jan came to the first tapestry worship gathering back in september of 2007. i ignored her for the first two weeks. in my stupidity i had determined that she was a part of our sponsor church, fellowship church in waupaca. in a show of support fellowship met with us for the first two weeks we had gatherings. i was very grateful for them but i was also determined to focus my attention on those that i thought might actually get involved in tapestry. when i saw her the third week i finally realized i should spend some time with her. yep i am a fine example of a church planter.
she has been a part of tapestry for 1 1/2 years now and her questioning, honest heart has been one of GOD’s greatest gifts to tapestry and to me. she’ll probably disagree with that statement but she would be wrong (and she can just deal with it). as the pastor of tapestry i depend upon jan, who has not been a part of an organized church for years, to keep me focused on the gospel without religious language. i depend upon her to make the statements and raise the questions that many others are thinking. i trust her to ask me to explain something when i have said it in a rather archaic manner. i also depend upon her to express frustration with what i have said or even GOD’s word. she also does this things with a sincere, seeking, honest soul that has shaped how those of us who are tapestry live out our faith in CHRIST.
i’ll give two examples:
- once while tapestry was dealing with mercy during my sermon jan asked for a definition of the word. once several of us had defined the word she said “well there is a friend of mine who has hurt me and i am trying to determined based on what you have said how i should be merciful in this situation. i’m desperate. i’ll throw it open to a vote here concerning how i should act because i just don’t know.” it was one of the most authenticate moments i have ever experienced in any church gathering.
- next during one of our worship gatherings i was reading ephesians 5:22-24 concerning wives submitting to husbands when jan suddenly spoke out loud for everyone to “well i really don’t like that.” every now and then i hear people talk about “struggling with scripture.” jan’s statement set us up for an evening of truly struggling with scripture.
the two example above may seem insignificant to jan but they are two of the most amazing moments i have ever experienced in an organized worship gathering.
anyhow i try to meet regularly with jan. first, i do this because i love being around her (my whole family does). secondly, i do it to learn from her insight – she’s a very wise person and has done a ton of things (she was an actual shepherd at one point in her life). finally, i meet with her to hear how her journey to faith is going. at my first meeting with jan she said she was not a believer in JESUS but was interested and that was why she started coming to tapestry. along the way she started saying she wasn’t sure she believed but she was at the point that she waned to believe. i’m convinced JESUS gets very excited when people are at that point. last week we grab coffee and jan said she now professes to be a believer/follower of JESUS. she is still not sure of everything (who is?) but she knows that JESUS is life, loves her, and desperately wants her. she was willing to leap into the abyss knowing that GOD would catch her (a kirekegaard reference). apparently it is already showing that she believes in JESUS because the guy who is working on her yard today told her that she has “a “nice CHRISTians face.”
luke 15:7 says:
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
the partying going on in front of the FATHER right now is because of my friend, and sister, jan! i’m sure there is lots of dancing and jan likes dancing.