Last August we wrote about the vision of our Shonandai Christ Church to move to a new community, one without a church, and reach out to the people there. At the beginning of last month it looked like we had someone ready to buy our property, and a piece of property which is in a great location to move to. Unfortunately, the prospective buyer was hospitalized and negotiations on our land put on hold.
We are not discouraged, though! Our church people continue to meet about once a month to talk about the vision and pray about it. Last week we had one of those meetings. Pauline led, and encouraged our people to pray in two specific ways:
One is to pray at specific times. She initially proposed only one time each day as a time when everyone in the church would remember to pray for our vision, but it quickly became obvious that this would not work. Everyone has their own daily schedule, and some do better praying in the morning, while others prefer another time. What we came up with was to encourage people to pray once a day, ideally at 7 a.m., noon, or 11 p.m. We encouraged people not to be legalistic about this, but to use the time of day as a reminder to pray.
The other way Pauline urged us to make our prayers more specific was to come up with a focus list. Everyone worked on this together, and we came up with the following:
1) Pray for a buyer to make a good offer on the land. One person made this more specific by saying we could pray that the buyer will use the land in a way that honors God!
2) Pray for a piece of property we can buy in our target community, one we can afford with the income from the sale of the current property. That includes either building a new building or renovating an existing one.
3) Pray that the new location will be in a good environment, including a southern exposure for the main rooms (important in a land with no central heating!), highly visible to the community, and with good neighbors who will be understanding of our presence as a church.
4) Pray that we will be able to develop ministries of compassion and outreach for the new community, and that our current church life and outreach will flow into this.
5) Pray that we will be able to make a move into a new facility by the end of the next church/fiscal year here, which is March 2011.
6) Pray for Mr. Ito, our real estate agent, not only that he will be able to make the sale and purchase happen, but that the whole process will be a witness to him of God’s work.
Our people are excited to be able to pray! We believe that God is calling us to pray consistently by using set times, and to pray specifically for what we desire for this vision, knowing that we will ultimately submit to what God decides for us.
If you feel led, please join us in praying! We’ll of course be letting you know how God answers.