I love Eugene Peterson’s Message paraphrase of the Bible. The passage that jumped out and grabbed me the first time I read it was in John 1:14 where Peterson writes concerning the incarnation:
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
When I was planting a church in Ithaca I went out to a movie with a friend. Afterwards he told me that while he and his wife would not be attending our church anymore, he’d still like to hang out. But what immediately went through my mind was, “If you’re not going to coming to church, then I simply don’t have time for a relationship.”
And from that point on, I didn’t make time for that relationship. If a relationship did not further what we were doing, it was easy for me to move. I regret that. A lot.
While that was not a mindset I had going into church planting with, it was part of the church growth package I was trained in. It was dressed up in kingdom language, but it didn’t have God’s heart in it.
What I love about this passage here in the Message…what I love about the process of embedding is:
Relationships are not a means to an end…relationships are the end.
Rather than looking at each person you meet as a potential recruit, embedding is really about listening to people…finding ways to be a blessing to them…simply moving into the neighbourhood, with no agendas.
Speaking of embedding…here is video number two…
…and if you missed it, here is video number 1