We need to be the church to have a church
That is an awful word—gestation. It sounds like the word digestion, but as if something went terribly wrong with it to the point where it has become... gestation. If you think about it, digestion isn’t a great word either. Rarely, do we ever suggest to someone, “I have had really good digestion recently.” No, you only bring it up when something has gone wrong and you are on your way to something worse, like “gestation."
But that isn’t what gestation means. It is actually an amazing word. Merriam-Webster simply defines it as:
gestational: \je-ˈstā-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective; the carrying of young in the uterus from conception to delivery
A lot happens between conception and delivery. Most of the person a child becomes is launched into his or her fundamental formation during this time. Geniuses, savants and athletic freaks begin forming even when they are unseen by the outside world during their gestation.
Our church plant is now in gestation. This is my “Official Week One The Job.” In about eight months, this baby is coming out for a grand opening on Super Bowl Sunday. But what happens now in the coming months and in the summer and fall of 2017 will shape who this church will be forever. So that means we will need to:
“Be the church in order to have a church!”
So what does that mean? We will invest ourselves in what is fundamental to a church:
Mission—We will reach out, we will serve, we will invite in, we will help out wherever possible Following Jesus together—we will learn again Jesus’s vision to be the church Building relationships—with one another and the community
So this means that we will throw parties, and there will be no line between insiders and outsiders. We will find ways to get out there and show that we are “For West Chester” (“4WC” seems like a nice sticky symbol to me). As we meet people, we need to help them learn how to follow Jesus. That means small groups, etc.
In contrast to digestion, everybody likes what happens in the final result of gestation. Life, hope, potential, transformation, family. These are good things.