Tucked away in a file folder somewhere in my office is a document detailing the plan for making the vision of a church in downtown Columbia come alive. In my conversations with people that are interested in joining our motley crew I often cite my inability to locate that plan as proof that Downtown Church is an organic experiment, conforming to the texture, beat, and tone of the context into which it was called. The context is defined by the people we didn't know eight months ago but are now integral to our identity. The context is defined by the city we merely inhabited eight months ago but now inhabits us. The context is defined by our God that has always moved in mysterious ways, surprising us at every turn with new possibilities that extend beyond our ability to see, touch, smell, or feel, so that our only means of reliable orientation is faith.
The context has at the same time made the twenty page document obsolete and full of life. Let me explain. Last night, 120 people worshipped with Downtown Church at our monthly Reveal preview service. So much has changed from our original plan that a monthly preview service was not originally included, we assumed that we would worship in a real church building when we did start, and we certainly didn't think that 120 people would show up for worship.
But even though the details are all different one thing has remained the same. We set a target date for our first worship service as a new church to be September 11, 2011 and determined that 100 people would be in attendance. People that are much smarter and more experienced with church planting said it was optimistic at best and over confident at worse to get there in 8 months. Last night, 120 people worshipped with Downtown Church at our fifth monthly Reveal preview service. I don't know what this means for us in the near term and how it impacts our plans moving forward for our launch date. But I do know that I am privileged to labor alongside a group of people, most especially our launch team, that dared to dream big and gave themselves away so that a church might be born. First there were 15, and then 27, and then there was last night. And all along the way there was God.