Lewis and Clark
When I (Matt) go into Starbucks, I know exactly what I want to order before I even step foot in the door. I get the same thing every time (Grande Starbucks Double Shot with vanilla and soy) because it just works and tastes amazing. Exploring, experimenting, and discovery do not always come easy to me. Especially as it relates to the things I know well. Be it coffee, type of pet, menu items at Chipotle, or product for my hair.
For those of us that grew up in the church (and seek to follow in the ways of Jesus), we are especially susceptible to suffer from “explorer deprivation,” especially as it relates to living out our faith. Maybe it’s because we’ve already found something that works (even if it doesn’t work the best), or maybe it’s because we could be perceived as beginners if we try something new, or maybe the fear of a negative outcome prevents us from experimenting?
Before we made the move to the NW, I asked a wise friend if he had any encouragement for Amy and I as we begin to build a NieuCommunities site in Seattle. He thoughtfully responded, “don’t be over-concerned with the outcome. Instead, head into this like Lewis and Clark. Experiment, explore, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.” There was a collision of acceptance and rejection as I processed his advice. Amy and I have come off five years of living in intentional community and mentoring leaders towards their Kingdom contribution. We have experienced success. “Don’t be as concerned about the outcome? That sounds too risky.” In an innocent sort of way, I was saying that I was not a beginner. As innocent as it was, it is precisely this type of mindset that kills the explorer mentality.
The good news is that God is patient with us. After moving into the neighborhood, Amy and I began prayer walking in an attempt to hear what He might be saying about the place we inhabit called Columbia City. Over and over, with a gentle constancy, the Holy Spirit began to impress upon my heart the words of my wise friend. “Explore, experiment, discover, try new things, and don’t be as concerned about the outcome. There was a sense that failure was okay and that a “Lewis and Clark” mentality was a key ingredient to cultivate followers of Jesus.
So, for the past few weeks we have been experimenting with simple things such as our answer to the question, “why did you move to Columbia City”? or introducing myself to people I wouldn’t normally, and more complicated things like asking people if I can pray for them, praying for revelation for strangers, and the way in which we extend Kingdom invitations. I wish I could say that we have nailed it every time. We have not. But what I can say is that even in our failure, it feels right to step out and take on the posture of a beginner in an area we know seemingly well. Maybe it’s because obedience is more important than results? Maybe its because dependence on the Holy Spirit is much more life giving than outcomes? Maybe it’s because this is part of what it means to follow in the ways of Jesus? What an unconventional Rabbi we follow! He became one of us, entered into our world. And then He did crazy things like spit on the ground to make mud, rubbing it into a man’s eyes. He taught his disciples to experiment with His authority.
What does it mean for YOU to embrace a Lewis and Clark mentality in your neighborhood or in your workplace? Maybe it means being friends with someone who doesn’t believe the same things as you. Maybe it means praying over the sick and asking the Lord for healing. Maybe it means quitting your job and following your dreams?
Will you fail? Maybe. Like Lewis and Clark, will you make great discoveries? Absolutely. Will you be changed? Will you encounter God? Is it worth it?
Make a move and discover…
Ask God the following questions and then write the answers in the form of an encouragement letter to whomever God directs.
- Who do you want me to encourage today? Why?
- What do you see when you look at them? Why?
- How do you feel about them? Why?
- What’s one reason why you are pleased with them?
- What word of promise or Scripture verse could I share?
- Why do you want them to know this?