Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain1 Corinthians 15:58
Just a couple of weeks ago, a man visited our church location in the city of Amsterdam for the first time. Let’s call him Guy. That’s not his real name, if you are wondering. No need to start a social media search for a Guy in Amsterdam!
We started services a year ago and we are at that size where you are definitely not alone, but you’re also not quite anonymous. So every visitor is welcomed personally. Guy met one or two people from our team before the service, sat through the worship and just as the service leader is about the start prayer, Guy leaves. He just leaves. He does not even take the time to listen to the message. After the service, someone on our team told us that he told her that ‘he just had enough’. Wow.
A couple of years ago this might have upset me. I might immediately start to think of all the things we could have done better to accommodate our visitors. And possibly review our follow process. And maybe I would talk to the worship leaders about how they were making eye contact with visitors (ok maybe not that much). Honestly, 10 years ago I would regularly look over my shoulder during worship regularly to see if the auditorium had filled up more. Thank goodness I went through all of that as a YA leader.
Of course, I would rather that every visitor would feel at home and settle in (doesn’t every pastor), but the truth is that not everyone will like your church or agree with how things are done. And that is fine. Hopefully they find a church that they can settle in quickly.
Now this is a bit of a light example of course. In the last years, many of us have found ourselves in situations that were different from what we wanted or expected. I don’t think that for a long time, collectively we have had to deal with so much disappointment. Maybe every additional disappointment weighs a bit heavier now we already have had so much.
Intan and I have discovered that building a family looks so different for us than we have previously imagined. There are many posts on this website and our combined website about this journey. We had never imagined how vulnerable the first months of Evelyn’s life could be and how simultaneously, she could be so strong. We had to discover that sometimes, faith does not look like the big conquering mode, it does not always look like taking ground.
Sometimes faith looks like being steadfast. Sometimes it looks like being immovable. It looks like acknowledging that God is good, even if life is far from.
I love how Paul tells the Ephesians to put on the whole armour to stand firm. I love how he tells them to take up the shield of faith at all times. Faith is like a shield. It protects and helps you stand firm and move on. Also, Roman shields were way different from Captain America’s shield. They would be large enough to cover your whole body. They are not the type of shield that you can run quickly with. Also, I am not Captain America.
So be steadfast. Be immovable. Stand strong. Keep faith. Keep declaring. The season for taking ground is coming.