a good news for all people, extending even to the dirtiest and darkest corners of our cities.

Even as our longing finds itself in various forms of peace and impatience this season, we will work and we will wait putting every ounce of our hope, not in ourselves, but in the Lord, who leads us in victory.

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