It has been a year since I left Joshua Generation Church (JoshGen) City Bowl congregation and moved to the Green Point congregation. Being part of a new congregation plant is certainly very interesting, and daunting! As I reflected on what God has done in my life since I moved, I came to the realisation that I am in this season for a reason.
I never saw myself as the ‘church planting’ type – yet it was clear that my season at the City Bowl congregation had come to an end and Green Point was where God was leading me. The beginning of any adventure is always filled with excitement, fresh energy and verve, but then the months march on, challenges arise and reality sinks in. In my own personal life, reality also sank in as I had to make personal sacrifices: my home was (and still is) quite some distance from Green Point, and I had joined an evening congregation when my Monday mornings start very early. It would take a lot more than ‘energy’ to remain whole-heartedly committed to that which the Lord had called me. Yes, ‘I am in this season and it’s for a reason’, but what has this meant for me personally as I have navigated being a part of a new congregation plant?
It has meant waiting on the Lord.
Isaiah 40:31 says, ‘But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.’ For me, the reality in this Scripture has been seeing God’s strength empowering me to endure and to never grow weary of waiting on Him. In committing to my Green Point family, I have had to wait on the Lord, follow and commit to ‘God’ decisions and not follow my own ‘good’ decisions. God’s strength has allowed me to lean on Him and to trust His ways rather than my own.
It has meant following God’s plans for His Kingdom.
I have learned that the Lord has great plans for His kingdom, and often these plans are not visible to the human eye, requiring one to see with supernatural eyes. I have had to learn to rely on His supernatural strength and vision to keep persevering, while being committed to fulfilling His will and His command to “GO” (Matthew 28:20). While it was scary leaving the familiar comforts of my old congregation, I had to trust God’s great plan for both my life and His people. I had to wait on Him and rely on His strength so I could continue soaring. While I may have my own plans, it is God’s will that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). Even though I still don’t fully know what the future holds for me, I have to continue waiting on the Lord and relying on His strength and vision for His church.
It means waiting on the Lord and seeking His vision for His church.
As time went on and I continued to wait on the Lord and look to Him, the Lord gave me fresh vision. He began to lift my eyes to see that my help comes from Him, the maker of heaven and earth (see Psalm 121:2). In the natural, it may have looked tough, but as I looked up and looked to the Lord, I saw His supernatural vision for the church. Even in a new season or a new place, the Lord is my help and my confidence – and He has been faithful in fulfilling that promise.
It means allowing the unfamiliar and uncomfortable to shape my character.
In a new and unfamiliar place and season, we can miss what the Lord is doing in our hearts and lives. As I look back, I see that the initial ‘discomfort’ I experienced when I moved to Green Point was part of the good work the Lord was doing in my life. I experienced conflict yet I had resolve through the power of the Holy Spirit. I ‘lost’ old friends yet gained a new family. The fruit borne from these discomforts is tangible and eternal!
It means counting it all joy.
In enduring many challenges in being a part of a new congregation plant, I learned to count it ‘all joy’ as I waited on the Lord and allowed Him to strengthen me. I learned that His ways are higher than my own, especially whenever I felt tired or tempted to return to the familiar territory of my old congregation.
It means contending for unity.
In this season, I have also learned that being committed to a new congregation also means contending for unity as we continue to build – both for ‘old friends’ and new members who join. Many new people have and will continue to walk through the doors of Joshua Generation Church in Green Point, and the Lord has shown me the importance of being committed to seeing them firmly set and planted into family. Through the many challenges, I have forged new friendships and formed deep bonds. The Lord has settled my heart as I see that my citizenship is in heaven and my Green Point family is a real part of my “forever family” – I am pursuing God’s glory with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
It means being prayerful.
Prayer has been a powerful tool – not only in spiritual warfare but also in transforming my heart. As I walked in unfamiliar territory, I had to learn to lean on the Lord in prayer and find the strength to continue to stay and commit.
Yes, I may not know what the future holds, but I know I can trust in the God who does not sleep nor slumber – and as I walk now more confidently into what was once unfamiliar and frightening, I know I do so in God’s strength, knowing this is what He has for me, in this season!