When I was just nine years old, I made the declaration to my family that I was not "risky people". I have considered myself a seeker of safety for all of my life. Growing up in a trauma filled environment tends to make anyone crave safety above all else. I have always been fascinated by dare devils and risk takers. You know the type, or maybe you are the type. Not afraid of much, willing to do crazy things, not considering the consequences. That's not me. I'm careful, cautious. Except when I'm not.
I was recently writing in my journal about this very thing. I was reminding Jesus that I don't consider myself a risk taker, that it's too stressful to be bold and daring. He interrupted my scribbling with these words...
"You keep calling yourself a seeker of safety, when all you've done and are doing declare you to be a risk taker."
I thought about it, then laughed at myself. When did I become "risky people?" When did I leave the blanket of safety, and become the adventurer? It wasn't in a specific moment of time, or an event. It was gradual. It was little steps that looked extremely risky at the time, that I later looked back on and shrugged and said, "That wasn't so bad." All the while, I was taking these steps, being risky, not knowing that's what I was doing. How though? How did I do it when all I've craved forever is safety?
Jesus has become so vividly real to me, that when He's asked me to take risks, I haven't felt like I was really taking a risk...because I just saw Him, heard Him, was drawn to Him. When I saw Him pointing to something He thought I could do, I just said, "Okay..but will you go with me?" He always said "Yes" and so I never looked back. So, here I am, declaring myself "risky people" as I set off on this journey to an unknown land.
Our family heads out in eight days on an unexpected adventure. It's more than that, though. We aren't just going to this fun new place, exploring a new landscape. We're choosing to enter into a battle, to wage war with Jesus, and other risk takers, for a land that He has always known, always loved, always yearned to call His own. We had to say yes when we didn't know where we would live, and even where our finances would all come from. We said yes when we just didn't know.
The risk is always in the unknown, isn't it?
The funny thing is, when we are holding onto Jesus' hand, the unknown doesn't have to be a risky place, because it's not unknown to Him. It's only risky business walking into the unknown if we are doing it alone. When we lay our lives down before Jesus, we become followers. We might become leaders too, but we are always following. And if we are following Jesus, then we can go anywhere He whispers, because we go together, with Him. I'm risky people, my husband is risky people, and our two girls are risky people. Our secret isn't our stamina, or courage. Our secret is Jesus. He called, we answered, and we follow.
What about you, friend? What risky unknown could Jesus be opening up to you? If you say yes, He'll go with you. I'll leave you with my one of my favorite Narnia moments. It's when the beaver is explaining who Aslan is the the four children. Susan, in her non-risky, cautious way, asks, "Is Aslan safe?" The beaver laughs and responds, "Safe?! Of course, He's not safe! But He's good."
He's good, friend. He won't lead you where He isn't willing to go with you.
The best visual I have ever come up with for how this life with Jesus works is the picture of a tapestry, and the weaver. Tapestries are made of thousands of threads, yet when you step back to look at the tapestry, you don't see all those threads. You only see the picture. It isn't until you come in close that you realize just how many threads are required to make that picture what it is. Our lives are much like those tapestries; full of threads, woven together by the master weaver. Alone, those threads don't make sense or seem important, but when they are woven into the picture that the weaver envisions, they become necessary and beautiful.
Coming into the summer of 2019 our family was confident we knew exactly what picture Jesus was weaving with our lives. We thought we knew what was ahead. We loved our life, our church family, our job and our city. What could be better?
As it turns out, our good Papa had other plans. He awakened a desire in us to be lead pastors, specifically co-pastors. If you are unfamiliar with that phrase, it simply means we feel the call from God to move into a place where we can share the office of pastor. That decision changed everything.
As the summer unfolded, we began to sense our Papa was asking us to step out in faith; not to wait until we knew what was next, but to step out before we knew what was next. With a knot in our gut we took that step, based on the one truth we knew with confidence: God is faithful.
Things rapidly began unfolding. Within a week of our announcement that we were stepping away from our position as executive pastors, a friend put us in contact with a pastor in Utah. It just so happens that he is a pastor who champions women in ministry and couples who want to co-pastor. He invited us, without even really knowing us, to come out to his church in Ogden, Utah for a week of encouragement and refreshing. In our minds, this was just a moment of refreshing God had planned for us. We didn't see it as anything beyond that. Little did we know when we stepped foot in the state of Utah, a thread was beginning to weave its way into the picture our good Papa has been painting of our lives.
We had no idea how beautiful the state of Utah is! Snow capped peaks, lakes, rivers...it's a stunning state! We were captivated by what we saw, but it was more than that. We were immediately embraced by Pastor Rob, his wife Andrea, and the the rest of the staff at Crossroads. It felt like we had stepped into a family we had always been a part of. Over the course of the week, we were able to listen, ask questions about their team style approach to ministry and learn what it is like to minister to people in Utah. It's very different than ministry anywhere else in America. There are 2.9 million people in the state of Utah, and only 2% walk in relationship with Jesus. We were blown away by those numbers, and the more we learned about the statistics of depression, suicide, and the cultural pressure to perform, the more our hearts were burdened for the people of Utah. Before we left, the offer was made that if God was calling us to Utah, there was an open door to plant a church.
One thing we said at the beginning of this journey was that we did not want to plant a church. We were adamant! We don't ascribe to the thought that God loves to "make us" do things we don't want to do, but we do know that He sees what we don't and He is always offering more than we can see with our human eyes. We can always choose what doors we walk through.
We wrestled with this idea. It wasn't the only option on the table. There was a door open that came with stability, security, not as much change...and there was this door to Utah that led to the unknown. Which would we choose?
After all the wrestling, praying and waiting on the Lord, we knew. God's heart for the people of Utah was burdened, and that burden had found it's way into our souls. Everything God has done in our lives the past ten years has been leading us to this moment. The only answer we could offer was a broken "yes".
So, the Keys are off on a new, wild, unpredictable adventure! We know it will be hard, but we also know without a doubt that Jesus has called us to this, and He is worth every sacrifice.
Now for the facts...
* Crossroads Church is partially funding us, which leaves us needing to fund $25,000 for our yearly budget.
* We will spend the first six to eight months acclimating ourselves to our new church family as well as the culture of Utah. During that time we will determine the location in the region where we feel God is calling us to plant our church.
* We will be going through the Foursquare network's intensive geared toward church planting, to help equip us for the road ahead.
If you would like to partner with us, here are the ways to do so:
To give directly without tax credit:
Click here to give one-time or on a recurring basis through our online giving page.
For giving with a tax credit:
One time gifts or recurring monthly gifts can be given through Crossroads by clicking here, entering payment details, selecting Other under Giving Type, and entering Keys Family in the Memo section.
And most importantly, here are the ways we would ask you to pray for our family:
* That we would know the right place to plant.
* For our girls (Lindsey & Lacey) as they make this life-changing transition.
* For connections with those in the community.
* For protection over our family as we engage in spiritual warfare.
We will be sharing here on this blog as the journey unfolds! There is SO much Jesus is saying and doing. We can't wait to share it all! For now, we will leave you with the two verses Jesus gave us as prophetic promises for our journey to Utah:
The Lord said to Abram, "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family and go to the land that I will show." Genesis 12:1
"Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land." Psalm 37:34
Blessed be the Name of the Lord...