In June I attended the New Leaf Network’s Design Shop. This three-day event focuses on helping individuals who want to initiate something new for the kingdom of God. It’s not just theories either. They literally walk you through a process that systematically extracts from your heart, mind, and soul; what God is asking you to do. You put things down on paper. You can see it, touch it, hear it as you speak it out loud to your companions. Then your companions give you feedback and ask questions. Finally, a place where that thing that’s been noodling around up in my gray matter had a time and place to be brought into the light. Like me, you will discover that you are NOT crazy…
I am a starter. Whether it is ideas for events, improvements to worships services, business ideas, or ways to improve things like adding a check-in system for kids’ church. I’m constantly evaluating my surroundings and coming up with new ideas that are really successful. And even with that success, I have discredited myself many times over the idea of planting a church or leading something new on my own. Simultaneously, I have dreams all the time about reaching people on Vancouver Island who are not interested in a traditional weekend worship event. Talk about living in the tension!
Newly ordained in the C&MA and not on staff in a church, I just didn’t know HOW to turn dreams into any kind of reality. We pray and we trust God but then what? They didn’t teach me that in my theology degree! This Design Shop format affirmed that I really hear God and showed me what I could do about it. I walked away from the three days with a clear roadmap that outlined distinct steps and timelines to prayerfully and intentionally execute my kingdom assignment.
The Guiding Ideals exercise got us to write out the values that our dream church plant would live by. One of my five values is “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend”. In my context, people spend the weekend in nature so our church will have to work around that. During the exercise, my church came to life before my eyes. I learned how to get to know my neighbourhood through research and an exegesis walk through its streets to listen for the broken heart of my community. These empowered me to keep pressing on.
As believers, we are all called. God has something He has put in your heart and mind too. Maybe for you, it’s a small group in your home, a specific need to meet, a team to start, a cause to champion, a ministry to birth, a passion for a certain demographic of humans. Maybe its a whole new way of doing church! Design Shop helps you answer the questions, “How?” and, “What if?”