What I'm Learning Three Weeks In

We’re three weeks into planting a new gospel work, Downtown Cornerstone (DCC), in the heart of the city of Seattle. People are getting on board. Our financial systems are set-up. We’re legally incorporated. We’ve been gifted office space. I’ve been a networking machine. Our branding is nearly complete. Our communication portals will launch shortly. The City is open for business. We just signed for an apartment in a complex which we’ve been praying over since this all began. Excitement is building. Things are coming together.

Needless to say, I’m learning a lot:

Jesus builds his church (Mt 16:18). Jesus is way out ahead of us on this one, from providing office space, to finances, to our apartment, to people. It is clear He is making way for this new work and our job is humble, faithful, courageous obedience.

Prayer. Unfortunately, I often find myself asking for proverbial rocks and snakes from our great God (see Mt 7:7-11), while not asking him to do what only he can (Eph 3:20). You can’t plant a church with rocks and snakes. Planting has intensified my requests for great gifts beginning with daily, vibrant affections towards God himself.

Lead through the Word. It’s tempting to be clever, witty and profound. After all, that makes it about me. After our second meeting the Spirit made a clear impression on me, “Lead through the Word.” (2 Tim 4:2; 3:16-17) End of story.

Keep the mission and vision clear. In its infancy the mission and vision of the church must be sharp, focused and crystal clear. There are an infinite number of ways to spend our time and energy, but DCC has one directive from Jesus: Build a great city through the gospel for the glory of God by cultivating communities of Spirit-led followers of Jesus that enjoy God, redemptively engage the city, and reach the world.

Never assume Jesus or the Gospel. It is easy to assume others have a solid understanding of Jesus (who he is, why he came, etc) and the Gospel (the good news that Jesus Christ came to live, die and rise again for the forgiveness of sin to bring redeemed sinners under God’s gracious reign for the renewal of all things). After our third meeting the Spirit made another clear impression, “Don’t assume anything.”

Lead positively, not polemically. It is far easier to define yourself by what you are not, rather than by what you are. That’s dangerous to the life of the church and, ultimately, anti-gospel. The gospel declares what God has done and who we now are in Christ. Jesus’ church should be defined as a positive people. Lead positively, not polemically.

Pray for us, His church and this city.