Monday, February 28, 2005

A Glimpse of Victory

We're now two weeks into the trip, and we'll be home one week from right now. I'll admit, I'm looking forward to driving through Nebraska. Well, not really. But I am looking forward to what that drive will accomplish.

The last two days have been very meaningful for us. On Saturday, we had a reunion of sorts with my old high school friends from my dad's church. It's been years since we graduated, and we all have exciting, constantly changing lives (most of us, anyway). The thing is, we all reconnected immediately. There was none of the usual reunion awkwardness. When I thought about how rare that is, I realized something- our high school youth group experienced years of real community. It made me realize how centrally important that value is in churches.

Yesterday, we had a chance to attend the church I helped plant in the mid-90s. This was the church where I taught for the first time, where I led worship for the first time, and where I moved equipment to and from a high school gym many times. In 1994, there were 12 of us in an apartment clubhouse. By 1998, there were 800 of us in the Grayslake HS gym. Today, there is a building with a couple thousand people who I saw desperately engaging God. They have had over 400 people come to Christ in the last 8 months. We had a great time, shocked a few old friends, and made peace with other old friends. It was awesome.

But I kept having flashbacks to the early days. When we had no idea if people were going to come to this new church. When we seemed to lose more people than we were picking up. When we were fighting zoning commissions and cutting the budget. When leadership challenges were almost a daily fight. But to see it from the side of victory was phenomenal. And it's not the building. And it's not the 'bigness'. It's the ability to change lives- and being there to watch God do just that. And of course, my life was changed from being there for 7 years, so I guess the victory was glimpsed all along the way.


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