Etta sent me a blog post by a friend of hers where she quotes from Elisabeth Elliot's daily devotionals. If you don't know who Elisabeth Elliot is you can get to know her at her website. The quote is from John Coleridge Patteson, an Anglican Bishop and 19th century missionary to Melanesia, and is as follows:
"My objection to mission reports has always been that the readers want to hear of progress, and the writers are thus tempted to write of it; and may they not, without knowing it, be, at times, hasty that they may seem to be progressing? People expect too much. Because missionary work looks like failure, it does not follow that it is. Our Savior's work looked like a failure. He made no mistakes either in what He taught or in the way of teaching it, and He succeeded, though not to the eyes of men."
This so describes how I feel about Summerlake. We are missionaries to Summerwood. Our church is not a split or splinter but a from-scratch start. Thus, we have much different expectations and time-frames than your run-of-the-mill church split. I won't belabor the point because I feel I expressed it well enough in my last post. I will say, however, that regardless of whether no one funds us (though a few are), no church sponsors us (as it appears none will), and no convention supports us (wow, the red tape), we will continue to labor. Our success is not defined by land, people, or buildings but by faithfulness - faithfulness to the call of God. By that measure, we are already successful.
Let me say again: this is God's church and God's timing. Dear reader, it may look like we are doing nothing. Often, I would agree. But we are being obedient. We are not giving up just because the road is tough or the temptation to quit fighting is strong. Noah didn't quit building because of ridicule, Abraham didn't give up because of age, Jacob didn't give up because of trickery, Joseph didn't give up because of treachery, Paul didn't give up because of shipwreck, John didn't give up because of exile, and we will not give up because of qualms, hesitation, uncertainty, doubt, and misgivings - on our part or the part of anyone else. Others may not believe in our call, and sometimes we may not either, but we believe in the God that called us. We move forward "not by might, not by power, but by [God's] Spirit."
There is your mission report of progress.