“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” With these words, (Genesis 12), God challenged Abram to trust him and step out in faith. God told Abram that he would bless him, that he would make Abram’s name great, that a land would be his and that all the nations on earth would be blessed through him. God made huge promises and then left the decision to move forward in Abram’s hands. What did Abram do? V. 4 tells us, “So Abram left….” Hearing the call from God, Abram stepped out, risked, and moved.
As I read this passage, I thought about a friend of mine who is facing an “Abram” moment. I first met Watson after a workshop I did on church planting. He asked if we could get together and when we did, he shared his dream of starting a new church in Philadelphia. Since Watson had lived his entire life in the city of Chicago, I asked, “Why Philadelphia?” His response, “I feel that God has called me to Philadelphia to reach people there. I don’t know why, I just know that’s where I’m supposed to be.” This meeting took place last year and since that time, God has confirmed this direction in multiple ways.
Meeting today, he told me some of the concerns that people close to him have been sharing recently. (The move to Philly is rapidly approaching.) He told me these people are questioning the timing of his move. He said, “God has opened so many doors, but my friends are talking about the timing. I don’t know there is such a thing as the ‘perfect time’?” I assured him that when God calls he wants us to step. We talked about what many planters feel when the time comes to take that first big step — the uncertainty, the questioning, the fear. We looked at different faith passages in the Bible and encouraged each other.
I told him how much I respected his faith (and the faith of his wife, who has been encouraging through this entire journey). I told him what a good example he is for me and that God is going to work through him to reach many people for Jesus. How refreshing to see someone live out what Abram did in Genesis 12: moving away from his support network, launching out in faith, trusting God to take care of him.
I look forward to watching God work through Watson to reach the unreached in Philadelphia. I will be praying for him, I’ll be ready to help in whatever way he needs. He is stepping out to follow God.