We believe God has given us, as His image bearers, a uniquely crafted wiring to be in community both with Himself and others. Genesis reminds us that "we have been created in the image of God, and according to His likeness." Scripture references this time and time again. So, what is God like? Psalms 145:9 says "The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all His works." He is good too all, and he is tender, and he is merciful.
Jesus said to those who had been with him throughout his ministry, "They will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." In other words, the way we love determines who we are. (our identity)
We believe that Awakening is a way of loving that centers those who have received (or are receiving) the least (amount of goodness and tender mercies) and elevates them to receive the most from us.
Awakening is a lifestyle that looks a lot like sanctification. It takes time, patience, surrender and kindness towards ourselves and others. It is a commitment to curiosity, believing the best and consistently elevating humanity over traditions, laws and political affiliations.
Our team has spent countless hours developing what we believe is a roadmap to understanding this beautiful journey we call: Awakening. Check out the journey map below.
PHASE 1: ACKNOWLEDGE TENSION
1 John 1:7 teaches us that if we "walk in the light as he is in the light, we will have fellowship with one another, and Christ will cleanse us from all our sins." (paraphrased) We believe denying the racial and cultural separation that has historically taken place and still is continually happening within the body of Christ shields us from having true fellowship with one another and keeps us in discourse and confusion. Acknowledging tension means to shine the light of truth onto the darkness of denial and to soften our hearts to seek a deeper understanding of one another.
PHASE 2: COURAGEOUSLY SURRENDER
Now that we have acknowledged the tension, it’s time to enter into the wilderness of surrender. This is being willing to accept that God is always more than we can comprehend, and He has more to show us about Himself from those who exist outside of our cultural, racial, denominational and political context. Courageous Surrender puts what we believe about people to be true on the altar to be tested, tried, and purified, so that our belief about others can be made holy by God. This is a righteous questioning of what has been and what could be different. Separating what was created from the brokenness of humanity and not the pureness of Christ.
PHASE 3: COMMIT TO CURIOSITY (conviction-based)
Matthew 7:7 gives us insight into the posture of learning we were literally designed for. "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." Curiosity doesn't threaten our view of God, it's the method we've been given for it to be shaped, expanded and grown. If he's given us this model to know him, why would we not utilize this same model of curiosity in order to know and learn others?
PHASE 4: SIT IN BROKENNESS
Sometimes, when we "ask, seek, knock" with others, we discover truths we never knew existed. Some of these truths can be painful to learn, and if we "asked, sought and knocked" in the right way, we probably grew to really love and care for those we were learning. This can cause some hard truths to hit us even harder. When this happens, we want to go back to step one and acknowledge rather than deny the pain. We may want to start taking immediate action to rectify something we feel needs correcting. It's best to first be still in the crushing, trusting that God is redeeming us and humanity. This is where we begin to carry the burdens of one another. Anger, sadness, confusion, hesitation, questioning, self-punishment, guilt and fear can be felt in this phase. And it is right there, in the crushing, that empathy is born.
PHASE 5: ENGAGE DEEPER
Now we are ready for the challenge to dig deeper into ourselves and commit to a life of continually learning from others about who they are and how they experience the world so that we might love one another more fully. In Philippians 2, Paul tells us how to do this. "Don't be selfish...be humble, thinking of others better than yourself. Don't look out for your own interest, but take an interest in others, too." When we engage learning in order to love others more deeply, we must consider that teachers, realities, and perspectives exist outside of our own cultural, denominational and political contexts. God literally designed his love to become more complete as we engage, honor and value one another. Engaging deeper looks like actively seeking to value what others value within the body of Christ.
PHASE 6: LIVE SPACIOUSLY
The Apostle Paul said to those in Ephesus, "For through Him we both have access to the Father through one spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household." Now we are exploring and recognizing the needs, perspectives, brilliance, leadership and fullness of those we once saw as foreigners. We are living spaciously by creating room in our lives for the vastness of God, the differences of others, and the wholeness of ourselves. We are operating with enough wholeness in our hearts to welcome the beautiful messiness that a life of togetherness can cultivate.
PHASE 7: INVITE OTHERS
Through embracing the beauty a life of togetherness brings, we have tasted and seen a goodness worth sharing with others. We invite those we love to join us on our journey because we now hold a new hope that it is possible for our world to experience a collective restoration, in this day, through committing to a life of Awakening.