Posted by: minnow | August 27, 2008

Church Shoes

I was caught up short about a month ago when I met with a young lady who has been “mentoring” (befriending) my daughter. She was organizing a youth missions trip to our own city and wondered if my husband or I could head one of the outreach teams. I begged off because of my work but our conversation left me thinking that this was an individual in our Church  who was actively doing something to reach beyond our walls. And, while I could find lots to criticize the truth was she was doing more than I am doing.

The more I thought about this young woman and our conversation the more I realized that change in the Church happens one person at a time. We can sit on the sidelines and say “Man I wish my Church did something.” Or, we can role up our sleeves and start doing. Yes, absolutely most large scale events require a lot of helping hands. Most on going ministries require teams of workers. And if the Church is going to start looking more like the New Testament and less like an American country club a lot more of us will have to do a lot more sleeve rolling. Still, the process starts with one person and a God-sized idea.

Without getting into a debate on the legitimacy of “words of knowledge” or “prophetic words from God” or whatever you want to call them, when I was back in the Building two Sundays ago I went up for after service prayer (to pray). A woman I had never met asked if she could give me a word. She told me God was giving me a new pair of shoes, “shoes that could resist the slippery slope“. (The invitation had something to do with renewing our commitment to give our lives to God. I think the woman was trying to make sense of the word she was given to give me which is why she mentioned the “slippery slope” but even so the word was intriguing). I also heard someone else say that God could see the mountain in front of me even if those around me could not.

Now this word may not make sense to those of you reading but it made sense to me because I believe I have been “called” to return to the Building in spite of my very strong objections. If you are at all familiar with my blog you know that I am not impressed with how most Building-Based Christianity operates. I am going to need a new pair of shoes (and probably a pretty strong muzzle as well) to climb over, through, and around the boulders in my path and not whine the whole time. I am going to need thick skin and discernment and compassion beyond my own ability to manufacture. Quite frankly, I will probably start my morning prayer by asking God if He’s sure He’s got the right fish!! Going back to the Building feels scary and lonely. I feel a little like a spy being sent to a land that is inhabited by giants. I do not think I am ready. I have not had a long enough vacation/break/training/escape. “Why can’t He just tumble the walls of the Building and start over?” The answer to the last question is–He can. And, He may yet. But, that is not the point. At least not right now.

My heart is full of excitement at the possibilities for the Building and yet my head is playing the doubting Thomas–all the red tape, jumping through hoops, and coordinating of “bosses”. Getting everyone aboard and on the same page in Church is often as difficult as it is in Washington. Still, the potential is fun to imagine. What would our Building look like to the world if we had a clothing bank alongside a food bank and it was available more than a couple hours on Saturday? Or what if we had a free clinic and free dental help once a week, volunteer child care for a couple hours on the weekend, and a monthly mechanic for low income folks and single moms? Who might we help with a 24/7 help line? Calls could be anonymous. Workers would be trained in suicide prevention and crisis intervention. Yet, we could also be covered by prayer and offer the same encouragement to our callers. What would we look like then?

As my son (who is the most likely one to join me in my off road wanderings) just pointed out, writing about re-entry is a whole lot easier than re-entering. In the past I have not been the greatest at prayer and fasting. Holding my tongue challenges my self-control to the extreme. (Not to mention the fact that I am basically lazy). But both of these disciplines will be necessary for me to return to the Building successfully.

Last night as I shared my feelings about my return with a friend I was in tears. I am not okay with this situation. I want a promise that God is going to blow open the box, that the Building is going to be a rocking great place where needs are met and Jesus hangs out! I do not have that promise. Yet even so, I feel called. I may just have to start wearing hiking boots on Sunday morning to remind me that God can meet us anywhere. After all, I didn’t get a picture of slippers when I heard I was getting a new pair of shoes.



  1. Hey sister. I’m praying for you. I admire your ability to love and give and try though you’ve been heart. you are full of mercy and full of grace in my eyes.

    i absolutely 100% believe that you will be hurt again. I absolutely 100% beleive that Jesus will be there for you when people disappoint you. I believe He will be enough for you to be able to keep on giving and loving and being others- focused. I pray that God will open both of our hearts to what He is teaching you through these challenging times. You’re on my heart!


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