28 July 2008

London Layover

So I’m sitting here at Caffé Nero in London’s Heathrow Airport at 9:55pm. Thank God they’re open all night because my flight doesn’t depart for another 9 ½ hours.

Wait, scratch that. I was just asked to move to the front, as they are closing the back part of the café… the part with the comfy sofas and electrical outlets. Looks like it’s going to be a long night on marble tile.

That’s right, believe it or not, after all the traveling I’ve done, I’m experiencing my first overnight layover in an airport… and it’s not starting out too well. Of course, the caliber of overnight air travelers does appear to be a little less dodgy than that of rail travelers. ☺

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to submit another entry, but have simply not had the time to sit down and crank it out. And it seems I have nothing but time at the moment. Given some of the things going on in and around our ministry in Glasgow, I found myself reflecting on where I was at about 2 ½ years ago. The common denominator(s): Re-Entry to Glasgow after visiting family in Singapore; the challenges of leaders transitioning out/away from a place of partnership/community; finding myself in the familiar place of leaning on and trusting God to continue to guide and sustain our family as we forge ahead in ministry… often times in uncharted territories.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Jasheen, Gabrielle and I went to visit Jasheen’s folks in Singapore. Leading into that trip I had begun having serious concerns about my fit with the team/organization I was with. It had nothing to do with my specific ministry in Glasgow, but with the direction I sensed we were headed as a team, and how that was beginning to conflict with my vision, values and calling… and my original understanding of what we were doing here in the first place.
When we returned to Glasgow, for the first time since I’d arrived, it felt… unfamiliar. It didn’t feel like home. I remember walking around in a haze – not jetlag – a haze of uncertainty. I felt like I didn’t know my teammates; I felt like I didn’t get my teammates; I felt like I was no longer one of my teammates. In retrospect, I think I missed a pretty big word from the Lord back then. Ain’t grace a gas?!?

Now, for the record, I believe that relational dynamics are so infinitely complex that you can’t pinpoint exactly what makes people gel and what makes them… not. But you can usually ballpark it.
The significant relevance of this story, however, is not to focus on my first re-entry to Glasgow, but on my second, this most recent one.

Without going into too much detail, my experience upon this return was inversely proportionate to the first. I felt as if I was coming HOME… not just to where we dwell, but to where we BELONG. I was diving back into a ministry I’m excited and passionate about. I knew I was coming home to some challenging circumstances within our ministry, but I was confident and hopeful that we would emerge a stronger, healthier, tighter community… and we have.

One of the more difficult things that we’re facing as a community right now is the departure of a colleague and good friend from our leadership team. It’s always hard to say goodbye to friends. Yes, we’re disappointed. Yes, we’re grieving. But we are also leaning into our Father and discovering that His direction has not changed. His desire for relationship is still as strong as ever. He is still on His throne. Mosaic is HIS church, and nothing we do can change that. We don’t serve the perfect model. We don’t worship the perfect community. We serve and worship a perfect GOD!

Amidst the backdrop of a changing landscape for our community, Mosaic has invited and commissioned me to serve as the shepherding pastor. I have been “cut loose” to come alongside folks in our community in the areas of coaching, discipleship, small/home groups and missional living. This is an exciting part of my vision for serving here in Glasgow… as well as an integral part of my calling. I’m humbled and grateful to serve in such a role.

I’ve got to tell you, I feel pretty privileged to be a part of our unique little church. I’ve recently been meeting with a professor from ICC (International Christian College), and this guy is pretty amazing. He’s incredibly dialed-in to the Church in Scotland. At our last meeting he told me that Mosaic is the only ‘emergent’ church that he knows of in the country; the only church that is genuinely modeling church as a missional community. That’s exciting… and encouraging!

Man, there are a lot of messages in this entry: Re-Entry can be good or bad; pay attention to the words God speaks to you; in ministry, friends and colleagues come and go, but God is always the foundation we build our hope on… the list goes on.

I just want to leave Terminal 5 and get the second leg of my journey underway. I need a shower.

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