There are a few distinct Biblical philosophies that guide our work at South Street Ministries. (I imagine if I can ever convince Duane to write a book that these will be distinctive chapters). Ideas such as ‘faulty but not false,’ or ‘neighbors first.’ However, today I have been struck by Duane’s retelling of Dallas Willard’s axiom: God’s Will by way of God’s Provision.
This guiding theology has integrated itself into the DNA of South Street Ministries out of necessity. The necessity that there is work to do and that this work costs money. The ministry requires funding. But this is the way of most things, they require resources, provisions must be made. And the majority of our days are spent scrambling to create, earn, or find those provisions. We manifest our wills by our work and resources.
However in the Kingdom of God, this format is different: God’s will by way of God’s provision. If the project/ministry/action is God’s will then it will be accomplished by God’s resources. At South Street we act in accordance with this guiding principle; that God will truly provide for His will to be enacted.
Following George Mueller’s model, the Crabbs family spent the first few years of neighborhood ministry never asking explicitly for support. Rather they would pray. They would pray that if God truly wanted for them to minister in Summit Lake that God would provide the resources. As South Street has grown, the Mueller model has impacted our view of provision: we pray first (and since we have lots of needs, we pray often). We pray and discern for God’s Spirit and leading. Then we follow God’s will. And the funding follows. The provision follows the faithfulness.
In our scramble for funds, it is easy to reverse this order. To support and stabilize, then act. But this is man’s resources providing for man’s will. God reverses this. We act and serve in faith, trusting that God will provide what He promises. This order is enacted throughout Scripture: Moses speaks to the rock and the water comes forth, the Hebrews step into the Jordan River and the flow stops, Jesus directs the lepers to the temple and they are healed en route. The provision follows the faithfulness.
We are at that point once again. Like many non-profits, the resources are low. However, rather than scrambling for man’s provision, we first ask if we are acting in accordance with God’s will. And we believe we are. We believe that planting gardens on abandoned plots around Summit Lake and working with neighborhood youth to weed, water, and harvest all the while building relationships and sharing Gospel is God’s will. We believe that rehabbing the Front Porch and turning it into a hub for job training, recovery, employment, and fellowship is God’s will. We believe that moving in and incarnating ourselves in the neighborhood (and letting the neighborhood impact us as well) is God’s will.
And we are convinced that the provisions to do God’s will will follow by God’s hand.