A few weeks before we had our first service at Dream, God gave me the phrase, " Uncharted Territory." As we've talked about before, anytime you have an encounter with God, the purpose of it is for you to rewire your life accordingly. I hate admitting it but, because we were so busy launching a church, I didn't honor that word in my life like I should have.
The first few months of our church, we saw God do some amazing things. He healed physical bodies, relationships, saved multiple souls, and provided for us like we would have never dreamed. Through all of this, something in my spirit felt a hair "off". I would get in the "secret place" over and over and sweep every corner of my life until there was hardly anything left to sweep, yet something still just wasn't right. Then, a few weeks ago, God respoke this phrase "Uncharted Territory" into my spirit. When He did, I was determined to not let that word slip through my life without shifting everything in my world to honor that word.
The definition of uncharted territory is: not shown or located on a map; unexplored; unknown, as a place or region. It's a place that is so unknown that there isn't even a map to it. Once I knew what this phrase meant, the Holy Spirit spoke and said, "I'm leading you into a place, in the kingdom, where no one has ever gone before, but it's going to take you traveling a road no one has ever travelled before."
It's like the parable of the wine and wineskins. God won't pour something new into something old because the new would destroy the old. I realized we had been trying to fit the new God was doing in our church, into the old way of doing church. The sermon was the focal point, worship supported the sermon, we did an invitation, then everyone went home. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad way of doing church. I'm saying it's the "old" way of doing church and in order for Dream to experience something uncharted, we were going to have to throw out the old wineskin and get one that was brand-spankin' new.
What was the "new" we were called to pick up? I didn't know to be honest with you. In prayer, God brought back to my memory the fact that I've been raised up, my entire life, as a worship leader. I always thought it was odd that God raised me up as a worship leader and then told me to put it down. But I was willing to do so for Him. He also brought back to my memory all the stories of the Old Testament where in Israel's most pivotal battles, the key theme is worship leaders going first. In fact in some battles, the only thing they took into battle was an instrument.
The more I prayed, the more God revealed to me the true calling of Dream Church. We are to be a church that makes worship (and therefore God) the focal point and have everything else revolve around what the Father was doing in us, by way of us going after Him like never before. Proverbs 9:10 talks about the beginning of wisdom being fear (or worship) of the Lord. Any sermon God gives me, or anyone else preaching, will simply flow from God straight to the spirit, when we've aligned our hearts in worship.
We immediately shifted the focus to worship, after God gave me this word, and if you've been in our services the past couple of weeks, you've probably sensed a different "heaviness" in the room. It's the kingdom of God resting in the place that identifies itself as a true "house of worship". My call as the pastor of this house is to lead you to Jesus, which means we're changing what the role of "pastor" looks like at our church as well. It's definitely preaching, but also making sure I'm leading the charge, along with our other worship generals, in getting us to the right place in worship every weekend.
Remember that "thing" that felt off in my spirit? I haven't felt it at all since God spoke that word again into my soul, and we responded in honor. I'm currently dreaming of all the ways we can impact the culture for generations, in ways that no church has ever thought of before. It's given me an imagination for the things of God, which sounds a lot like "your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
With this shift, we've already been writing original songs that are going to start coming from this house, we're going to do a night of worship toward the end of March and record a live acoustic album around a campfire, and Easter is going to be a worship heavy service because I believe God can minister to people way better than I can.
I know you're just as excited as we are about what God is doing in our church. I will ask you to think on this in this next season: what in your life can you reimagine to honor the word "uncharted territory"? Maybe it's in giving, maybe it's in evangelizing, maybe it's in starting the business you've always wanted to start, etc. etc. God has called this church to be a place of visions and dreams. Go after it!