We have had some “growing pains” in Mosaic Edinburgh recently, nothing serious and we had always said we would try stuff and if it didn’t work try something else or try again later. Of course its tougher than that in practice. In an idle moment I was thinking about friends who pastor larger churches and had a wee fantasy about being the pastor of a “big” church, (sorry I am only human) I was thinking about how easy it would be, having a staff that took care of stuff and just basically preparing sermons for the weekend (ok fantasies aren’t reflections of reality I know you guys in bigger churches do more stuff but it was my fantasy)
When it comes to pastor envy I think envying Francis Chan would be on my list of secret sins. Chan has planted a great church that has grown and become influential, he has published books that have sold like proverbial hot cakes and he is a much sought after speaker for conferences where people hang on his every word. Oh yes as as long as I am being open and honest about my sins, I envy his probable lack of financial worry.
Given my sin of “Chan Envy” I was literally taken aback to read these from Francis in a recent edition of Relevant Magazine
“I’d love to just be in a room with some people who really believed and had absolute faith in their prayers,” Chan says. “[Who] just wanted to obey the Scriptures and share their faith with whomever and disciple and just get in a group and pray like crazy, and go and talk about how God moved in our lives throughout the week, share Scriptures, and those types of things. And that looks so different from your typical church service. I think more and more people are hungering for the same thing I am. As I read the Scriptures and feel led by the Spirit in a certain direction, it seems like other people are having that same restlessness.”
As I read those words a thought hit between the eyes, Francis Chan envies me or more accurately us! Now in case you are worried that I have lost the plot, I don’t have delusions of grandeur, I know Chan doesn’t envy my ability as a speaker, writer or leader. Yet as I read his words I couldn’t help but think about what happens on many Sundays in our back room. I am not claiming that Mosaic Edinburgh is perfect or we don’t have our own challenges nevertheless as I read Chan saying he just wanted to be part of a group who “obey the Scriptures and share their faith with whomever and disciple and just get in a group and pray like crazy, and go and talk about how God moved in our lives throughout the week, share Scriptures, and those types of things. And that looks so different from your typical church service.” I couldn’t help but think I am experiencing what he is longing for. His words sound an awful lot like our Sunday gatherings at their best and so in a way Francis Chan envies me. He is envious of me being part of a group of Christ followers who are attempting, however shakily, to be an expression of God’s people who with simplicity and authenticity seek to embody and express the Kingdom of God in their lives and gatherings. Sure we have a long way to go, but hey at least we have started the journey.
Francis Chan’s openness in these words provoked another attitude in me, this time one I don’t need to be ashamed of, gratitude. I am juggling three jobs, financial security for us is a pipe dream, we have had some challenges as a community all of which has combined recently to get me down and make me feel a bit (a slight under exaggeration there) sorry for myself and frustrated. Today in contrast I feel gratitude, gratitude for being part of such a fantastic group of people whom if I had chosen my “missional dream team” would all have made the cut. Gratitude for the freedom we have to try new things, even grateful for the opportunity to fail. Gratitude for the authenticity that so often marks our gatherings, when ordinary people so often seem to say extraordinary things. Gratitude for a being part of a community which wants to impact a city not just fill a building, alleviate suffering, not just be made to feel good about themselves. Mosaic Edinburgh I am deeply grateful for being with you part of a community that so many other church leaders and Christ followers hanker and hunger for.
I don’t suppose he will ever hear it but Francis dream on! or catch a flight to Edinburgh, there is room on the stairs Sunday at 5:30pm and room in our hearts any time.