Have you ever prayed long and hard about a decision? Do you remember what it felt like when you finally heard from the Lord?
Last week, a friend of mine shared her own story of answered prayer. She and her husband have been researching church planting for over a year. Lisa and Dan haven’t taken the notion lightly. Dan currently serves as the Lead Pastor of a traditional church, and they both understand that planting a new church would require them to move away from family and friends, as well as a change in their financial situation.
Lisa and Dan have taken a few steps toward their dream: they’ve told their church of their intention to leave at some point, they’ve visited the potential city, and they’ve met potential ministry partners (another couple interested in planting a church). Yet, even with these steps, neither of them have felt the permission to stake a claim to their dream.
Until last Tuesday afternoon.
Lisa and Dan attended the Velocity 2013 conference hoping and longing for God to speak loudly. He did. Lisa shared the experience with me, and I wanted to share it with you. Reading it reminded me of my own special moments when God has been loud in my life. Read it for yourself:
As I sat in the last session of the Pastor’s Wives track during Velocity 2013, I was straining to hear from God regarding whether or not He wanted us to be a part of a plant in South Carolina. Just a year earlier, we divinely connected with another couple at Velocity and began asking God if church planting was the plan, if these were the partners, and if South Carolina was the place. With so many life variables to consider, my husband and I wanted clear confirmation from God.
As I sat in the session, earnestly praying in my spirit, I wrote these words, “Please speak Lord!” My sister next to me – our potential partners – leaned in and said , “Amen!” In the next stroke of my pen God began to speak these words, “I”m giving you permission to enter into a covenant relationship with these people.”
As I listened the Lord speak so clearly in my mind, I wrote down all I heard.
He gave me the vision of a marriage. Then He said this to me, “Be intentional about courting your ministry partners. Build strong relationships with them. Learn how to dance together.” Then I laughed because, simultaneously, Tricia was speaking those same words in her final comments about a ministry marriage, encouraging them to “learn how to dance together.”
God continued speaking to my spirit saying, “In this partnership, you will need to know each others’ tendencies, attitudes, weaknesses, and strengths. We need to know how we best work together and minister together.”
God’s voice was clear…be intentional in building a relationship with these new ministry partners.
He continued…”I am grafting you into a new ministry. I saw a vision of a large hollow stalk with a strong walls and His glory was shining through. Walk straight. You will see what I have up ahead. You won’t have to ask, ‘Will we move or will we stay?’ The way will be made for where, how, and when.”
Finally, I know that God was commanding me to prepare myself – spiritually and intellectually and emotionally.
After God had spoken, I thanked him then wrote this prayer: Dear God, make us strong for the journey. Protect what you’ve entrusted to our care.
On the drive home, I told my husband what God had spoken to me, and he wept. It was the first time that we both realized that God was “giving us permission” to plant this church. Praise God!
So, Lisa and Dan have an answer. And their spirits are soaring! Join me and pray for them as they begin the journey! And, pay attention in your OWN lives. God is ready to speak to YOU, too!