This Sunday we shared with our community at Grace Chapel that God is calling us to follow Him to Ypsilanti, MI. It’s been a two year process of God pushing, pulling, and prodding. We have had to look, listen, live, and learn.
Ever since we joined the staff of CRU I have been dreaming about a movement in a college town that mobilized the whole community. Now, God has opened the way for us to engage in this dream.
What would it look like for representatives of Jesus to live together in community and invite people far from God to join them?
Hopefully, The Antioch Movement.
In Acts 11 we meet the church at Antioch. It goes like this,
Those who had been scattered by the persecution triggered by Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but they were still only speaking and dealing with their fellow Jews. Then some of the men from Cyprus and Cyrene who had come to Antioch started talking to Greeks, giving them the Message of the Master Jesus. God was pleased with what they were doing and put his stamp of approval on it—quite a number of the Greeks believed and turned to the Master.
22-24 When the church in Jerusalem got wind of this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on things. As soon as he arrived, he saw that God was behind and in it all. He threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.
I love that in Antioch we have the gospel being proclaimed to the Gentiles as well as Jews. It was intentionally inter-cultural.
But that’s not the end of the Antioch story (Acts 13)…
1-2 The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-preachers and teachers:
Barnabas, Simon, nicknamed Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen, an advisor to the ruler Herod, Saul. One day as they were worshiping God—they were also fasting as they waited for guidance—the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do.”
3 So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off.
The original Antioch movement sent laborers. They did so freely. They did so because they had heard the Spirit call them. The Antioch Movement in Ypsilanti will send laborers too.
What it look like for a movement to multiply every two to three years?
Hopefully, it will look like The Antioch Movement.
I think that Amy and I are hearing the Spirit calling us. We are going to go. We are going to dive into the life and community of Ypsilanti. Soon enough we will be trusting God to sell our home and provide a new one.
But, before we do, there is much work to be done at Grace Chapel. It’s going to be amazing and fun to push hard these next few months to continue to pour out our lives at Grace. To continue to dive even deeper and trust God for even greater things there. God is not done with us at Grace and while we are excited for the next horizon, we don’t want to miss the beauty that is present in the sunset.