When I was young I wanted to be big. I would walk around and say to adults, "how's the air up there?" It wasn't that I was short, I simply wanted to be taller, I wanted to know what the world looked like from a higher perspective.
As a child my parents took me to Washington DC. I loved seeing the different monuments that had been erected in honor of presidents, soldiers, and statesmen. Everything was big, but nothing was as cool to me as the Washington monument. The monument is one of those places you can go inside and peer out and see what everything looks like from above. It was amazing and I could see a lot farther than I thought possible. Everything looks freakishly small when you are up that high, but you also get a good sense of geography (where the other monuments are) and scale (the size of that giant swimming pool).
I've been honored to serve on the board at Element Christian Church since it's founding, and more recently as the chairman. I get a different perspective on how Element is being used by God and how Element uses the resources He has given. Sometimes board chairman is like being a janitor cleaning up messes, but more often I usually get to see some of the stuff that will come your way before others (like a backstage pass to your favorite band). Seeing things like the architect’s plans for a new building, our upcoming Stewardship Journey: Planting Roots, is all very exciting!
At the end of 2013 we purchased the vacant lot next our current facility and our entire board, including me, went through a roller coaster of emotions. The internal questions ranged from, "How awesome would it be to have our own building!" to "Wait, it costs how much to get water connected?" to "Are we sure about this?" to "God can't really be asking me to put my finances on the line" and finally "yes, God, I'll follow you." I believe it was clear that God has called us to Santa Maria to be hope in our current community. When we purchased the land it was with total faith, and hearts surrendered to Jesus, because we wanted to continue to serve Him and this valley; eventually planting more churches in the surrounding towns (and world).
There is something else I learned on top of the monument when I was a kid: you can't live up there. I remember asking if I could, but my parents told me it wasn't a reality. You can't interact from up there because people are on the ground. It is nice to get an overview, but on the ground is where we can actually be useful. As I said, sometimes I get to see some of the stuff early, the aerial view, but I'm so much more excited to be on the ground with all of Element. I love that we are called to be on mission where we are, to see the revelation that Jesus is showing all of us, and be led to give as He has called.
Element is starting a new journey, it is sort of the nature of how Element works. When we go where God leads, it usually changes everything up. Today that means moving forward with a building, but why? You can tell by our current accommodations that the nursery has been expanded and moved five times, there are doors where there were not doors before (or no doors where there were doors). The truth is we outgrew this building a long time ago, but we refused to let that stop us.
As chairman, I've been able to prepare for the Planting Roots journey a bit longer than most. I've done research, interviewed consultants, been in the meetings, and prayed for guidance, but one thing I am certain of though, God can and will use the journey to change our hearts; I know this because I have experienced it.
Where Element ultimately ends up will only be by following Jesus, and that will happen with prayer, generosity, and sacrifice. I've been praying for months that you and I would get a glimpse of the perspective of God, a heavenly view, but then, like Him, we would come to live life on the ground, serving, giving, and loving. I encourage you to let go of anything that might keep you from hearing God during this journey and to commit to joining us over the next few weeks of Planting Roots. The question we all want to ask during this journey is, “Lord, what is it you would do through me?”
We have a lot of material coming your way and we don’t want you get overwhelmed. If you have questions, concerns, comments please don't hesitate to ask, we want to be as open and encouraging as possible. If you are confused, excited or just unsure what to do with all of your emotions, please don’t hesitate to share those questions and feelings with your leaders.
This is a journey we are all called to travel. There's something better than building and living in monuments, it is living as God's church together. Let's start Planting Roots.