Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Have you ever argued with God? Have you been angry with him? Or asked him hard questions and heard nothing in response? Or did you hear him respond loud and clear, but it was a different response than you had hoped?

Well, this is a very recent occurrence for me and I’d like to share with you a little journey that Jesus took me on last month as I wrestled through a change in vision regarding community here at Flatirons.

Recently you might have heard Jim Burgen talk about a new vision for the church regarding community all based on the Bible regarding spiritual formation and the first church.
The goal of the first church was to spiritually form believers into the kind of people who had the character of Christ and shared Him with the world. This is the same goal God has for us now. So, we can use that model to find out how the first Christians pursued spiritual formation when the church first started.

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."  (Acts 2:42-47)

So, you had several thousand people who had nothing in common except they bumped into Jesus and He was changing them. They were gathering together in a big group to learn more. Then, leaving the big group, they opened their homes to one another. We heard Jim unpack this concept first coined by Andy Stanley:

We learn in rows.  We grow in circles.

We learn and take in the words of Jesus in rows, our weekend experience at Flatirons.
Then, we grow and see real change in smaller circles, in houses or around tables, taking place outside of the weekend experience in every-day life.

So, this vision asks this question? What if we had thousands of people at a Flatirons campus on a weekend and sometime during the week, all, or most gathered in a circle around a kitchen table, or a campfire, or a booth in the back of a pub or coffee shop and worked through a truth that Jesus taught us.  If MOST of us did meet in smaller groups would THAT make a difference in us individually, in this church, in this world?

The answer is YES! To accomplish this, the pieces of ministry that will be resourced and promoted by Flatirons will be the weekend services, (rows) so we can learn the teaching of Jesus. Then small groups (circles), so we can have a group of trusted people where we can take what we've heard on the weekend and unpack what it means for us daily. 

I don’t know about you, but this makes me excited. The MOST frequent emails I receive ask, ”How do I get connected at such a big church? How do I find a small group? How do I find a place where I fit? I feel invisible. How do I get to know people?” With this new vision of community, we will have something intentional to offer everyone this fall at all five campuses.

So, I was on board. All in…

But, what does this mean for current Women’s Ministry programming at Flatirons? It means May marks the end of our large women's monthly programs of the IF Gatherings and Mom's Day in Day Out (DIDO). 

I'm going to be very honest and vulnerable with you. When I first heard this news, I was sad and angry. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. Some stemmed from anticipation, relief, pride, a sense of failure, loss, excitement. You name it. I felt it. I wanted to hold tightly to programs I believed God had his fingerprints all over. I started asking God, ”Why did YOU allow these programs to be created, only to have them end in their current form? Was it all for nothing?” I have been on my own little journey trying to make sense of all this change. And I want to share with you what God clearly said to me about a month ago.

As I was reading Acts 1:7 at a planning retreat up in the mountains, I experienced one of those moments where Jesus was holding my face in his hands, looking straight in to my eyes, not reprimanding me, but gently making it clear that I was NOT trusting him. I was arguing with him.

“He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own Authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in all of Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7)

I felt Jesus saying to me, “Lara, it is NOT for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own Authority!” My role is to trust Jesus and the Holy Spirit and be his witness. Not to control and question and overthink and be fearful. He was asking me to trust Him! But, I wasn’t quite done arguing with him. “But Jesus, I LOVE the women of this church!” and his response was, ”Lara, I LOVE them more!”

Then, he wasn’t quite done speaking to my heart. He spoke very clearly to me that this model creates an opportunity to become more like Jesus, to practice being disciples, to get far away from being consumer Christians, to truly experience Biblical fellowship, to have relationships with others so we can hold God up to the world. It can provide us a safe place to grow. And it can be replicated and it is sustainable.

I felt tender and honestly, honored, that God would speak to me in those moments, because he is NOT always that specific. It was clear that for this season I needed to trust Him and trust the leaders that he has put in place to lead us.

I believe all God has done in years past in Women’s ministry at Flatirons, was laying a foundation for what’s to come. Many of you reading this blog are women who have prayed, supported, encouraged, served, dreamed and helped build integral portions of community here at Flatirons and we are so thankful for you!

I am asking you ladies to join us and link arms with us. We want to do TWO things really well. We want to gather together for weekend services to learn in rows the teaching of Jesus. And be a part of circles, so we can grow and connect. We already have successful and vibrant Flatirons Connect groups, IF tables, IF discussion groups, and Mom’s DIDO groups that are meeting together. My hope is that ALL the facilitators will bring their groups and be a part of this new structure and adventure for the fall launch. We will provide tools and training and care for those willing to lead their circles. So, the programs will change, but community will continue, multiply and thrive. 

Sometimes God asks us to trust him, even if we have a hard time making sense of the process or outcome in our human brain. He welcomes our prayers and our arguing. He wants us to come to him, even in our anger or sadness or confusion.
He is faithful and gracious and he can be trusted.

Lara is the Women’s Ministry Director at Flatirons Community Church. Lara and her husband Eric have been married for 17 years and they are parents to three teenagers. As you can imagine life is busy at the Veve household, but they embrace the beautiful chaos of life during this season.

1 comment:

  1. It's a beautiful thing when the direction of a church follows the path that Jesus has laid before it. What you have done with the women's ministry up until now has been a season of tremendous growth for the women of Flatirons. The impact of this ministry will continue to thrive as you move in this new direction. The blessings will continue. God will be glorified! Thank you for sharing your heart and your passion for God's calling on your life. May you be encouraged to know He has you and this ministry in the palm of His hands. Blessings to you Lara.