Steve and Sandra Long have been pastors at Catch the Fire Toronto (formerly Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) ...
To quote Hannibal, the leader of the TV show 'The A Team', "I love when a plan comes together!" For the past few years the leadership team of Catch The Fire Toronto has sought to hear from the Lord as to the theme that He has for our church for the next year.
Last year, our theme was 'Love our City'. So in 2011, we focused on getting involved with our city by working for its success and praying (Jeremiah 29:7). We did this by volunteering in projects already set up in Toronto, serving together in large groups at big events and also focusing on building lasting relationships with the people that we're working with and seeing day to day. The stories of change through people getting involved in their local community are amazing! We will be continuing to uphold the Love our City project in 2012.
Our pastoral team met in late October last year for a day away. We started with worship and then after reading how the church in Jerusalem came to hear from God (Acts 15), we began to listen to each other's thoughts and ideas. Our pastors each took time to share a theme or a scripture passage that they felt God was speaking to them about. After each had shared we had a list of about 30 possible topics.
After lunch we divided the team into three groups to narrow the list down. They each took 10 of the topics and tried to summarize them into one phrase. After this we then brought the groups together and now we had three statements. The fun part then came as we talked through the three ideas, seeing how similar they were. Eventually, one of our pastors said "I got it!"
" How about...'Expanding Your Kingdom by Pursuing Your Presence'?" As soon he said this this, we knew we had heard from the Lord. To confirm that this was the right thing with God, our team took a half hour to go for a walk, soak or pray. When we came back, we agreed that this was to be the theme for our church for 2012.
So what does it mean when we say 'Expanding Your Kingdom by Pursuing Your Presence'? We feel that the primary emphasis is on pursuing God's presence, because when we do that, God's kingdom will be expanded.
Do we have a plan for how we want to pursue His presence? Yes we do. We will be asking our church to begin to do several things in 2012.
First, we want to encourage each person to personally begin to pursue God by joining the 10 Minute Worship Revolution. The 10 Minute Worship Revolution is based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, where the writer urges us to pray without ceasing. In order to do so, people choose to actively rejoice, pray and thank the Lord every 10 minutes. This is the will of the Father!
Practically, many people are purchasing a phone app that alerts them to worship and pray every 10 minutes, or a buzzer/pager that does the same. We have heard lots of amazing stories from people around the world who are personally pushing into God by joining the 10 Minute Worship Revolution.
Second, we are asking people to join a group meeting in order to pursue God's presence collectively. Practically this means that we would like folks to attend one or two of our House of Prayer sessions each month. They can do that by attending in person or by watching the live stream, which will begin later in 2012.
Third, we will be encouraging people grow in their relationship with God and their expectancy by reading a selection of inspiring books, listen to amazing soaking music, and other such activities, and most of all to carve out regular time each week to seek God.
We know that if the members of our church seek the Lord as individuals, we as a church will see His Kingdom expanded!
Take a look at this interview with Carol Arnott on her experience worshipping every 10 minutes by joining the 10 Minute Worship Revolution.