Saturday, December 13, 2008

Church Planting, Disability Ministry and Icy Roads!

Last night I made a discovery about church plantiing. Church planting especially with the vision to minister to individuals and families impacted by disability and icy roads have some things in common!

Winter wonderland describes Pittsburgh's look of the last several days! The huge snowflakes chasing each other to see which can get to the ground first are beautiful. The way below freezing temps keep our white world in place.

Yesterday late afternoon I drove to take supper to a friend. Her daughter - just arrived home for winter break from college - needed a ride to get a prescription filled. So she and I set off - the "back way" - for the pharmacy. We were fine getting there even though my friend commented that she couldn't believe the roads hadn't been salted. I replied that I thought cities were trying to save money by not spreading salt "recklessly" this year - that I read in the paper or heard on the radio that Chicago spent many millions just clearing their roads in one recent snowstorm. We got to the store, discovered they wouldn't process her new insurance card and started home on the same back roads.

We came to the top of the last long hill. A small deer almost darted in front of us at the same moment I realized we were driving down a skating rink road. It must have been black ice covered by a layer of snow. Fortunately we were the only car either way as we mostly slid down the hill. I knew I wasn't in control of the car. I was just trying to stay on the path. At the bottom (where the sign says opposing traffic does not stop) I had no choice but to steer carefully to the left onto her home street which is fairly flat. Fortunately there was no near on-coming traffic!

When we pulled into her drive, she said to me, "That was pretty scary!" That was the moment I processed exactly how scary it was! I guess I'm so used to living in the exciting fast lane of life that it didn't get my adrenaline flowing as much as it did hers.

My husband and I and a brave band of others are starting A Restoration Church in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. It's not our first church plant experience, but it is clearly the most exciting. A Restoration Church is unique in our vision to take the Gospel to and to bring into the Kingdom intentionally and especially individuals and families impacted by disability.

Sometimes our forward progress seems well-planned, but mostly this church plant is a lot like that icy road last night. It's a really exciting ride - even dangerously exciting at times - with Someone (that would be the King of the Kingdom) else in control. We are in forward motion with rapidly beating hearts being faithful and working hard for the King to build His Kingdom further here in Pittsburgh!

The analogy may break down at some points, I'm sure, but the essence is that church planting can be a lot like my ride in my car with my young friend down the icy hill last night! We are going where many people don't dare go. We are makinig new friends and taking them along for the ride of their lives. We are taking risks and living on the edge of our comfort zones (and even stepping outside our comfort level) - all for the sake of building God's Kingdom!

Church planting and icy roads do have some things in common!

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