Thursday night Christina and I split a Margarita Pizza with David Gilmore. No, not the lead singer of Pink Floyd, the other David Gilmore; our new point man with our District, out of Omaha. Our old point man (Church Multiplication Director) was just elected District Superintendent, so this pizza was our little meet-and-greet with the new guy. (Speaking of which… go to South Avenue Pizza and order the Margarita. Go now.)
Before dinner, we met at the Front Porch, just across the street from the restaurant, and we showed him all the donated stuff, the coffee bar, the piano, the chandelier. We showed him the book-sale shelf, the display cabinet, and the new-and-improved kids’ ministry space. He asked us a lot of questions about our beginnings, our journey, our goals, our frustrations, etc. Then came the Margarita Pizza.
David is a great listener, but when he talks, he talks. And it’s not necessarily all him, either. Because he seemed to be channeling something from a level up as he told us about his experiences with church plants in the past. Prayer, he said, always seemed to be the missing link; always the vital component, the “make or break” of any congregation, especially a brand new one.
“It wasn’t until we decided to engage in sacrificial prayer that things began to break,” he said. “We met every morning together, the group of elders, at 6:30 in the morning, and we did it for several months. At first it was all drudgery and inconvenience, but then, sometime at the beginning of the second week, there was a break-through of sorts, and after that we wanted to pray… we couldn’t wait to come together and listen for God’s voice. When the holidays came around we finally, begrudgingly had to call it off. But that is the moment we look back at when we think about the way the church really turned a corner… when God really seemed to take over.”
I think I can speak for all the leaders of The Core that we really, really believe in what God has called us to do at the Front Porch. That all these concerts and Open Mic Nights, and art exhibits and discussion groups are for real. But doing all these “worldly” things; all these events and activities intended to appeal to the community at-large, makes it easy sometimes to forget that God really wants to transform people. And it causes us, on occasion, to neglect the Spirit-work that God no doubt had in mind when he engineered the Front Porch. But David Gilmore was the right person at the right time to nudge us back.
Interestingly, it wasn’t new information. I felt that God was trying to nudge us in the prayer direction a few weeks ago when we began a 9:15 prayer meeting each Sunday morning. I was committed, but my spirit was tenuous, and perhaps even pessimistic. But now we have that kind of “confirmation energy” that comes from conversations like the one we shared Thursday night.
God wants us to pray. What a no-brainer. What a “captain obvious” kind of moment. But some of humanity’s biggest discoveries are just like that. Then it’s just a matter of shifting gears from the talking and dreaming and pizza-eating… to the doing.