Living in a new place, meeting all sorts of people and dreaming of what God wants to do excites me, energizes me and motivates me to explore. I have been meeting many great people who are desiring to do good and acknowledge God. The longer I live here, the more aware I become of the needs great and small. You see the strongholds that exist within the culture and patterns of lifestyle. I have often been asking myself how do I take steps towards what God is showing me? How do I discern from all that I see to what specifically is God asking me to join Him with? How do I be supportive and work with others within the city yet be aware of my own limitations with relationships, energy and time? I have had moments where there was victory and breakthrough in conversations and other moments of extreme disappointment and departing from someone unsure if I would work with them again. Through this, I am learning the difference between team and network, the need of both and the need to understand expectations from those around me as well as myself and what I can offer.
I believe biblically that team is important. Jesus sent the disciples out in 2s. The apostles worked as team seeking the Spirit’s leading in guiding the early church. I also grew up playing sports with a team. I love team. I want to be a team player. Why am I getting frustrated with team? I am learning the importance of distinguishing the relationships I have with different people and groups so that we can define to what level do we work together.
For the church plant end goal I am labouring towards I want and need a team. We, as a team, are looking to define the end goal and what it looks like at every level, the mission and purposes of why it exists, the values it is built upon and the goals and objectives accomplished at every stage. We have agreed doctrine of beliefs and how we believe to live them out. The team needs to define our language and culture and be living it out so that we can one team on one playing field with the same sport – the same model and methods. With this group we can collaborate at every level and have expectations of each other to work through every hurdle. We are committed to God, the work and each other.
As I am learning more about the different people who are labouring for the gospel, I am learning more about network. There are like-minded people who I respect, admire and learn from. Yet the reality is that they have a commitment to their work, their group of people and their way of doing things. We do have a common ground of theology and biblical principle where we can work together, brainstorm, process and learn from one another. We can facilitate a network of different denomination, different models and different methods so that we can see God’s glory displayed throughout the city with each of us doing our part.
There are some people I do not want to work with. I don’t want to be mean or judgmental. I love people and believe God can use anyone who is willing. Yet I can not partner to any extent with leaders who do not see Jesus as Lord and Savior or see the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. I will not compromise on the gospel and the commission that Jesus gave us. I will pray that God removes false teachers from the city. I can love and respect people, but I will not network with them and certainly not consider working on their team.
So here is some more food for thought with some of the different areas the Lord has been speaking to me and teaching me how to think and consider different aspects of church planting. May God help each of us grow a healthy team to work in the trenches with closely, a network within the city to allow for a greater unity of the body of believers to be displayed and discernment for relationships that do not need our time and energy.
Written by Sarah Bedi, living in Luleå