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VISION CASTING FOR SOUL CAFE

05.14.2016

As a church in community one of our bedrock task is to vision the future toward which God is leading. It would be foolish to think we can know everything the future holds. It is equally foolish, however, to resist God's guidance into the future that He sees for us.

God's invitation to His children to follow His lead will be common to all churches everywhere. But God's leadership to Soul Café, and to every individual church, will be particular and specific to its context. God's future for Soul Café is shaped by the people who are most immediately around us. Churches everywhere, by God's leadership, will become expressions of His grace and healing in particular. A church becomes the body of Christ where it is planted and will be different than any other church in the world.

Soul Café, therefore, shares a great deal with churches all over the world. Like them, we are called to the worship of God and through that worship become followers of Jesus. We share with all churches the mandate to make "learners" and "servers" of all people. Like all churches we are called to give ourselves away, deny ourselves, to serve the people all around us.

However, that general call to all churches gets specifically shaped by the community in which a church exists. Building large, expensive buildings may be exactly what a wealthy, suburban church must do to carry out its duty to God. But we are not that church. God has put us in this community for as important a task as the towering downtown church in Houston or
Dallas. And while sharing the common mandates of being a church of Jesus, how that gets worked out will be as particular and specific as when Jesus was born in a particular town at a specific time. The universal church always becomes the particular church for no less a reason than particularity is a part of the very nature of God.

So how will God shape the future of Soul Café? He will shape Soul Café through our faithfulness to keeping our eyes open to the needs of our part of the globe. We are wonderfully rural. We are set amidst small towns and even smaller villages. We live among hard working and hospitable and open people. But often people who are also separated from one another by proximity and hard work. We live among people who desire community in ways city people will never understand. We are a small church acting like we large. We live among lots of children. We are multicultural. We can't divide up. There is only one of us.

All of those factors and more will shape our future, and will shape who we become.

If I had to dream alone I would dream of a ministry among the youth and children of this area that would teach them life skills with a spiritual base. An after school program that provides safe and nurturing space for children to interact with one another and in learning to serve the community.

I would dream of a space for worship for the increasing number of people who are telling us that they want to be a part of Soul Café. That space would not look so much like a church as would look more like a working farm. A place that would feel more like a family meal that a theatrical performance. I think God is concerned about place. He promised Abraham a "place."  Jesus said he was going to prepare a "place" for us. And He is concerned about our place.

It is not difficult for me to think that it is time to think about place for Soul Café. In our immediate future we may need to start a "place fund."  As a matter of faith we could begin to prepare for the future of which we at least have a glimpse.

Our vision in the future is not to set a building as our goal. Nor is it to set a goal of the number of people we want attending. Our job is the people. Our job is to grow and raise people and grow numbers and raise buildings. But right now our meeting place is like a shoe telling the foot how big it should be. 

My vision is long term. I am thinking of children who will one day be shaping their part of the world. And when they walk into circumstances that call for the most important decisions in their lives, I want them to remember that as a child some people at Soul Café in the little back country hamlet of Ledbetter, Texas, told them about the love of God, and about Jesus who gave His life for them and called them to follow in His steps.

God is calling us to a fabulous future that we see faintly through a fogged up window. But one day, face to face.   

It is a fair question and a knowable question to ask: “What kind of future does God want for us?”

Community Connected and Guided by God

Followers of Jesus as a conscious commitment

We are the body of Christ

By God's leadership and spiritual insight, we prepare to minister the needs of the whole person

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