“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.”- John 20:21
I love the church where I was saved (at 18 years old), where I grew in my faith, where I witnessed God’s power, where I answered the call to become a pastor, where I learned so much about God’s kingdom. The priority and practice of worship, generosity, obeying the Word, moving in the Spirit, and sharing the good news were firm foundations which remain just as fresh and fervent today.
However, there was one tendency in that church that I have distanced my life and leadership style from. My former church operated from a place of CONTROL. Over the last few months, especially in the midst of our name change to Restoration Church with all it conveys and focuses us towards, I have been thinking about the need to be a place of RELEASING. There seems to be a growing tension and conflict between what we say we want for people versus how we live it out. I, like many pastors, would say our desire is for people to become mature, know God’s Word for themselves, and be led by the Spirit. Yet, that desire is dwarfed by the need to be in control and orderly. We tend to treat the adults in our church like an extended form of youth group, with a large number of rules, constant monitoring, and handholding of people.
I bring this contrast up not to critique my first church (I love that place) or any who gravitate to this leadership style, but to share more about our mission focus to RELEASE people into God’s very best. Our releasing people flows from a heart to see them vibrantly living for Jesus, reaching beyond the church building, impacting others, and multiplying the kingdom. In John 15:16 Jesus said to His followers, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”
At Restoration Church we will be a place where people are loved, shaped, encouraged, and released with OPEN HANDS. We will continue to commit people to their God and to His ways. They are His and He is theirs! In 1 Peter 5:2-3 we read, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
- We are releasing people into the freedom and fullness Jesus has for them!
- We are releasing people into their communities as IMAGE and LIGHT Bearers!
- We are releasing people with blessing when their time at Restoration Church comes to an end!