"No answer"

I had a great comment after talking about “what prayers God answers” yesterday. “Sometimes no answer, is the answer-NO”. (Thanks Keith) It made me think about all the “no answer prayers” I have prayed as we started actionchurch… and how much I have learned from them.

When we first started promoting the idea of actionchurch I prayed for money to come in so we could buy equipment and rent a building. I “knew” what sound and lighting equipment costs…I “knew” we were going to need a lot of it…So I prayed for lots of money. No answer. Even though I have a background in “leading worship” (whatever that actually means) I knew that even I would be bored if I both sang and preached on Sunday mornings…so I prayed for a “worship band”. No answer. I kept praying. No answer.

One Saturday I walked out of my “hair cuttery” that just happened to be next door to Fat Daddy’s night club at the time and saw my “answer”. I saw a place that we could rent on Sunday mornings and not have to purchase sound and lighting equipment. I was excited! I felt that I had very clearly had my prayers “answered”. In spite of the weird looks I got from everyone I told about my “Fat Daddy’s answer”…I immediately began to try to contact the club owners to let them know about my “great idea”. No answer. I prayed that they would be receptive to the idea. No answer. I finally managed to personally talk to one of the owners. No answer. I was so sure the Fat Daddy’s Nightclub was the “answer” for actionchurch that I persistently kept trying to rent it most of the summer of ’07. No answer. Our first “Test Drive” service was four months away and we still had no venue, no band, no money, and no equipment.

I began to pray differently. I “confessed” that I had been wrong about the whole Fat Daddy’s thing… (I might have had a couple of “cussing prayers” during this period:-) I prayed that God would forgive me and show me the “right place” and send the “right band” for actionchurch. No answer. I decided to try “just one more time”. I don’t believe in coincidence so I believe God allowed me to talk to the one person with the interest and the “juice” to make the Fat Daddy’s deal happen- the owner’s Mother. With her introduction and “blessing” we were able to reach an agreement to rent the club… It turned out to be absolutely the “right answer” for actionchurch.

I continued to pray for the “one band” to show up to play actionchurch on Sunday mornings. No Answer. That “No answer” has allowed us to be blessed by a great “house band” (ac all-stars) and so many other talented bands that play our Sunday services.

The list of “no answer” prayers in the past few years is long. As we began to outgrow Fat Daddy’s I prayed that God would help us as we made the transition to multiple services on Sunday morning. No answer. Instead he sent Club 19 “to our rescue”… I’m praying right now that God will show us how to provide more seats for the people that continue to invite their friends on Sunday morning. (and more space for their kidz also!) I haven’t received an answer yet. That’s fine with me.

I’ve come to believe that life and leadership are far less about “figuring out” the right thing to do. Far less about coming to God with a “well thought out” answer to our “problems”, and asking him to bless it…but much more about bringing our problems and opportunities to God and waiting for him to guide us. The thing that I pray for most now is courage and perseverance to act on his “answers”. Especially “no answers”.

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