Author: Kimberly Batson

God’s Vision:
Investing in our City


Last year, my husband Blake and I attended a banquet for Restoration Gateway—a ministry in Northern Uganda begun by our dear family friends Tim and Janice McCall.  Since they began their ministry 10 years ago, they have grown to house more than 100 orphans and have established a homestead, school, hospital and fishery on their 700-acre lot. The banquet emcee commented on the impressive growth of the ministry and asked Tim, “What’s your next dream for this place?” He replied,

“It’s not about my dream, it’s about God’s vision.”

This response pierced me and continues to reshape my perspective of what is happening right now in our small corner of the world—it’s not about our dream, it’s about God’s vision.

This morning I was reading John 6, where Jesus feeds five thousand people from one boy’s small supply of five loaves and two fish. He fed the people and they marveled, wanting to make Him king. While reading I thought– this is the prayer of my heart:

that Jesus would take our small provision and multiply it into revelation of Himself to others.

I want this to be the reason why we do the work God has given our hands to do – not simply to see our dreams come to fruition but to be obedient to what has been initiated within us, that His vision may be manifested right here. As I continue to grow in this mindset, it brings infinite meaning into the here and now because my daily work—work that seems unrelated to “ministry”— is infused with eternal purpose.

“One sows and another reaps.” [John 4:37]

As the rain soaks in the ground outside now, I can’t help but think of the decades of prayer for this town that have gone before us, preparing the soil for all that is happening. Those prayers have made ripe the opportunities to dream, build, grow, and uncover what we ‘pioneer-spirits’ are living into right now. The mantle now comes to us to live into what has been prepared and made ready with great attentiveness and care. He is gracious, and I feel so grateful to live here at this time, at this hour. How often in life does one really feel they can make an eternal and economic impact on a place? Honestly, it’s thrilling to me.

If you’re in Waco right now, you’re being invited into God’s vision for this place.

Maybe you would rather be somewhere else, or maybe you know you won’t be here forever. But the challenge remains to “dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” [Psalm 37]. Perhaps it isn’t as much a choice about ‘investing in Waco’ as it is to surrender yourself to be fruitful, wherever you’re planted. It is daring and hard to choose and love a place and people despite the messiness, the mistakes, the mishaps—to live the unglamorous days. God can feed five thousand people with a boy’s small offering, and He can take our lives—whatever they hold—and further His vision for such a time as this.

What can you do to cultivate?

PRAY

“The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be.  Only when your roots are deep can your fruit be abundant.”  -Henri Nouwen

  • Pray that as we expand and grow as a city, that our roots would grow deeper
  • Pray that the City of Waco would make the wisest choices for outlining our growth, that the right people would be in the right positions making the best decisions.
  • Ask the Lord what it is you have to give—dreams, resources, ambitions, anything—through which He might reveal Himself and manifest His vision.

TIME

Link up with programs in the city that are driven by the real needs of real people. Link up with programs that Antioch has going on to connect with the community, like the STARS program, Grace House, or the Community Feast. If we are focused more on new restaurants and less on people, then we miss it. We truly progress if we ALL progress, and this starts at a one-on-one level.

By Kimberly Batson