Discipleship... Dreams... Disappointment ... and Connecting with Jesus
June 6, 2012
Throughout Leap of Faith we encourage each other to pray for a big Leap of Faith dream. The risky/scary part of this is: What if the dreams don’t come true?
In this year’s guide we said:
Leap of Faith can be a little scary.
Here’s the thing about exercising faith. By definition, there are no guarantees, which is why it requires faith.
The risk you take by engaging with something like this is disappointment. You’ll be invited to really engage in faith for some things you actually care about, both for yourself, for people around you, and for… well, I guess the world. But, again, there are no guarantees with this sort of faith (except, as we’ll talk about in a minute, that God will be with you every step of the way—I do think that’s guaranteed).
So what do you think? Is that a risk you’re willing to run?
In our 101 party we say this about pursuing dreams:
Will we really get all these things we dream of? No but that’s OK. We find that in pursuing these dreams we are actually pursuing God.
We learn to trust Jesus in all circumstances. We learn that he is good always (notice we are not saying that all circumstances are good), and that he will work all things for our good (not that all things are good). In all these things Jesus is with us.
These are some of the things we are learning and practicing together …
So here is some real time discipleship regarding dreams and disappointments.
My big Leap of Faith dream was that Rush Creek would forgive our debt, and starting this year we could begin spending the 3800 we spend on our mortgage on mission. I delivered our letter during Leap of Faith, and then received the reply in May. In short there was gracious offer to drop our debt to 4% and hold our note until it is completely paid instead of having a ballon payment due in 2015.
A good offer (especially since they could have said a flat out no), but obviously not the dream I was asking for (and I know many of you were as well). So let’s first be real on the front end and say there is genuine disappointment here.
Now there is also much good that has come from this. We are in a significantly better position than we were before:
- We found out that we will actually be out of debt (if we pay at our current rate) in 2019, not 2030 as I had been thinking (by my math that is around ten years sooner or 120 months –not an insignificant amount of time).
- We know exactly what we now owe, and both us and Rush Creek are working from the same Amoritization schedule.
- We won’t have a balloon payment due in 2015, so we don’t have to worry about the time or financial costs of setting up new financing.
- With the reduction in our interest rate to 4% we will save 30,000 over the life of the loan (not an insignificant amount!).
- I had the experience of making a really big request. It was scary and felt risky to go with the letter and talk to Pastor Gary. That meeting could not have gone better. He was completely gracious and we had a good time talking together. This was great training for me.
- Through the process I actually felt the dream of being debt free work deeper into my bones, and am more convinced that this is a dream from God and definitely worth pursuing.
So good things, but there is still the disappointment, but honestly more than the disappointment I am taking away the experience of Jesus’ being with me as he stretched and trained me, and am certain Jesus will use this experience when the time comes for the next big ask.
J15 not this Summer
Mark Leyen’s Leap of Faith dream was J15. J15 is a discipleship internship for 18-25 year olds to go deep in spiritual formation in reaching up to God; going deep in reaching out to the world through sports camps, helping lead SOS and going to Costa Rica among other things; and reaching in through pursuing personal healing; learning to help heal others; and learning to share life as Jesus' community.
J15 is a good dream. These are things on Jesus’ heart and Jesus’ desire is to capture the hearts of this age group, who most sociologists would say are leaving the church in droves. J15 is inline with Jesus commission to us to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples….. Again in short J15 is a good dream. I prayed frequently for the dream with Mark. I wanted to see this dream happen this summer.
We had set a minimum goal of six interns for running J15 and dreamed and prayed for 12. By the start deadline we were at three. We thought about running a modified J15 with three, and set up a few markers that would be confirming signs to proceed, and then ultimately had to say not this year. This was and is a disappointment to us.
Still here is some of the good I see from this experience:
- It confirmed a burning desire to make disciples who make disciples….
- We learned quite a few valuable lessons about timing and setting up structures for discipleship training that is as intensive as J15 is.
- We learned about our true need to team in endeavors like J15.
- Maybe just a restatement of 1, but it bears repeating the commission to make disciples is not going away and we will follow this commission as Jesus leads
- Deepened a passion for having structures (wineskins) for people who are in the “gap years.”
So we're disappointed, but we are learning. One of the really good things we are learning is that failure isn’t fatal - and I know that this is a cliché , but it is true - failure is an opportunity to fall forward. And best of all we are experiencing in the midst of disappointment that Jesus is good, and Jesus is for us and Jesus is with us. In short there is no one like Jesus and nothing like life with him.
2 COMMENTS | POST A COMMENT
John and Mark,
I am really proud of you both for your Leap of Faith dreams. They were and still continue to be great dreams and, I believe, squarely in-line with God's heart. Thank you for the reflection on the things you have learned through this and your continual trust in God's goodness and provision even through news that has been disappointing to hear. Grateful for both of you and your leadership.