Now for the Rest of the Story – Part II
So that spark of hope came in a conversation in a friend’s living room on November 20, 2006 (if my memory serves me correctly). It was the first real live conversation about being part of a new church in Florence; Chris and I did not initiate that conversation, but I was coming out of my skin with excitement by its conclusion (Chris, on the other hand, was a little (okay, a lot) more reticent). We began to pray about whether this could be what God had for us. It became clear pretty quickly that it was.
And let me be very quick to say that it wasn’t because we couldn’t find a church we “liked”; we hadn’t even visited all the churches we had planned to visit. It had everything to do with finding where God’s peace rested for us, and it was in this endeavor that we found it. And it was often a torturous process. Here we were, two lay couples believing we were suppose to be part of a church start. How dumb does that sound? People thought we were idiots. If you knew about it, you thought we were idiots. That’s not fun. No pastor in sight. There were certainly times I begged, in tears, to be released from the task, but it was never an option. I prayed for that option, but (thankfully) it was never granted. Trying to bale would have been like waking in the midst of surgery and saying, “I’m done” and bolting.
We never had any idea what this thing might look like in reality, so we did all we knew to do. We met together to pray, to study Scripture, to dream, to pray, to worship together, etc… We read books, listened to podcasts, read blogs, took road trips. All the while, God was doing more in each of us individually than we were ever accomplishing together. That time was a period of refining our faith – believing Him when what He was saying seemed illogical and impossible (anybody relating out there?).
So, once again God does what He says He will do. In March of this year (two days before we were to attend a church conference at NewSpring in Anderson) we learned that NewSpring is launching a Florence campus later this year. We had taken road trips to NS; we read Perry’s blog and listened to his podcasts, and we could have never, ever in a gazillion decades imagined this ending. Ephesians 3:20 in full effect, baby!
And so it was that I found myself on a charter bus two Sundays ago, Upstate bound…