Expectations and a2 Church

The dream for a2 Church actually began in the mid-1980’s when I sat in the basement of a duplex in Dayton, Tennessee and wept as I heard Bill Hybels describe the potential of a church becoming an “Acts 2 biblically functioning community”.

My parents would applaud that dream!  In fact, my dad and mom would pursue that dream.  Dad left a business he had built from the ground up to plant a church in Watts Bar, Tennessee.  (By the way, that church is still thriving 34+ years later!)  Aside from them, nobody else applauded or approved of that dream, so it got shoved beneath the service.

Fast forward to 2001.  I was pastoring a church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida called Maranatha Church (now Cross Community Church) when I read a book by Andy Stanley that significantly challenged me when it comes to pursuing a God-given dream.  It’s the best book on vision I’ve read.  It’s called Visioneering.

In that book, Andy asked a question that nailed me.  It’s a question about expectations and expectancy. “Other than [getting you to] heaven, and possibly your health, what are you consciously depending on God to do?”  In other words, “What are you expecting?” 

“Other than [getting you to] heaven, and possibly your health, what are you consciously depending on God to do?”

That question challenged me so much that on page 72 of that book, I wrote a prayer / declaration / vision for Maranatha Church, that eventually became the blueprint for the vision of a2 Church. I've been praying a version of this prayer since 2001. 

A Declaration and Prayer for a2 Church

Heavenly Father: Would you transform a2 Church into a thriving and growing, “Acts 2, biblically functioning community” where…

 • worship is passionate,

• relationships are authentic, growing and life-giving,

• outreach is taking place on a daily basis as people share their faith with friends, family members, neighbors and work associates,

• eternal truth is communicated in fresh, relevant ways through all of the arts, and our church becomes a leader in fanning into flame the creative gifts of all artists,

• people experience life-changing personal transformation as they begin to apply God’s Word to their life and the power of the Holy Spirit continues to change them from the inside out.

• You develop a “state of the art” campus that is functional and includes a worship space, life center, adequate classrooms and meeting spaces, a counseling and freedom center, and adequate office space. 

Oh, God – bless a2 Church!

A few years later I added the following… (I think this part may have been inspired by something I read from Rick Warren... Not sure? Several years have passed.)

Father, I prayer that you would help a2 Church to…

CREATE an atmosphere where broken people find healing, weary people find rest, the discouraged find hope, the outcast finds acceptance and everyone experiences transformation.

SHARE the life-giving message of the gospel of Jesus with the thousands of un-churched and spiritually disconnected people in the greater Birmingham area. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

GROW believers spiritually through passionate worship, authentic prayer, application-oriented Bible teaching; life-giving relationships; and, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit; creating a contagious culture where people grow and become more and more like Jesus. (Colossians 4:12)

EQUIP and empower believers to make a difference by serving people in our city and around the world. (1 Corinthians 12)

LOVE, laugh, learn and do life together in unity. (Acts 2:1-4)

INSPIRE worship and communicate truth through the creative and compelling use of the arts.

PARTNER with parents in leading every child and student into a growing, personal and dynamic relationship with Jesus by creating relevant environments and experiences that meet children and students right where they are… (Deuteronomy 6)

BUILD a “cutting edge” ministry to students and young adults that will help them “connect” or “reconnect” to Jesus and His church.

BE a thoroughly missional church committed to acting as missionaries in our city and world, supporting career missionaries, sending out hundreds of participants on short-term missions trips/projects and launching at least one new church plant every year… (Matthew 28:19-20)

DEVELOP a ministry center and church campus in a beautiful setting, with state of the art, yet functional facilities, including a worship space, counseling, freedom and prayer center, adequate classrooms and meeting spaces, office space, food court and fellowship area, and, recreational facilities. This ministry center would be designed to minister to the whole person — spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.

Oh, God – bless a2 Church… Increase our influence and do something so big that it has to be God! 

Do something so big that it completely blows us away!  Do something so big that only You get the credit and we are made completely aware that you were in the arrangements! 

Father, we trust You to do in and through a2 Church what only You can do! Do something so BIG among us that we stand back and say, “Only God! Only God! Only God!”

Amen!

I’ve been praying this prayer and making these declarations for approximately 15-16 years!

God has done so many good things – great things, even – but when it comes to my expectations for what God wants to do in and through a2, there’s a huge gap between my level of expectation and reality. Sometimes I’m tempted to settle or lower the level of my expectations.  Not anymore! 

As long as there is one person who doesn’t know Jesus, our mission is still on “Go!”  I’m convinced that God has destined a2 Church to make a difference in this city!  He has destined us to make some noise at the gates of hell!  To decimate the population of hell and dramatically impact the population of heaven!

God has destined a2 Church to decimate the population of hell and dramatically impact the population of heaven!

“Other than [getting you to] heaven, and possibly your health, what are you consciously depending on God to do?”

The answer to that question is the prayer I'll continue to pray and the declaration I'll continue to make until we see "His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven." 

Will you pray and declare this with me?