My wife and I lived in a small town in the central valley of California for a couple of years when we were first married. One of the experiences that stand out to us and we talk about often is the fog that would settle in each year. Schools there didn’t have snow days but fog days (I kid you not). I remember our first fall and getting into my vehicle and not being able to see the hood of my car. Often I would find myself opening the door to try to see the lines in the road and roll down my window to listen if vehicles were approaching. As a result of the visibility driving to destinations was slow, there was a timidity present and it was easy to go down the wrong street or miss the location all together. Sure enough, most of these severe fog days by late morning or early afternoon the fog would burn off and visibility would begin to increase.
If you step back and look at the “Church” (big C-church) it is incredible! That the creator of the universe – the one who is all knowing, ever present, would design that the fellowship and community of believers would be a key vehicle to impact the world for the kingdom. I am so thankful for the Church/ the bride of Christ. Jesus builds His church, a place for believers to gather, hear and experience Him as well as encourage, equip and empower the believers to go and live out the Bible in their context of life. The church is also a light (city on a hill) that those in the community can find the life changing message of the Gospel. The church is one of the main vehicles in which the gospel can be launched and spread throughout the community in which it is placed. What we can experience at times due to many factors is a fog can settle in around the church, which can make visibility difficult. It makes it difficult to see things that are so close. This fog that can set in can also cause us to move slow and be timid as we are “driving” and heading to a destination.
As I experienced when living in the valley, one of the necessities in navigating the thick fog is that sometimes the only way to know what way to go is to roll down the window and listen, to open the car door and look at the road. In the Church context, it could mean that rolling down the window is listening to the Holy Spirit’s guiding, and opening the door and looking to the road is seeking truth and alignment from the Bible.
This is where we find ourselves.
We know, at the foundation, the overall mission of the church is Matthew 28:19-20. This fog that I am referring to that sets in is multi-faceted. I feel that the pandemic, plans for the future, and shifting staff are just some of the factors that play into the “fog” in our church. Due to this, the fog that has set in has made proceeding down the road difficult. As a church, we have been in the place where we are rolling down the window, opening the door and seeking what the Lord has for Harvest. We have been following the leading of the Lord and have begun making changes in regards to leadership, direction, and values. The fog is burning off! Visibility and clarity are improving as we are proceeding down the road with more confidence and direction.
One of the first steps we felt was right to do as a church moving into this season, involved restructuring the leadership model here at Harvest. Church leadership is an interesting thing. We know that Christ is the Head of the church and we all fall under His leadership. God has invited and placed a burden on people to steward these gatherings and shepherd those who are a part of the fellowship. What does that look like in our context right now, in this season we are in and the places God is leading us? After many months of processing, inviting in an outside consultant and seeking the Lord, we shifted from a Lead pastor role to a collaborative leadership structure. What this looks like is that instead of one person responsible for making most of the decisions, we created a team that makes the decisions in unity and partnership with the elders of the church. As our consultant was meeting with all the staff and elders, he began to identify and make recommendations of areas and individuals who would best to be a part of this executive team based on experience, qualifications, and education. He suggested the team consist of Mike Halsted, Josh Argubright, and Jacqui Valdez. The elders, along with the consultant, interviewed these staff members, clarified the new areas of responsibilities and agreed that this was the correct step.
The sun continues to burn off the fog as we look at focusing the church as we move forward. It is difficult to look at the Bible and not see the importance of relationships, the value of community! Saying this and actually focusing on this truth are two different things. We as a leadership are putting our focus here!
This year our focus is COMMUNITY ON PURPOSE!
As a church, we desire as many people as possible to experience the life change that comes through the Gospel. We know that more often than not people come to Christ and grow in Him in the context of relationships! The fog is burning off!
As a church family we are heading down this road, we are committed to keeping on the road. We are committed to listening to the Lord and continue to listen to Him and follow His directions. There may be times that a fog comes and settles in and we begin to wonder where things are, but we must not give up fighting for and pressing into clarity. We are so thankful that God continues to lead us as a church and so thankful for the direction and steps He has led us to take. The future is bright and we believe that God has amazing things for Harvest and our community. We are so excited for impact we will have for His kingdom as we continue down the road.