I am sitting in Verdugo Hills Hospital right now, looking at my 2 day old son, and trying to type quietly so as to not wake up his sleeping mother next to me. Having just been through it, I am reflecting on the difficulty of giving birth. From infertility problems for many that manifest even prior to conception, to morning sickness, to worries around progression and regression in the womb, to the actual process of childbirth (we were in the hospital 37.5 hours laboring! Yikes!), to now consistently reflecting/worrying/focusing/enjoying every moment of the new life in this little bassinet that lays by my side.
In the midst of these reflections, I am also reflecting on the reality that our presbytery has been through a similar process over the past 10 years. A bout with infertility, pains from "the first trimester", the ups and downs in the actual moments of birth, the terrible twos (it is a thing with new churches!), and the intensity of encouraging a child toward individuation. For many in our local ecclesial family, the attention and focus of starting twenty two new churches and new worshiping communities has been fierce.
At the same time, along with this fierceness, is another clear experience. It is the experience of the miraculous. Literally. God has generated miracle after miracle with us as we have been cooperating with God to launch so many fresh expressions of faith. Just like with new born babies, all of these new projects don't simply come out of thin air and the vulnerabilities in all of them are too many to count. The fact that we have identified so many gifted leaders, experienced so much growth (1645 people are committed to our new churches and new worshiping communities), moved so many of these new expressions of faith toward sustainability, and survived as a presbytery, is way to much to claim on our own merit. The reality is, just like with baby Lee (his name is Lee Vaughn Warnes, after his great grandfathers), that God has been miraculous.
So as we move toward a new year and all the new energy that is generated in this season, we'd like to ask you, what new thing might God be doing with your church? We now have lots of experience and if you would like to talk, we would love to move into prayerful conversation with you.
Happy New Year from Nick and Cyclical LA!