Making the Transition

Gleaning from a conversation with Jim Ford

Why are you here? Why are you hanging around the people, the church, the groups that you hang around. Because you have a heart for them, and more than that, because you have a heart to see that group grow into so much more than they are now.

So many people in the body of Christ are in a season of holy dissatisfaction right now. More is being required of us as individuals; we can’t get away with as much as we used to: God is pointing things out and calling us to address them.

We’re in the laundry. Jesus is coming back for a bride without spot or wrinkle. He’s removing our spots, our stains. (If you think the laundry is difficult, wait until we get to the ironing board where He takes out the wrinkles!)

Right now, we’re making decisions about where we need to go, whom we need to be among, what we need to do, and we’re doing them – for the most part – independently, arbitrarily. We’re feeling this sense of “There has to be more” and we’re making decisions to pursue that “more” but we’ve overlooked something. We’ve overlooked the fact that we are part of a community.

God is in the process of upshifting. It’s a season of transition, and people all over the world have been feeling it for the past eleven or twelve months. Our being in the laundry is part of the transition. Our holy dissatisfaction is part of the transition. The longing for “more” is part of the transition. And the growing sense of community is part of the transition.

Look around you right now. Who are you in relation with? Who is your “tribe,” your people? Who do you hang out with? If you want to go to the next level with God, do you want to do it with these folks? Are these people that are going where you want to go?

If God wants you as an individual to move to the next level, then the people that we are among must move to the next level. The group, the fellowship, the “tribe” that you’re part of will need to evolve into something new, something more.

If you’re willing to move to that level, if you’re willing to move there with the people around you, it will cost your life. You must be committed, become family, with the people that are moving. Your church, your tribe, must become more than “This is where I attend.” It must become your identity, your family. Their leader must be your leader. Or you cannot make the transition.

There’s an old saying: “Bloom where you’re planted.” You can’t bloom someplace that you have not been planted. You can’t be planted here and bloom over there.

God has most of us at a place where He’s saying, “So what are you going to do?” Are you going to get out of the boat? Are you going to stop playing at what you’re supposed to be. There are things that God has called you to, things that you’re feeling this growing sense of “I need to do this!” about.

But if you don’t respond, you get frustrated, angry with God. And we miss the opportunity to see God do what we’ve always wanted, but what we’ve been afraid He might actually do! It’s like a roller coaster: you know where it’s going to go, you can see the tracks, and you’ve watched it go there time after time, but you’re still not completely prepared for the wild ride that follows the slow pull up the first hill.

Now is not the time to bury things. It’s time to get it up and spread it out, to tell it to the people around you, to listen to one another, to talk to one another, to pray for one another. We will not make this transition with a pretend “happy face” on for everyone to see. This is a transition for people who are genuine with each other.

Why are you here? You’re here because you have a heart for these people. You’re here because you’re ready to face the challenge that you know has been coming.

Jim Ford, in Olympia, WA on the evening of the transition from Summer to Fall