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I heard many stories that were less than encouraging as we embarked on starting a new church. The stats were something like two out of three church plants fail. Great. One writer said “Don’t plant a church unless you are ready to get ripped apart by God, having all your motives examined.” Wonderful. Another church planter said, “You will feel every Monday morning like you want to resign.” Most encouraging. What I decided to do to preserve my spiritual sanity was attach myself to a Biblical metaphor that would serve as a compass on this new journey. The metaphor I used was manna; the divine food the people of Israel ate in the wilderness provided each day supernaturally by God and gathered off the earth. It was enough to sustain them daily, but not enough to store (Sabbath excepted). Manna was God’s miraculous provision for them in the heat and the sand.  I decided to search my heart each day for where God had “shown up.” There was always a small sign of grace. A rough ministry week also holds our first youth event, which went well. A passing comment by someone on feeling connected to others, or that this church is really home for another person felt like provision. Sometimes it seemed like there was almost enough manna to store: On a week I despair of new life, several new believers happen to come and express interest in getting baptized. I gaze across the sand for those kinds of moments, and grasp the manna. Where has God been moving?  Where has the fire of the Spirit been lit? Where is hope taking hold? As I’ve continued to practice that discipline I’ve found I spend less time distracted by my own failures. And continually I’ve been reminded that I do not own the church.

3 responses to “Manna

  1. Helene Milena ⋅

    A wonderful metaphor to hold on to. Thank you.

  2. Jeff Wright ⋅

    Thanks for the powerful reminder that grace is best absorbed into our system in small, daily doses…Manna is everywhere on the journey.

  3. This is great and very helpful as we seek to be missional community – not on the church planting radar just yet. I find that we have run of the mill weeks where nothing much happens or connects and then we have a week like this one where I spend almost a whole day with a friend who I am able to encourage and then we have an estate fun day (organised by just 3 of us) which goes really, really well – enough manna to keep us going for some time!

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