Anniversary Highlight: Highland Christian Church
In my nearly 20 years of ministry, I would never have thought that I’d be navigating the waters of global pandemic. This shared global experience has caused me to ask so many questions that I have ZERO answers for. My questions have ranged from the deeply personal: “How am I even prepared to lead my family through something like this? Do we have enough savings? What happens if I lose my job?” All the way to our new normal questions: “How many days in a row have I worn this t-shirt? What will my Zoom virtual background be today? For how many days should I suspend my children (you know, cuz I’m their principal now)?”
In the midst of what we are experiencing, I don’t have many of those answers. Ministry-wise, we have had to make immediate decisions to best protect families and friends with our gatherings and with our weekly school programs. We have had to make decisions to be generous and some decisions to be cautious. We have had to make hard decisions to push the pause button on ministry opportunities. We have had to have hard conversations concerning the future. We are asking many questions that we simply just don’t know the answers to.
BUT – there are a few things I DO know. In the midst of all this “difficult,” something beautiful is emerging. No, we have not “up-ed our game” in our on-line production or become masters of online content creation or perfected the art of on-line staff zoom meetings. But, we have been able to be curiously generous to people who have found themselves in need. We have been able to speak from a place of faith to many people struggling with fear. We have been able to bless others when many expect a withholding. We have prayed more intentionally than we ever have. We have been more purposeful with pursuing those who make up the body of Highland Christian Church than we ever have. Checking in on the physical and the spiritual needs of those who make up our church is becoming more and more normal (yes – yes, this should be normal, but sometimes – “ministry” can get in the way with MINISTRY!).
While there are a lot of things I don’t know, these are some beautiful things I do know. God is revealing what needs to go, but He’s also revealing what needs to stay!
It’s really hard to believe that 2020 marks Highland Christian Church’s 15th year of ministry in Asheville, NC. Our time in Asheville has seen us meet together in a music venue/local bar (2 of them to be specific), in a rented out storefront that became a well-known boutique and arts classroom space, and now to our current location in the heart of downtown Asheville – a nearly 16,000 square foot old hotel ballroom that allows us to host over 250 children a week in our arts, education tutorial, and after school programs… I forgot to mention that we are sandwiched between a chocolate factory and a bier garden, talk about a blessing! J And you want to know the common thread through all those things? God provided our daily bread. God provided wisdom for tough decisions. God walked us through doors we didn’t even know existed. God provided people to help build something beautiful. God knit people together to invest in our city.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, God has been faithful, and why would He stop now? Answer: He won’t. He won’t ever stop being faithful to build His Church.
As we are considering an unknown future – we have a known past. A past that makes a b-line to the cross of Christ: the ultimate picture of God’s faithfulness. This is what we know, and it’s what we will continue communicating to every man, woman, and child in our city: God is faithful! Stadia has been
such a strong encouragement and reminder in declaring this message to the next generation and in church planting. Whether it’s partnerships with Compassion international or my old t-shirt reminder “Until Every Child Has a Church,” Stadia has been a constant reminder to think towards what the next generation will “catch” from the previous one. I am continually thinking about how God would intentionally set things in motion so that one generation would tell the next generation of His faithfulness in the Old Testament. And then, when the world wasn’t even looking for Him, Jesus puts on display this faithfulness on FULL BLAST!
During this season of “quarantine” – I can’t see things any differently. How are we displaying God’s faithfulness to our families, our church, and our city? On the other side of this “global experience” people will be asking “Where was God in the midst of all this?” My hope is that His Church will be able to say, “Right here among us… in this with us… carrying us every step of the way.” The Church has been planted on the Earth, not just for the times when the world is spinning as it should, but truly for the times when it feels like the globe has broken off its axis, is rolling off the table, down the hallway, and out the door! We are exactly where we are supposed to be with the exact message we are supposed to share… God is faithful.