Since I started this work of planting a church I have been meeting with a ministry coach by phone once a month to get feedback and set goals related to my work. In our last conversation, one of the goals I set was to ask 12 people this question: “What do you want?”
I found this handwritten sticker on a wall outside a coffee shop. An unexpected reminder that God is always listening.
It’s a simple enough question, but was surprisingly hard to ask people. My first week of undertaking this assignment was a flop. I mostly forgot to ask the question, and when I did remember, I was hesitant to ask total strangers, or to interrupt people in the middle of their work or conversations. By the end of the week, in my last meeting on a Friday afternoon, I finally asked someone who said he wanted “wisdom and humility.”
Encouraged by how simple the question and the process really were, I started asking others. The answers I have gotten have been refreshing and wonderful, and even the brief interaction between these folks and myself has felt vulnerable and wonderful and holy. The answers have ranged from simple to elaborate and though none of them have been particularly religious, all have felt spiritual in some way. They have included personal desires as well as professional goals and ambitions for success, and at heart, they’ve all had something to do with finding happiness, wellbeing, or connection. Moreover, I’ve been blessed in every encounter.
After listening to a friend who I run with tell me what she wants, she asked me the same question. What do I want? I had to think about it for a minute but what eventually bubbled to the surface was this: I want to be part of a church that has the most authentic expression of Christian community that is possible for broken humans to put into practice. I want a community that is engaged in the work of becoming disciples and that is committed to knowing and following Jesus through worship, service, study and prayer. And I want to worship in a way that both preserves ancient mysteries and holy traditions, but that is also fresh and expressive. I want all of these things, not just for the church that I am working to create, but for my family, myself, and my own spiritual journey.
- Here’s a photo of my and some of my Trail Roots running friends on a recent excursion at Walnut Creek.
Now that I’ve cracked the surface of asking this question, I am eager to hear what people have to say and look forward to many more conversations. I hope you’ll be part of the conversation too. What do you want? Post your comment here or drop me a line to share your thoughts with me directly.
On a different note, I also told my running partner that I want to survive my first marathon, which I will be running in Marble Falls, TX, on Sunday morning, November 11. If you have any spare prayers, I’ll be happy for you to send some my way!