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As I have been trying to get back into the rhythm of ministry here in Ann Arbor, I am doing everything possible to discern God’s direction for our church. It is a temptation to jump right in and do things as “business as usual” since things are so established at HMCC of Ann Arbor. But more than any other year in our church’s history, I get this sense that we, as a church need to hear God’s voice and obey.
This is why I took some time to reflect, reevaluate and then respond to God’s promptings. As a church, God is placing three things on our plate of responsibility for this coming year.
The first is disciple-making. One thing that I have learned in my time in Indonesia is that disciples have to be made if we want to have a church that is sustainable and vibrant. It is hard work. This is why it is always easier to draw a crowd, rather than make disciples. But without radically committed disciples, we will never have a strong church.
Secondly, God put an “international mantle” on our church. We knew that God was up to something when He started to bring many international students to our church in the last 5 years. It has always been our prayer that God will use our church to reach the nations, and slowly, God is answering that prayer by bringing the nations to us. There are close to 125+ nations represented here at the University of Michigan.
Lastly, God is putting a hunger in us to see more of His power in our church life. We need God’s power to invade every single part of our lives. Too often we try to fill in various parts with activities and gatherings. Therefore instead of genuine transformation, we end up experiencing either sin management or superficial and temporary change, which leaves everyone disillusioned and disappointed. I would love to see the kinds of miracles and transformations that are documented in the Bible. This is why we need to pray and ask God to show His power in our lives and in our corporate gatherings.
As I was meditating on these three things, God directed me to Isaiah 12 and something struck me. God spoke to the Israelites of a time when they would experience the joy of salvation and have the responsibility of letting the nations know of who God is. In v. 3, it says, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
God describes his salvation (deliverance, victory) as being contained in a well and all we have to do is draw from it. Therefore, this coming year with the various convictions that God has placed in our hearts we want to, by faith, DIG (Disciple-making, International mantle, God’s power) deep!
Already within the short two months of ministry in this new school year, God is confirming these things in our lives. We are seeing people more longing for discipleship and making disciples. We are seeing more international students come out to our church. In fact, we have stepped out in faith and re-structured Global Access (our international ministry) to accommodate for the growth. We have the highest number of freshmen coming out to our church in HMCC-AA’s history – almost double the size of our largest class in the past. People are thirsty for God’s power to be manifested in their lives.
We don’t know where all this will lead to, but all we know is that God is challenging us to DIG deep. When everything is said and done, it will not be us trying to do things for God, but rather the testimony will be that in spite of who we are with our weaknesses and frailty, God prepared things for us and He simply invited us and gave us the privilege of participating in His great work. What an awesome God we serve!