We started off our year with a clear vision that it was to be one of discipleship. A year committed to walking with God. But what it really taught us was that it is God who walks with us. He showed us individually and collectively as a church that He walks with us as we travel through our valleys and on our hilltops. He has reminded us that it is Him with us that ultimately defines His goodness.
Our year began with a seeming valley. Being unexpectedly asked to leave our new building without a definite date as to when we could return, we wondered why this all had to happen right in the midst of the holiday season. We wandered around trying to find spaces to meet in. Our church, who thought that we had finally received the promise of being called to be in the heart of DTLA, began to resonate with the Israelites in their own journey to the promiseland. But just as He did with them, God walked with us. We found a rental space – one even more hip than our current building – whose owners worked hard to accommodate us in the difficult time and who even graciously considered our financial circumstances. We interceded for God to miraculously allow us back into our building within the month of January. We hoped and we prayed that the city inspectors would grant us our occupancy again. And the God who showed us again and again that it was Him orchestrating all things for our good, allowed us to come back to Hill, on the last day of our annual church-wide fast, where we were able to break fast together in joy and thankfulness. We were blown away by God’s faithfulness. God walked with us.
Just in time, back in our new building we kicked off discipleship as a church through another year of Experiencing God. 10 weeks of intentional commitment in allowing God to speak into every area of our lives – from our spirituality to our careers and relationship. It birthed new leaders in our church. People began to realize the power of God working in their lives as He called them to serve and love those around them. Naturally we also saw the formation of new ministries. From security ministry, to a Global Missions Core Team, to a full-fledged Tap Tots ministry, our baby church plant was starting to mature and grow more than it ever had been in the years before. God was so good – reminding us that He was bringing such specific people with specific hearts to this church. All for the ultimate purpose of His glory to be known in Downtown LA and to the ends of the earth. God was walking with Tapestry.
As we as a church truly experienced God, we saw at the end of the ten weeks that what He really wanted for us was to take us in even deeper and more intimate discipleship with Him. He didn’t want a church that seemed to thrive on the outside, but wanted one that was fully thriving and healthy on the inside. Our church entered into a season of having a more emotionally healthy spirituality. During this season, we experienced healing in so many areas of our lives and in our church. But we also had to come face to face with areas that were still in the process of healing. We found that our church was filled with so many people wrestling with loneliness, depression, and hopelessness. But we were reminded in it all that God is close to the brokenhearted. We saw the induction of the Gospel Care ministry, one we realized we were in such clear need of. God showed us His heart for holistic restoration and He reminded us that it is in the church and in the truth of the gospel that the church carries that we find this restoration. God walked with us to reveal this heart.
God also showed us that He uses the community we find in the church to experience healing. This year we experienced God in how He brings his people together in fellowship. We saw him establish new connections and deepen existing friendships through things like our church-wide retreat: SALT, the Love Bowl, our summer beach day, and most importantly our cell ministry. Our cell ministry grew in record numbers. But it wasn’t just in numbers that we were growing but also in vision. We saw that cell was going to continue being the most integral place for us to do life together as a church. It was in these places of fellowship that we learned that the church was not a perfect place, but truly the dearest place. Church was where God’s presence was found and that we were able to tangibly see that He walks with us as we also walk with one another.
As He walks with us in our valleys and in our hilltops, we also look to the left and right of us to see that we have brothers and sisters who walk with us as well. From sharing in the joys like new job opportunities, new marriages, and new life (we had lots and lots of babies this year), but also sharing in the pains like the loss of life or the loss of livelihood, we learned this year that God walks with us through the fellowship of believers we find in the church.
God reminds us that He sees us and He knows and that most importantly, He loves us in our discipleship with Him. He reminds us that it is in us experiencing His love that we too are to love others in our actions and deeds. He reminded us to see the other this year. From our church sending teams out to share the love of God with others in Tanzania, South America, Asia, and throughout the U.S. to us seeing others right here in our own neighborhood through partners like Eisner and our collaboration in putting on Winterfest – we felt God implanting His heart for others into our hearts. We saw Him remind us that both individually and as a church, there is nothing better in our discipleship with Him but to walk humbly with Him as we do justice and love kindness. We were able to give out of the abundance of His love for us.
God truly has walked with us this year. He has seen us through the valleys and the hilltops. He has filled us with a song to sing of His goodness and His love. He has set so many of us free to be His songbirds. He has healed, He has made whole, and He has remained with us in our brokenness.
Church, do you see how God has so graciously walked with us this past year? Brother and sister, do you see how God has so graciously walked with you in your own life this past year? Let us thank our God for how He has walked with us and how He promises to continue walking with us as we enter into 2019.