The Gospel and 6 Acres of Bare Dirt

By Brad Penner

If you’ve noticed over the few years Canyon Prescott has been around; a theme is often repeated. 

Not much time passes without some reference to our initial study when the church started. We reviewed the mission of the Church; what are we to be all about. The short version: Make Jesus known to those who don’t know Him and, second, become more like Him. Matthew 28. Simple. These scriptures provide a God-ordained grid for a wide variety of decisions in both the church and our lives.

We know Biblically that the good is the enemy of the best. Knowing what is important by definition, tells us what isn’t. Faced with the less important, we are freed from the temptation to spend much time and energy on it, leaving more for what is important. Again, simple. This mission and this grid will be applied to all the varied decisions necessitated by the new campus, just like every other ministry decision we face. Specifically, with the new campus, it is good, but it is not the most important aspect of Canyon Bible Church of Prescott. We will work to keep it where it belongs in terms of importance.

As we step off into the new “adventure” of taking some raw dirt and making it into a tool for the Gospel, I thought it wise to refresh some of these old lessons and prepare us for some new impacts and so, to match each acre, we have six fundamentals to hold onto during the process:

  1. The Church is not a building and does not need to have a building, to be a church. If we never had our own roof over our heads, it would not change our mission. Jesus made the point that he never had a “place to lay his head” and that is sufficient teaching in itself to move any focus from real estate to real ministry. We don’t need a building to serve Him.
  1. We have purposed; that is, made the decision in advance, that the costs of the building, whatever they are, will not impinge on the ministry we have been given now to do. In other words, if a ministry need is to be filled, it will take precedence over the sticks and bricks. We will not sacrifice the greater obedience to the lesser convenience. Whatever debt we may have, it will not be allowed to overarch our mission.
  1. The process will take longer and cost more than we would prefer. Just saying…patience is a superb virtue for us all, and we will likely get a chance to test ours.
  1. Whatever the new campus ends up to be, it will not be perfect and will not likely have everything you and I might like it to have. It will, however, have the Word preached faithfully, all your brothers and sisters in Christ beside you and as a bonus, it will be cool in the summer, warm in the winter and will keep the rain and snow off your head. Those features you can count on.
  1. We will likely experience all the normal bureaucratic travails of any entity putting up a large commercial structure. It is a great time for us to pray for and honor those in authority over us. All of these permits and requirements and “hoops” are properly classified as “First World Problems” which means they are really not problems at all. They will likely allow us an opportunity to put into practice a recent sermon on Titus 3. (See verses 1-7 if you want to get a head start.)
  1. When we finish and move in, despite our best efforts, there will be some growing pains and some aspects that don’t work perfectly. See item 3 above regarding patience. It is all going to work out for the best. See Romans 8.

We, as finite creatures, live on a continent-sized tapestry of God’s sovereignty. We can see a couple threads of His work under our feet but don’t see the underside of the tapestry beneath our own feet, and we surely don’t see the extended weaving beyond the horizon. So it is with this dirt we have. God has woven a thousand acts to bring this about. Some we know and rejoice in and others we will learn of in heaven and rejoice there, but the whole nine yards is His work and not ours. 

If God grants completion of this process, every time you come there, remember it as a gift He gave for His kingdom, and a tool for His advancement and it all will eventually rot or burn. Until then, we can make it into an effective tool of ministry and enjoy it immensely. If you have a place to rest and refresh and pray and commune, remember Who it was who carved it out for you and grant Him the adulation he deserves for that gift.

Here is to the one who created the six acres from nothing and who holds all our tomorrows…