Drama. There's always some of it in a church. It's the nature of an imperfect family.
But as a church perseveres by grace, God changes the grand metaphor of the season from drama to peace. It's not that there is a complete absence of drama. Its just that you find yourself lighting more fires than you are fighting them. Fires of vision, intimacy and courage.
This is what happened to the church in Acts 9 after Paul was converted.
God turned the chief persecutor of the church into its chief spokesman. Many turned to Christ. The Holy Spirit strengthened them. The fear of the Lord gripped them. Drama made way for peace.
"Then the Church enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, living in the fear of the Lord, it multiplied." (Acts 9:31)
What is most profound to me though, is what the church did with their new found peace. In terms of new converts it was like a post-war baby boom. They didn't allow peace time to pacify them. They allowed it to activate and multiply them. They found a new kind of crisis. It was not external. It was the internal crisis of the Gospel itself.
My question is how we as a church respond to a season in which the grand metaphor has changed from crisis to peace? Again, not the total absence of drama, simply a new metaphor for a new season. The evidences of grace are everywhere.
Well, first of all, we guard peace like a rare treasure. We battle vigilantly against that which disturbs it, putting away gossip and divisiveness as war-time weapons. We learn to beat our verbal swords into plows of grace and truth. We guard peace not just because it is pleasant but because peace and the gospel are powerful allies. When Paul called the church to pray for its political leaders, it was so that 'we may enjoy peaceful quiet lives." But he didn't leave it at that. He continued, "this pleases God our Savior who wants all men to be saved..." (1 Tim 2:1-2)
Peace-time in a community really can result in a post-war baby-boom of new converts, and not simply converts, but a multiplication of Gospel communities. Church planting and re-planting. This is something of what God has called us to as a church. Crisis comes and goes, but we are not waiting for the next crisis to get us multiplying.
We are preparing steadily for this next chapter with prayerful strategy, the launch of a 2 year church planters course called the 'Porterbrook Institute' in the Fall, and the establishment of other partner churches who would join us on our planting journey.
So let's guard the gift of peace, enjoy and engage the season God has us in, and use it for the unfolding Drama of God's Gospel story together.