Here’s a recap of our weekend in Philly.
» Road Trip
Road trips are so much fun when you’re doing it with a bunch of friends. So Derek, Joe, Lisa, Shainu, Hannah, and I hopped in a van together and drove to Philly and back. I could do that trip a hundred times if we could all go together.
On Saturday morning, Shainu & I were assessed by three Acts 29 pastors from Philadelphia. In order to get into the church planting network, there’s this big mother of an application phase. Towards the tail end is a 2-3 hour interview where A29 pastors talk with you about theology, life, spiritual vitality, church planting, marriage, and more. Our prayer going in was that we would be freed to answer openly and honestly. So you know when you go for a job interview, you answer what you think your interviewers want to hear. We didn’t want to do that. What would be the point of “faking” our way in? I think we both came out feeling like we didn’t put on a show. We didn’t try to impress. We were upfront about our strengths and our weaknesses. And the whole thing was great. We were sooo encouraged by the whole thing. It didn’t feel like we were being grilled, but like a good conversation where we were being sharpened and challenged. We both felt like we gained some great wisdom, really good advice, and a ton of encouragement from these church planters that have gone before us.
Saturday afternoon, our crew met together. The focus of our time was to catch up with each other on life and to pray. It was so cool to hear how the different folks were making great strides at being missional. Some were wrestling with what it looked like to befriend someone from a completely different worldview. Some confessed honestly about the impossibility (apart from grace!) of folks so lost coming to faith in Jesus. Some were freed from thinking that they always had to find a way to sneak in a conversation about Jesus, but could love people without ulterior motives. Some were freed to see that they could evangelize people apart from necessarily getting them to come to church. It was just really cool.
Afterwards we prayed. We prayed for Philadelphia, for its people, for its government and institutions. We prayed that God would show grace to our friends and cause them to believe. We prayed for unity. We prayed the words of Psalm 139 asking God to search us and to root sinfulness out of us. We asked God to provide leaders, non-Indians, other pastor-elders, musicians, money, a space to worship. We asked God to give us God’s heart for the lost. We thanked God for the Gospel of His Son and prayed that all of our work would be for the glory of Christ. We prayed. May 7 Mile Road be born from the cradle of prayer.
» 10 miles
On Sunday, 6 of us ran the Broad Street Run. We weren’t alone. 22,000 people ran from North Philadelphia, through Center City, past City Hall, and to the Navy Yard. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was so cool. Funny…Lisa was standing on the side with onlookers towards the finish line shouting, “Go 7 Mile Road!” A woman turned to her and said, “No mam, actually the race was 10 miles long.”