For the season of Lent, I engaged in the Sacred Invitational devotional put out by the Foundry Publishing. A couple weeks ago there was a line in the Sunday devotion that stuck with me. It reads as follows:
“To take up his cross meant that Jesus was aligning not only himself with the will of God,
but also with the way of God. God’s will done in God’s way…”
(Excerpt from the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Sacred Invitation)
God’s will done in God’s way.
Not God’s will done in Joe’s way, but God’s will done in God’s way.
So often we’re tempted to do God’s will our way.
Yes, God, I’ll follow you, and here’s how I’m going to do it.
But what does it look like to do God’s will, God’s way?
For me, I realized that I’ve been handling the church plant on my terms.
I like planning, I like charts, and I like systems (mind mapping is the best!), and so that’s what I was doing. Not that any of this was inherently wrong – I was trying to put the “best” plan together that would see Pinckney Community Church of the Nazarene thrive and succeed! The plan made sense. It worked logistically. And it’s what I had communicated on my visits to other Nazarene churches. And then I came across the devotional…
God’s will done in God’s way…
That phrase, coupled with the Church Multiplication Boot Camp I had just attended, hit me hard. And it was though I heard the voice of God speaking to me in my spirit, “Joe, yes, you have a plan, but have you planned me out of it?”
Let me tell you, that was a hard pill to swallow…
But God, look at the vision…
But God, look at how creative this is…
But…but…we have a logo designed, a website created, and business cards printed…
Darn it, God…you’re right…
And the truth is, I was a bit scared, a bit uneasy about what it meant to do “God’s will, God’s way” concerning Pinckney Community Church, because it meant that much of it was out of my control, my comfort zone, and my experience. But I knew it was where I needed to be…
And so, thanks to a good friend and my incredible wife, I found myself in a secluded house in northern Michigan for a few days to pray and seek God on what it looks like to plant Pinckney Community Church His way.
And my heart was drawn back to the original vision of this church that God placed on my heart at Urbana 2018.
– A coffee house church in Europe –
While Europe is out of the question for now (maybe I got Hamburg, MI confused with Hamburg, Germany?), the premise behind the church is not. The vision is for a church that doesn’t look, feel, or function like a “normal” church. The vision is for a church that is a gathering place for the community, and in my experience, coffee shops are where people gather to fuel up for the day, to study, to catch up with friends, etc.
If the Covid-19 Pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that the Church is NOT the building; it’s the beloved community of Kingdom people. And so why can’t our church building be something else throughout the week? Something that blesses and serves and gives back to the community.
My short time in the wilderness (seriously, no WiFi = 21st century wilderness!) has helped me refine the mission, vision, & values of Pinckney Community Church. I’ll soon be updating the church website to reflect this, but in the meantime, here’s a short preview.
PCC exists to equip found people to reach lost people through Open Hearts, Open Hands, & Open Homes.
Open Hearts to God & one another.
Open Hands to serve the communities and creation that surround us.
Open Homes to welcome all within our doors, at our tables, and into our lives.
There’s two great needs for Pinckney Community Church:
First, a building. A building that can serve as a gathering place for the community during the week (think, coffee shop), a place to engage in tough conversations, a place to showcase the talented people that call our community home. But more than that, it’s where our Dinner Church will gather, and it’s where our house churches will gather on Sunday nights to worship and celebrate God’s movement in and through us during the week.
Second, land to cultivate a Community Garden. We want our Garden to bless the community, to provide organically grown produce to community families, and it will one day help provide some of the food for our Dinner Church.
Furthermore, how we will gather will be different than most of us, myself included, are used to: house churches. My hope is that the people of PCC would view themselves as neighborhood missionaries, and so I want us to gather in geographically based house churches that we might seek the welfare of those we share life with. On Sunday nights we’ll gather to celebrate and worship. Furthermore, on months with a 5th Sunday, we will be out in the community, helping to meet any needs that may be present at the time. This is a lofty goal, but it calls us to truly know the heartbeat of our community.
Finally, we’ll be led by the premise that we gather to scatter. What I mean by this is that we’re not concerned about having the “largest” church in town, but we are concerned about seeing Jesus transform lives in communities where we aren’t yet present. And so, our goal is to send out a team to plant a new church every 3-5 years in the metro Ann Arbor area.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I admit, it’s a bit exciting and a bit unnerving to put this out because it means that so much is out of my hands, out of my control, but I’m confident that this is the vision that God has put firmly in my spirit and soul. If you would like to learn more about PCC, join our core team, or help us fund the mission, I would love to connect with you!
As we follow God’s leading in our lives, may we do God’s will, God’s way.