9 months ago, I wrote some things down on paper. A conception of sorts.
We had just named Grace Harbor Church and were eagerly awaiting its “arrival”. We made preparations, announcements, moved things around to accommodate this new thing in our life. As most additions to life go, it has become something different than we ever expected. Not bad, just different. In fact, not just different, but better!
We landed in OKC in June and felt very confident about the journey through Summer we had planned. We were going to have a series of meetings that launched us into 4 Fall Preview Services which would lead us into a January launch of weekly services. I remember meeting with a new friend in June between the first and second Summer Grace Harbor Vision Nights. As I was sharing with him our compelling and beautifully flawless vision, he asked me why we were doing these services in the Fall. I am confident that he wasn’t in disagreement with them but he was just seeking some clarification and interest in what we were doing. If I’m honest, I felt myself get a little defensive and as much as my voice went to tell him WHY we were doing this, the only thing that came out was: “well, I don’t know.” How humiliating!
This experience stuck with me for the rest of the Summer. I became very self-conscious about a lot of things in regards to the church, including my own ability to lead and cast vision. I became obsessed with figuring out why were going to do these services and often found myself rehearsing how I would respond to this question next time I was asked. I decided that sharing the reason behind these preview services would become a focal point in these Grace Harbor Vision Nights. If I was ever asked this question again, I was going to knock it out of the park!
In the end, the question couldn’t have been orchestrated more perfectly. In God’s goodness, the question I received in June wasn’t for the purpose of perfecting the “why”, but for preparing me to be asked the same question again in August; this time by a pastor in OKC. His intention was a little more loaded than the guy who asked it to me the first time. When the question was asked this time, I believe it was God’s way of saving Grace Harbor. You see, I had perfected the answer to the purpose of the Preview Services. What I had not factored in was the whole reason we were planting a church in OKC in the first place: to reach the lost and form deep, meaningful community around the Gospel.
Sure, deep and meaningful community around the Gospel doesn’t necessarily depend on whether I’m starting this way or that way, or at this time or that time. For us it was simply about this: we weren’t ready. Admittedly, I did have this “grand” opening in mind for Grace Harbor. We were on track to start another “Sunday morning thing” in OKC. More than not being ready, that’s not what we desired. It didn’t fit with the mission and values of Grace Harbor. We weren’t setting ourselves up to be true to who we were.
9 months ago when I jotted the timeline down on paper, I had lofty aspirations to start a church here that would sweep people off their feet. I was miscalculating our readiness for this and overlooking some extremely vital aspects to forming the kind of church we desire to be.
Do we finally have it all figured out now? No.
But are we excited about what the next 12 months have in store? You bet!
I look forward to sharing a little bit about that church and about what the next several months looks like for Grace Harbor. Part 2 coming tomorrow!