I had the huge privilege of being back in Portland this last weekend.
Now, I don't know if I take good weather, or if good weather follows me, but Portland was exquisite. The warm summer weather, seemed to make the city come alive. The Sunday afternoon was abuzz with people. In downtown, every cafe, restaurant and eatery was filled with very happy people spilling onto the sidewalk. Alex, Kate and I ate a most outstanding pasta restaurant, who make the pasta onsite. Simply delicious.
But my true privilege was staying with John Mark and Tammy Comer, their 3 amazing children and ministering in this impressive "A Jesus Church - Bridgetown".
I am always nervous to flatter - as that corrupts. However, we do need to celebrate what and where the favor of God rests. At any moment of our 2000 year journey, God uses both the old war horses but is also readying the next generation of leaders in the wings. Some will try to grab the headlines early - and there is always a price tag for that (remember the prodigal son's initial mistake was simply wanting to take his inheritance early...) Others will endeavor to step out of the lonely, places and spaces before the Father has fully readied them ( like Elijah we have to be OK with the loneliness that is God authored. Ravens will feed us and the brook will nourish us as God forges us in the isolated places - we can't bypass that moment in our story.)
However, we will err greatly if we are not watching to see who God is nourishing at the brook... what their message is, as it will most definitely challenge us... how God is teaching them and developing their journey.
There are about 20 or so essential emerging ministries in the nation right now. They are humble, and highly intentional grace gifts. They are staying out of the limelight and will not be seduced into celebrity status. They are deep thinkers with a passionate love for the text. They are hungry for more of the Holy Spirit and are forging some strategic architectural pieces for an unfolding ecclesiology.
They will catalyze the church in this nation over the next 25 years. We ignore them at our loss. We criticize them at our foolishness. We embrace them as the future demands it.