This is a continuation of part 1.
As I explained at the end of the previous post, I had felt convicted to pray for one week about whether or not God was calling me to plant a church with Chris. In my gut, I was hoping that after the week of praying, Chris and I would have a conversation where we both learned that the other had felt called and been praying for the previous week. That didn’t happen. Mainly, from my perspective at least, because I never brought it up in conversation.
I was trying to think about it from Chris’s perspective. I thought to myself, “How would I react if someone came to me and said, ‘Mike, I’ve been praying and I think God is calling you to plant a church with me.’?” I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, so I committed myself to continue praying daily. I also got a little bit more (too?) bold in my praying. I often found myself demanding that if God was behind this, then He needed to make it clear to both me and Chris.
A few weeks later, Chris and I traveled with several of our classmates to a gathering of the Company of New Pastors at the PC(USA) headquarters in Louisville. Two important things happened for me over this weekend. Firstly, I told Chris that I had been praying, although I didn’t mention the part about planting a church together. Secondly, as I was meeting other seminarians, I would tell them that I was looking into doing New Church Development after graduation. This was the first time I had told other people about that dream, and I found it liberating, and somewhat empowering. By the end of the weekend, I was convicted that I needed to pursue this call more actively.
So, the week I got back I sent an email to Vera White. Vera is the staff person at Pittsburgh Presbytery for New Church Development. I asked Vera for some resources that could help me with my discernment. I expected to receive an email with some web resources and maybe a bibliography. To my surprise, I instead got an invitation to meet with Vera in person. She gave me a good bit of advice, but what she stressed most was the importance of prayer. She encouraged me to find other people to pray for and with me to aid me in my discernment. I immediately knew who I was supposed to ask.
I talked with Chris about Vera’s advice, and asked if he’d like to start praying together. He was eager to, and so we began praying together every Monday morning. The meetings started out with us each praying for the other, as both of us were discerning a possible to New Church Development. That didn’t seem to last too long, though. Within a couple of weeks, we found ourselves thanking God for the partnership he had called us into and asking Him to use it as he desired. Then, one Monday morning in November, Chris prayed out loud, “God, make it clear if you’re calling us to plant a church together.”
I couldn’t believe what I heard. Chris just prayed about the same thing that I had been praying about for over a month. Was he praying about too? Did it just pop into his head randomly? For whatever reason, I hadn’t told Chris that I had been praying that same prayer, but I was encouraged and excited to see that God had placed it on Chris’s heart as well.
Oddly enough though, we said “Amen” and went on to praise band rehearsal, neither one of us mentioning that we had just offered our futures to God for the possibility of planting a church together. Eventually, though the conversation would happen.
To be continued…