As we have been praying and preparing for the launch of River City Church this Sunday, Abi was given a picture by God of sea-faring ships being washed in land by an enormous tidal surge of God’s power. She felt that this was God’s people (in local churches) being placed into positions of significance in our nation. We believe that River City is part of that armada of ships, and that we are being positioned for significance in Hull and the nations of the world.
But what do you do with a ship once it has ‘landed’? There is no possibility of a return to the sea. Well, the famous Spanish explorer Cortez, legend tells, burnt his ships in order to prevent his men from retreating from their mission. However, the truth was that he ordered his men to dismantle their ships in order to establish homes for themselves in this new land. After dismantling their ships, each man, as he reports, “then had nothing to rely on, apart from his own hands, and the assurance that they would conquer and win the land, or die in the attempt.” (see here for more on the truth behind this common myth).
As we approach Sunday this is very much how I feel – that we have landed in East Hull, we have been positioned by God across this part of the city and we must now begin the work of dismantling what brought us here in order that we might use what we have to establish ourselves, without any possibility of a return to the safety of where we have come from. We bring with us such a great inheritance, but we must use it wisely, not as a source of security in case everything goes wrong, but rather as a firm foundation from which to launch our mission into the East.
And that sobering reality is why there will be very little fanfare on Sunday as we start our Sunday gatherings together, because this is a significant and life-shaping work we are embarking upon. As we worship and pray and preach and serve and love one another we set to our ship with axes and hammers and crow bars, not to destroy but to build a base for a mission to the lost that we are willing to give our lives for.