I have a neighbor down the street named Ralph that loves to plant acorns. For years now, he’s been gathering acorns from around town and planting them into large black buckets in his backyard. He now has a nice little collection of oak trees and even has a coveted “Toomer’s” oak from an acorn he picked up long before the famous trees were poisoned. He’s been a careful caretaker of the young trees, making sure they have enough water and at times moving them to assure they get just the right amount of sunlight. But Ralph will be the first to tell you that for these trees to thrive and actually reach their full potential, they will eventually need to be planted into a permanent home in the ground.
I feel like our church is a lot like one of Ralph’s young oak trees, starting its life in a temporary home and filled with so much promise and potential. In these last four years, Lee-Scott Academy has been that important first home for us, allowing us to become rooted and established. God has blessed us tremendously and taught us so much about Himself and who we are as His church through this season. But the time has now come for us to take a step towards a permanent home for Embrace Church. This home will allow us to more fully mature into our vision of “Joining Jesus in redeeming the world by welcoming people home to the Father’s love and empowering them to live as His sons and daughters.”
Over the last two years our leadership has been intentionally praying, seeking and waiting on God’s guidance for this move. Earlier this year we formed a Building Team to join forces with our Executive Team and leverage some more specific expertise. We have spent countless hours researching properties, walking through buildings, making phone calls, meeting with people in our community, fasting, praying, and wrestling through every imaginable possibility…all while being careful to not get out ahead of Jesus. Through this work with each other and with the Holy Spirit, we have gained a sense of clarity and confidence in how God is leading us forward.
In the past week, we have been sharing and processing this news with our Church family through several meetings in homes. It won’t be possible to share all the details in this post, but here’s the gist of it.
At this point we see a two-step process ahead for us. The first step involves acquiring 10+/- acres of land in the North Auburn area. We are planning and preparing ourselves financially to take this step in the next 3 to 12 months. Beyond this, our second step is to enter a season (possibly years) of raising capital towards a building, and once we are in a position of financial strength, to begin construction. With that being said, we hope and plan to remain at Lee-Scott Academy as we continue through this season.
Both of these steps will require a great amount of trust, sacrifice, and surrender on our parts. Many of us will be called to give financially in ways we never have before. And we will be greatly blessed in and through it all! I deeply sense that we, the people of Embrace, are called together for this season to take these steps for the future of our church.
In my praying and pondering all of this over the last month, God has kept drawing me back to two words…immeasurably more. They are two words used by Paul as he’s praying for his friends in Ephesus. He finishes his prayer like this…
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever” Ephesians 3:20-21.
These words are such an encouragement to me. They give an assurance that God is up to much more than we could ever dream. They remind us that His great power is actually at work within us. And they lead us away from striving for our own glory and instead focus us on His glory and name being made great in the world for all generations. My heart longs for our community to see all of God’s “immeasurably more” through this journey. With His faithfulness and our willingness I’m confident that we will.
To finish up here I’d like to ask you the same thing I’ve been asking our church family as we’ve been meeting this week: How can you leverage your own personal capital towards this vision in three ways…
- RELATIONAL CAPITAL. What relationships do you have in place that God might want to use through this process? Are you connected with a landowner in the area or do you have a relationship with someone you think we should be networking with? If so, please connect with Jason Forbus, our Executive Team Trustee. He’d love to hear from you.
- FINANCIAL CAPITAL. Consider how God is calling you to give financially towards this vision. How can you start preparing now to better leverage the financial resources that God has entrusted to you? And know that while an intentional giving initiative is to come, you can also start giving now directly to the building fund.
- SPIRITUAL CAPITAL. This is actually the most important capital that we all have to leverage…our prayers. And I believe we possess this in great abundance among us. So consider how you can more intentionally leverage your own personal prayers towards every element of this process. The Holy Spirit is inviting us to meet him in deep places of prayer through this journey. Will you go there?
“To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever!”