Transformational Transitions Part 6: Show Up

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By Pastor Dan Christian

Trust is not really trust unless it produces action. If my kids are in the swimming pool and they tell me the water’s warm, I can say I believe them, but until I jump off the edge and into that water, I don’t truly trust them. Trust is demonstrated by the act of jumping in. In the same way, if God says to give generously and trust Him to provide for my needs (2 Corinthians 9:6-11), then I can say that I trust His provision when really I’m just trusting the cushion I have in my budget. But when there is no cushion and still I give generously, that act of giving proves the reality of my trust.

In any season of transition, as God brings us into places that are new, our trust in Him is put to the test. Will we step out in obedience to the new things He is calling us to be or do, or will we resist His call, trying to stay with what is known or comfortable? In those times of testing, our trust in Him is not demonstrated merely by what we think or say, but by the action that is produced by that trust.

But actions that demonstrate trust in God are not limited to big, risky “leaps of faith.” More often than not, our trust in God is demonstrated in the small and mundane steps of obedience in everyday life. In some cases, trust may be shown by simply showing up.

In God’s instructions to His people in captivity, He promised that change would come—He would bring them back to their own land—but not until 70 years had passed. For them to truly trust in God’s promise of “a future and a hope,” they needed to take seemingly mundane steps of obedience: build houses, live in them, plant gardens, eat the produce, get married, have babies, and so on (see Jeremiah 29:4-11). There was something they needed to do to demonstrate their trust in God, but the “something” was not very big and exciting—instead, it was rather ordinary. They were being called to show up and live life, while they waited for God to carry out His promise.

So also, for us as a church, God is bringing us into a new season with a new senior pastor. There likely will be changes ahead, and a few of them may require us to take steps of trust that are bigger and more risky or exciting. But for most of us, the steps of trust we will need to take in this season will seem pretty mundane. In fact, we might not even think of them as steps of trust, because they may be things we are already doing and God’s call is simply to keep showing up and doing the same things.

Consistently coming to worship service, singing with all your heart, giving your tithe, sharing in Communion together, praying for a brother or sister, receiving prayer, showing up at Branch, serving at the Food Bank—these are the ordinary elements of our church life, yet these may be the very arenas where God is asking us to demonstrate our trust with action by simply remaining faithful.

Does it require trust to keep showing up to Sunday service or Thursday Branch? Certainly! None of us, including Pastor Rocky, know how things will unfold over the next few months and years as we begin this new chapter in the life of our church. Each of us may have particular ideas of what we hope will remain the same, and we may have ideas of changes that we hope will eventually happen. But none of us know what this new season will end up looking like. With that uncertainty, it could be tempting to wait until the dust of transition settles before investing deeply in various areas. So for you to keep showing up and faithfully participating in the same aspects of church life as before, that takes tremendous trust.

·         You have to trust that God is still at work, even in the midst of an unsettled season of change.

·         You have to trust that God is not finished with producing good fruit in our church, but He wants to see even greater fruitfulness.

·         You have to trust that you still have a vital part to play in the Body, and you still need all the other members of the Body.

In the final analysis, you have to trust that by continuing to show up, you are actually contributing to the stability of our church—a stability that will be vitally needed in order to successfully navigate whatever changes God brings.

Dan Christian