The Venture Capital of Love By Pastor Doug
Dear St. Paul's Family,
Spiritual Entrepreneurship in an Age of Covid
John 21:17 A third time Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter became sad because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" and so he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!" Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep." In John 21 we discover a window into the challenges, hopes, possibilities, and adventures of following Jesus.
John21:3 Simon Peter said to the others, "I am going fishing." "We will come with you," they told him. So they went out in a boat, but all that night they did not catch a thing. 4 As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water's edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then he asked them, "Young men, haven't you caught anything?" "Not a thing," they answered.
The story begins with the disciples deciding to take a trip back home to Galilee. They go out to fish - after all, somehow they've got to put food on the table. They were still trying to piece together how to do this overwhelming mission Jesus this overwhelming mission Jesus had given to them on Easter night. They were trying to wrap their heads around it all. How nice it was to return to something they knew how to do... even if it was fruitless. They were surviving. They were doing something they felt safe doing. They were settling for their old competency.
Possibilities for Unusual Fullness
John 216 He said to them, "Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some." So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish. They went from empty to full nets when they followed the guidance of the call of Jesus to "try the other side." Jesus had insight and power to fill their nets. Jesus has a way of filling the empty things in our lives... when we listen.
Hope through Provision
John 2:19 When they stepped ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus had already started breakfast. He didn't have to have any help in being able to meet their needs. He "had their back" on the whole fish thing already. Jesus can take care of us. He has all our backs. He longs for us to trust him with our needs, especially those that overwhelm us.
The only thing hindering the provision, possibilities, and fullness of Jesus is our answer to his question: "Do you love me?" When we say yes - we become the spiritual entrepreneurs of our neighborhoods. Spiritual Entrepreneurship in an Age of Covid
Invitation to join the Adventure
John 2110 Then Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." Note! Jesus invites them to add the fruits of their labor to His provision! Jesus multiplies the fish on the fire that he had provided with the fish the disciples had caught. The breakfast mush roomed from a simple breakfast into a Banquet! Jesus plus disciples results in so much more than survival - it results in generous helpings of Abundance.
Jesus was not just trying to break the hunger and frustration of a morning fishing expedition. He was opening the eyes of the disciples' faith to embrace the adventure of the Great Commission. Through the Holy Spirit, they could change the world just as Jesus had begun to do when he first called them. Jesus sees ALL of us as remarkable Spiritual Entrepreneurs who can be used to multiply what God has already begun to do. Jesus began making disciples ... and now the disciples will become partners in the venture. Jesus deploys us to expand the mission that he began. He calls to the adventure of the entrepreneurial spirituality of us disciples making disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples. As you no doubt know-entrepreneurial "startups" require investment, "venture capital."
What is the Venture Capital of Spiritual Entrepreneurs? Look at John 21:17 at the head of this article. The Venture Capital of Jesus is Love. He loves us and when we love Him he is ready to use us as the shepherds of his sheep, the world waiting on the good news of Jesus. Jesus has invested his love in us - and now asks us to invest our love in Him and His mission: "take care of my sheep." The only "resource" or "venture capital required for the Great Commission of Jesus is Love. As we dance in Love with Jesus we will feed the physical and spiritual hungers of our neighborhoods, our city, our world. The only thing hindering the provision, possibilities, and fullness of Jesus is our answer to his question: "Do you love me?" When we say yes - we become the spiritual entrepreneurs of our neighborhoods. Spiritual Entrepreneurship in an Age of Covid
What if 2021 was the year of St. Paul's launching out in God's Adventure in nothing less than the surprising, entrepreneurial ways of Jesus. What would that look like?
First, take time to read Part 1 of the article "Marks of Spiritual Entrepreneurship" in this epistle, a description of the practice of "spiritual entrepreneurship" by a Christian ministry practitioner, Carey Nieuwhof.
Second, I would suggest Jesus has given our congregation a glimpse of what spiritual entrepreneurship can look like at St. Paul's. A year ago our Leadership Gathering identified as Mission." This Engage Mission was to be more than "projects". It was to be the initiation of a "highway into the community." We began to develop a vision for a ministry that would be profoundly intentional in connecting with our neighborhood, "Dinner Church."
Of course, then came Covid. Nevertheless, we initiated and trained a team of about 12 persons who felt called to launch this kind of mission. When it was obvious that a traditional dinner could not be practiced at this time, we felt led to think entrepreneurially. What can we do? We decided that we could connect to our neighborhood in the interim through a Dinner Church drive-thru.
This resulted in our "Feed 100" mission of last month. In just 3 weeks our congregation collected hundreds of food items to distribute. In addition, more than $2,000 was collected for the purpose of this mission. We had more than enough for not only our December mission, but for an ongoing mission into our own neighborhood of 9500 Constitution. Jesus "has our back" on engaging our neighborhood.
When we serve out of Love, amazing things begin to happen!