Mission St.Paul Phase 2: Entering the Land

On June 14th-16th, 2011, five members of the Mission St. Paul Listening Leaders Team gathered together to pray and seek the heart of the Lord for the next phase of Mission St. Paul, Entering the Land. During those three days together the Lord spoke to us prophetically and practically about our next steps together in this kingdom initiative. Several scripture passages resonated deeply in our discernment process. One of those scriptures is Ezekiel 37:1-14, the picture of the valley of dry bones. One particular highlight in this passage is how the Lord led Ezekiel to walk back and forth among the dry bones. As he wandered around he was able to discover the scope and condition of those bones, which was essential knowledge to have before those bones were re-formed and revived. The connectivity and vitality in those bones came out of the prophetic word spoken by Ezekiel when he was among those bones. Do we know the scope and condition of the bones in our city?

Another scripture which spoke to us deeply was the picture of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah. There are numerous close parallels to our own kingdom initiative here in our city. Nehemiah surveys the land, gathers resources, empowers leaders, and organizes cooperative work. The Lord prophetically highlighted to us the importance of having a common vision, knowing our own assignment as it relates to that vision, and recognizing clearly who is partnered with us on either side of the wall we are building. Do we know our place on the wall and who is working alongside of us?

Numbers 2 gives us another picture of alignment. Here the various tribes of Israel are instructed to line up all facing the Ark of the Covenant within the Tent of Meeting. In this picture we are reminded of the radical orientation of the people of God towards the presence of God as the key to entering the land. This picture undergirded their continual dependence on God and positioned them to receive His direction. Are we positioned to receive His direction?

The final scripture to note here is Joshua 8:30-35, when the people of God are on the threshold of entering the major portion of the Promised Land, but must first pass through the narrow entrance to that land between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerazim. There in that place they renew their covenant with the Lord and with one another. At that time there was another deepening consecration and definite commitment to move forward in the presence and purposes of God. How is God inviting us into a place of deeper consecration and commitment?

In light of these scriptures and ongoing prophetic instruction we have received from the Lord we offer the following as next steps in the Mission St. Paul kingdom initiative.

  • Consecrational Commitment

We recognize that as we continue to step out more deeply into this initiative it will require a deeper level of consecration in our lives and commitment to His agenda rather than our own. Towards that end each of our listening leaders has committed to intentionally and consistently seek the Lord, setting aside one day of the week for prayer and fasting on behalf of Mission St. Paul. We are each taking a different day of the week in order to cover the entire week in prayer. We would invite others to join us in this focused prayer. Additionally we are gathering together monthly as a listening leader team simply to seek the face of God for our city and Mission St. Paul. This is in addition to our monthly strategic planning meeting.

  • Community Connection

In Phase 2 of Mission St. Paul we are beginning to focus on the 7 Wards, whereas in Phase 1 our focus was on the 17 neighborhoods in the city. In each of these wards our desire is to connect the kingdom force of pastors and ministry leaders with each other. By doing so we intend to create a network for strategic planning and partnerships. Second, our desire is to discover and dialogue with key leaders in seven primary influence areas within the wards: government, marketplace, education, family and cultural kinship, arts and entertainment, media, and church and para-church ministries.

To accomplish these two objectives we have set the following two strategies. We are already seeking connections with more pastors and ministry leaders in the Wards and intend to launch other weekly prayer gatherings. 

In order to connect with other leaders within the seven areas of influence we intend to gather monthly through the 7 Wards of St. Paul, starting in October 2011 with Ward 1-Precinct 1. These monthly Mission St. Paul prayer gatherings will continue on the 1st Tuesday of each month. During the month prior to the prayer gathering we will seek to have teams who will walk around these wards to connect with schools, businesses, community groups, etc. in order to survey the “bones and walls” of the city and discern and discover these communities’ needs and opportunities at a very grass roots level.

  • Church Cooperation and Collaboration

We see a significant need to intentionally and deliberately sow the vision and mission of Mission St. Paul more deeply and broadly into our churches and ministries. Some of the ways we would envision doing this is through:

  • Catalytic Events
  • Website 
  • Collaborative Projects: Who is working alongside of me on my section of the wall? What can we do together?
  • Collaborative Community Projects: Are there ongoing projects in the city that we might connect into? (e.g. Promise Neighborhood)

This provides an initial framework for this next Phase of Mission St. Paul and our specific focus these several years. As we continue to pursue His heart, more depth and breadth to this vision will undoubtedly be revealed. This is an intentional organic process which will continue to grow and develop over time. God is faithful and He will do it.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return Sto it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.” Isaiah 55:8-13