One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is found in Luke 5:1-11. The disciples had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Then Jesus came along and said, "Put out into the deep water, and then let down your nets for a catch." After a night of failure, they did what Jesus told them, and they had so much success, they could hardly pull the catch into the boat! The disciples were amazed at the catch of fish they had taken.
I suppose I love that passage because I, too, have been surprised by God, and on more than one occasion. There have been many times across these few years when the body of faith known as Imagine Church has felt God's call to put out into the deep water and cast our nets. As we have done so, we have been surprised and amazed at the results.
In recent months, we have noticed a fascinating pattern. Each time we have moved outdoors for worship on our new church site, our attendance seems to take a quantum leap. Lots of those present are brand new to the Imagine movement. The number of young people participating in our Imagine Nation Youth seems to have doubled in 2021. More and more of our households with Imagine Kids are returning to in-person worship as the pandemic winds down. There is a wave of new first-time guests joining us for worship each Sunday.
I'm convinced that the reason Imagine Church is experiencing such a bountiful "catch" is because you and I, individually, have chosen to move out into the deep waters of spiritual faith. Churches grow and prosper as a result of God making a difference in the lives of so many individuals. We're beginning to comprehend so much more of the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ which clearly surpasses our knowledge. We're learning just how effusive, how extravagant God wants to be with His grace here among us.
Christ is the only one who has the power to influence and inspire an entire community of people as we are witnessing these days. Our job is to trust that God has chosen to infuse that power within us in order that, as His people, we can replicate the DNA of the kingdom of God. We are on the threshold of a major new chapter in the history and development of Imagine Church as we move through the year 2021. We have chosen to venture out into the deep waters of Christ's mission. In doing so, we have learned that salvation is not our personal possession, but our gift to share.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas