I remember the first time I went on a roller coaster. It was at a theme park in Western Sydney back in the late 1980’s. It was fast, scary and thrilling and when it came to an end I just wanted to do it again. The one thing that sticks in my mind the most is that first hill. You slowly clack up the steep climb and seem to hang for an eternity at the top until whoosh you’re accelerating down the drop. Your stomach is still somewhere at the top of the coaster. The rest of the ride is good too no other part of the ride can compare with that first hill.
This time next week Catherine and I are launching a new church. We feel like we are on the crest of that first hill. We are about to go over. Between the two of us we have contrasting emotions. I have my hands in the air and a big grin on my face. Catherine is not grinning and her hands are gripping the bar very tightly. But regardless of how we feel about February 16 there’s no stopping this ride.
What is certain is that there are many twists and turns to come, we can’t see them now but it will be an exhilarating ride. We can’t wait.
As far as we can tell we are well placed to spend our first year growing and developing as a healthy church. We have prepared the path to launch by holding three monthly services, which have let some people come across us and work out that they want to be involved. I don’t think that this would have happened if we had gone straight into weekly services.
So we can count on a core of people who will attend on the 16th and likely be there the week after as well. We can even put a number of them on various rosters and rely on them to do various roles around the place. This makes things a whole lot easier, especially granted that we have arrived in this town not knowing anyone, and with no “core team” working under us.
Most of all we have the deepest of convictions that we were put on the planet to do this work. The sense of God’s calling is so strong that we would walk over broken glass to make it work. There is no turning back for us.
In ancient times and in the Middle Ages if an invading army arrived by sea the generals would sometimes make a statement to their soldiers to burn the boats after they had landed. It made the point in a dramatic way that there was no going back. That they’d better win their battles, because retreat was not an option. I can’t think of anything I could do to symbolically burn the boats, but mentally I feel that we have done that. In my mind NorthernLightsChurch and the ministries that will flow from it will be our life’s work. There is no going back. If it’s tough then we press on and persevere. It was tough for the apostles, for Paul and for many of the early Christians. They persevered, and they prevailed.
We won’t face the obstacles that our spiritual ancestors faced in the first century but we carry the same message, and we will persevere in spreading it, just like they did.
So in just 7 days we launch. By God’s grace we will hold thousands of services over the years that come, but only ever one launch. If you are in Halifax don’t miss it!
John and Catherine xoxo