Vol1:34 In Journey with the Spirit of God

These next four weeks will conclude my reflections on Roxburgh’s and Boren’s Introducing the Missional Church, at least for the time being – there are still other chapters in their book. The focus of these four weeks is winds of the Spiritfollowing the .

The authors state that in becoming a missional church, “we are on a journey we can’t control . . . . This is a journey through a new country, a place we have never been before . . . . What we have to do is stop for a bit, gather ourselves, and become attentive to our surroundings. This stopping and suspending the need for answers will help us hear what the Spirit is saying in this new place. . . . It’s not a journey toward some ideal or vision of the church but one of encountering God in the ordinariness and messiness of local churches in this new place” (pp. 115-116).

What this entails is a stopping and waiting on the Spirit of God. When the people of God wandered in the desert during the Exodus, they stopped and moved when the glory of God stopped and when the glory of God got up and moved – their movement was completely dependent upon the moving of God who was with them. Their life was so dependent upon the presence of God – though they often complained, grumbled, and rebelled, that they could not fathom life in any other way – especially in the place of the wilderness for which they had no maps, nor a timeline for reaching the Promised Land. They were now wandering in the desert; this was no longer Egypt where they knew how to live, what they needed to do – though they were enslaved. This freedom they were experiencing in the desert was beyond their ability to grasp without being guided by the presence of the Lord.

Likewise, though we have tried to orchestrate and do church in many ways in our culture, we have to come to a place where we are being called to no longer rely upon our ingenuity and our timelines, rather we need to rediscover what it is to rely on the presence of the Spirit of God who is moving among us.

“We are asked to discern what God is seeking to shape even though all our instincts are to turn back to our default settings to make things work and control the outcomes. . . . [W]e have to let go of our need for manageability, predictability, and control in order to listen to the God from whom new things emerge. This is how the missional life develops. Our choices are between discerning God’s presence or defaulting to predetermined goals, vision statements, and strategies. We need to follow Moses’ example – he had confidence that God was present in the journey even though he had no maps of this strange territory” (p. 118).

I know this is not easy – because it requires a posture of surrendering ourselves to the Spirit of God. Many of us find it difficult to surrender ourselves to something or someone we do not understand or cannot control. It involves surrendering our trust in ourselves, to trusting the presence of God – it indeed involves a metanoia, a change of paradigm, a change of direction, a change of center in our lives, a change of our being in control of what we control – it is a learning to walk in a whole new way – a walking by the Spirit of God.

Do we dare open ourselves up to surrender ourselves to God’s presence, to God’s Spirit – for the Spirit to lead us where the Spirit desires to lead us?

I have discovered, through my own experience, that even in my inability to surrender, as I confess this inability and confess my desire to surrender, that God gives me the ability to surrender to the presence of God’s Spirit. I have discovered that in yielding all that I seek to control in my life to God’s Spirit that I am free to walk in the ways of God like I have never experienced before. Though I am still discovering how to open myself to God’s Spirit, I know there is no turning back for me where I seek to control the direction and outcome of my own life.

May we as the people of God lay ourselves open to be led by God’s Spirit.

iMissional.org | Roland Kuhl