Writer Hunter Thompson describes his favorite motorcycle ride: It’s a ride that takes place in the middle of the night, on a deserted, winding beach road. It’s a road where you find what Thompson calls ‘the edge’ – at the edge you find a delicate balance of leaning where you get the maximum speed while you stay just this side of losing it altogether.
In Thompson’s words, “It has to be done right – and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that – exhilaration vibrates along your arm. You watch the white line and try to lean with it – howling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the long hill to Pacifica. The Edge – there is no honest way to explain it. But the Edge is out there.”
Whether you’ve ever been on a motorcycle or not, everybody reading this knows about being on the edge in some facet or season of life. Being a Christ follower does not make us exempt. In fact, the opposite is true, because every one of us is involved in pushing the edge of Christianity into the future. Riding the edge is about trusting God even when we are leaning as far as possible into an uncertain future without crashing at the next turn of events. It takes a unique courage to leave the relative comfort and cherished visions of yesterday and pursue an uncertain call. But, that is exactly what we as a church are doing. We believe God is calling us to grow His church deeper and wider than any of us may ever have imagined.
God has been faithful in countless ways and people have been helped, inspired, loved, welcomed, encouraged, convicted, and transformed at Northstar since we opened the doors. We continue to help people find their way back to God with great passion and a sense of urgency because so much is at stake. And, while the last 13 years have been a wild ride, I believe it is nothing compared to what God has planned for us. The edge is out there.
Why? Because our future is coming and coming fast. I recently came across a quote from writer William Gibson that said, “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” And, the only way to distribute a Godly future is a willingness to always get “out of the boat” – no matter how insane or illogical the circumstances around us seem, and always follow God’s leading and step out in faith.
Every church dreams of galvanizing an entire city, country and world for God. That is exactly what we are going to do. And, it starts with the Easy Bay Campus. One of my goals has always been to see more of our members and regular attenders engage with ministry outside of our walls. I believe this is not only God’s call to us as individuals, but it is also his vision for the whole church. We are to “go and make disciples” as it states in Matthew. Jesus himself recites a passage from Isaiah (61:1) as his mission saying, “he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted… set free the captives…proclaim good news to the poor.”
I am excited to see what God is going to do in the Springfield/Callaway/Parker/Tyndall communities. I don’t know how many people will attend the first East Bay service, and I am not concerned at this point. Jesus changed the world with 12 men so the size of the congregation isn’t important. We’re simply looking for those who are all-in, sold-out to do whatever it takes to reach those far from the heart of God in those communities. For those of you who are already committed to Easy Bay, let me say thank you for being willing to do what it takes to reach this region with the message of Jesus Christ. That’s Edgework. That’s leaning as far into the future as possible, pushing to the edge and slightly beyond to see what God has in store for His people and His church.
No matter how many campuses God has planned for us, our main thing will remain the main thing. Everything we do is about Jesus, not our egos, preferences or traditions.
The reason I am writing this is to make the point that this not an ad hoc activity for this period of time being – this will be our pattern. It’s about being open to God. Being open means, above all, being open to the new possibilities, especially the potential or benefit that can’t be seen immediately.
I pray that each of you will have a role in the future. Whatever your role, I know that God will use you in miraculous ways. So, join us where the future arrives a little faster than anywhere else – out where the strange music starts – out where the exhilaration vibrates along your arm.
As Hunter Thompson says, “there is no honest way to explain it. But the edge is out there.”
It’s going to be a wild ride.