Yesterday, at the church, I was asked a question.
It's a question that has been asked before, particularly when meeting with leaders, and it's a good question.
But it always makes me stop and think.
It's kind of an intimidating question, one that I don't have an easy answer for or even a great answer.
"What do you do?" "What is your out?" "Who do you serve?"
They are looking for how do we identify ourselves, as a village/small church, as a person. And I get that it's an easy question to ask. I get that the people asking are doers, it's seems to be in their nature to ask the results type question.
"Family Village" - it sounds kind of quaint. It doesn't have a flashy, movement-based name. Our vision is to support/strengthen families and be a family to those connected to LoveCanton. Again, nothing to suggest that we are action-oriented go-getters.
When they ask what do you do, what is your out?
I try to explain.
I try to tell them that for a year we created a base, a foundation. We spent a year establishing our community and pouring into our people and then the body of LoveCanton. I mention Baby Dedication and a funeral luncheon and other serving stuff, you can almost see the eyes glaze over.........but.........BUT
Here's the thing.
I am a parent.
I know that purely result-driven livin' is impossible. It will burn you out. It will destroy your spirit. It will hinder actual growth, actual learning. You may get quick results but you will not get lasting results. (Every time I tried to "make" Sofia use the potty when she was 2 and then 3, it was COMPLETELY DEFEATING, she did it all by herself one day - the day she said she would. Francesca was born, Fia brought the potty to the hospital, peed on it and wore underwear every day since.)
Every parent knows this.
We know that basing your self-worth on only the results? OH MY WORD. That is no way to live. It will demolish any sense of worth because you cannot control results. You cannot control outcomes. You cannot control people. (Think of every public meltdown your child has had, think of every time you thought that this DEMON SPAWN COULD NOT BE THE FRUIT OF MY LOINS......you quickly learn not to tie up all of who you are in the acts of people - especially small ones :)
Every parent comes to realize this.
We know that results are hard-earned, never guaranteed and take months, even years, to see. We know that the daily work is the hard work. That the celebration at the end, the culmination? One day of celebrating = 1095 days of tedious, every day, ordinary hard work. (I believe this because I am a mom who every day reads to her children, talks to them, plays with them, cooks with them, shops with them in the hopes that one day....many, many years down the road they will remember these days and enjoy reading, cooking for their own family, take the time to talk with friends/family/spouses, etc. I will see the fruits of my daily living so far down the road but each day I know it's worth it.)
Ask any parent.
And so when they ask - what do you DO?
I try to explain. I try to explain that we invest in people who will go out and invest in other people. We gives parents a place to feel safe and ok when they are not perfect. We give couples a place where they know that they will be supported and strengthened in the daily hard work of marriage. We babysit each other's kids. We mourn together. We worship together. We eat together. We cry together. We build one another up. We pray together. We invite people to join us. We take Jesus to those outside our four walls. We invite those with no families to join our families. We love each other. We love our neighbors. We read the Word together.
I don't know how to quantify that.
And so when I am asked that question........I am reminded.
I reminded we are not building A church, we are building THE church.
I am reminded of our village members as they go out......taking the church to their neighborhoods, to their families, to their friends. There are so many people experiencing the love of Jesus through our village members - middle school girls, next-door neighbors, moms, co-workers, kids, etc. They are doing amazing things that most likely you will never hear about. I can't point to any numbers or any building or any project or any great amount of money.
So what do we do? What is our out? Who do we serve?
We do Families.
We go out right where we are.
We serve God.
My village members? They are doing Kingdom work - quietly, humbly, with no thought of recognition. I have to admit..........they amaze me. Every Sunday I get to walk into a room of leaders, of kingdom workers who are committed to doing the hard work, the daily work. People who understand that the process is just as important as the results.
Love you all. Thanks for continually showing up, trusting us and doing the work.
It's amazing to see glimmers of results after over a year of building our foundation.
Can't wait to see what the next year brings............................