2019 UChurch Fast – Day 1
As scripture reminds us, Jesus is the head of His Church (the family of God) and the He builds His Church. It also says His sheep, will hear His voice. To that end, for our part in His global family, we don’t wish to ‘tell’ Him what we think He should do, but rather we desire to join Him in what He is already doing, and that takes some time to listen, discern and respond with our lives being full. This week is ideal for us to do this together.
It is no surprise to anyone that over the last year or so, things have been shifting in UChurch, and depending on your perception, and your understanding/awareness of the prophetic leading, how your experiencing “UChurch”, could be described as unique and varied as there are individuals.
To begin this week together, we wanted to share with you a brief summary of where He has brought us as a UChurch family and what He is leading us into.
WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?
Over the last few years in UChurch, we have had a divine interruption (meaning; that we did not plan it, He led us into it). It started a few years ago as He led us into further understanding of healing, intercession and the revelation of the Father. This combined with the fact that many in our family who served faithfully for years began experiencing wilderness seasons in their lives (difficult circumstances, hardship, trials and transitions, etc). The practical side has been many are in busy stages with growing families (something like 15 babies born in a 18 month period for example). What that means is throughout the last 2 years people have transitioned out of different areas of serving within the church community, which inherently means a loss of familiar structure, rhythm, and connection points for others.
We chose to not rush to replace the people or “fill the vacuum” so to speak, as Father was revealing to us the heart shift of not needing to serve out of a sense of obligation. We chose to allow the tension and the void to stand as hearts began the long process of renewal. BUT then people were left to interpret what was happening by themselves, communication was limited and depending how integrated we each were, perceptions of what was/is happening varied. And in our North American Church culture, a diminishing number of people serving and attending consistently = a dying church. Some of us began to panic.
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Through many prophetic words, Father has revealed consistently that He is cultivating an atmosphere of authentic relationships. He is looking to create a net where people can come and be healed. He is looking to create a place to know and be known by Him. He’s longing to create a place where we don’t derive a sense of identity from a corporate vision or a charismatic leader, but rather directly from Him as His sons and daughters. A community where we come to connect first and foremost with Him and then with each other. This is the journey of personal transformation, and as that grows, it becomes a community that is known for its extravagant love. Some may ask, “didn’t we have that already?” The answer is both “yes” and “no”. We did, and do have a wonderful degree of love amongst us as evidenced by the incredible servant heartedness. But the ‘divine’ interruption noted prior has revealed there is so much more for us to being transformed into the image of Christ.
“Let love be your highest goal” (1 Cor 14:1)
Currently, we have been in a season of deconstruction of what was ‘good’, for what is better. In John 15, Jesus describes the process. The Father is the gardener and Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. The Father prunes that which was good so that more fruit can come. The fruit being spoken of is love. The fruit of the spirit is love, and when evident all sorts of abundant life starts to flow. We are are re-imagining what a community surrendered to love can be in this season.
Authentic community is people simply learning to live out the same love with others that they have experienced in Father through Jesus. When we are being transformed in our hearts by God’s revelation, we become more and more like Him – and having experienced his love and generosity, we can’t help but let that love and compassion overflow to others. That alone is all God needs to accomplish His purpose in His church. Its life literally flows from His presence in our hearts, and in doing so makes that presence visible to believers and unbelievers alike.
Father gives us the gift of being his children, sons and daughters, Jesus gave gifts to the ‘church’ to help us discover our true identity and equip us to know this love (Eph 4), and the spirit gives Gifts to us to give away to others when they need it.
This is a unique yet crucial culture shift for us to manage because it serves as a blueprint for the future. It has been said many times that others will come, see, and receive what is happening here within our UChurch community. Those Father is sending from around the world to us are going to need the love and security we have cultivated and can offer as a family to receive their healing and come into a greater sense of knowing Him.
As a community, we have felt the labor of birthing something new. We have chosen to journey into the new. As John Rohrer spoke to our community back in Feb 2001 “We are called to be a prototype – we are not to mimic other churches. But that God is doing something different in our community.” Dennis Wiedrick also confirmed this word years later.
So the question is how to do we manage this transition together? We don’t really know what the destination or what new structure looks like, but we do know who we are going with. God has become our vision, His back is the thing we are following. We are actively choosing to walk the transformational path of vulnerability and be known both by Him and in community. We don’t know what exactly this will look like, but we know what it will be characterized by: Love.
This week throughout the fast, we encourage you to process the transitions you have been feeling, sensing and enduring with those around you.
Cheers – Brant