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In this update we've got 3 things for you! An encouragement, an introduction and prayer requests. And they're ambitious!

An Encouragement


Friends, we have missed you and we feel the loss of unabated physical closeness! A year ago this month was when the world seemed to suddenly stop. Can you believe what's happened in the span of this last year? Amazing. While much as happened 'above ground' in terms of world events, I believe God has been doing a TON of 'underground' work on his followers.

This kind of work is bland, tedious and often feels burdensome and unnecessary. The Lans/Gibson tribe is experiencing this acutely as we recently discovered that our main sewage pipe under the house has a 1 inch crack running the entire width of the house! Talk about a major problem! This means we have needed to take out the flooring, break up the concrete, and dig 9 feet down from the outside of the house to access the pipe and replace it. All after having just settled downstairs. Infuriating!!

   

But isn't this the kind of work that God does on our hearts when we truly decide to follow him? Older believers know this well, but as young, passionate (...impatient), full of energy (...distracted easily), followers of Christ, this feels like a fresh lesson.

When we set out on this journey with Half Step Ministries, we had many big and wild dreams for what it could be and hopes for how it might impact unchurched youth and American church culture in really profound ways! But with any work worth doing, a foundation must be set. It has to be set properly, and despite the anxiousness we feel to finally 'get moving,' we are in love with a God who cares deeply enough about us to set us up right instead of letting us loose with a rotten foundation.

Maybe you're in a similar place to us right now where you've prayed for God to do big things, you've owned your end of the work, you've strived towards your goal, but then you look back and feel no closer to your goal than when you started. Has God abandoned you? Is His call on you still valid? Did you misunderstand Him in the first place? I'm sure at least one person reading is experiencing this and I want to remind you (as I remind myself) that we serve a God who is still worth serving, even when our prayers/work go unanswered.

This is how I've been tallying our 'success' as of late:
New believers - 0
New Half Steps - 0
New directors equipped - 1
Young leaders equipped to be disciple-makers - 16
Conversations about Half Step - a billion

Seems like a poor "Return on Investment" to me, don't you think?

Well, I was reminded this week through conversations and our house problems that we as humans measure faithfulness to God and his call all wrong. Take this story from Daniel as an example:

As we all know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fate they were faced with, these were their words to the king:

'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”'

Most of us know how the story ends. They met what most people think was Jesus in that fiery furnace and didn't melt into goop.

I see two things in this story:
1. We serve a God worth dying for, even if it seems like He doesn't 'pull through'
2. We meet Jesus at the death of ourselves

I don't think we should look at this story and think, "If only I had the faith of those three Jews! Then I'd experience God's goodness to me." They are an example, to be sure, but that's not the point of the story. It's to show that God is such a good God and worth serving more than keeping your own life. Whew...sit with that for a second, would you? 

It's been a long two years, if we are being honest, many times we've wanted to quit, or shout to God, "WHAT'S TAKING SO LONG!" Maybe you're in that place too, so may I encourage you? He is still worth it, He is still able, even when He's silent, even when He's slow as we count slowness. Your success is not tied to your output, but to your faithfulness to Jesus. Keep going.

An Introduction 

Just after the new year on January 6, 2021, we welcomed Benjamin Pahlau Lans into our family! He came 10 days early but was perfectly healthy and the delivery was short and sweet! (Can I get an amen?) Adjusting to life with a newborn and a 13.5 month old has for sure had its challenges... but we are beyond grateful for being blessed with these two boys. 

What's Coming in 2021 - Prayer Requests

1. Update on Trailhead Church - Due to financial difficulties, the church staff all had to take 50% budget cuts starting in January. This was a catalyst that led us to reconsider if Trailhead was where we needed to be at the time. Through tough conversations, we realized that our goals/mission and the expectations they had for Brayden as youth pastor were not aligned in the way we had hoped, so Brayden stepped out of his position. We still hope to assist them in starting a Half Step sometime in the near future.
2. Support Raising - In light of the above update, we need to fill the hole in our income that Trailhead was providing, so we are re-entering the support raising process. We are currently sitting at 60% of our overall support goal. Pray for incredible provision!
3. Half Step Camp 2021 - THIS IS A BIG ONE!! We are inviting FIVE, that's right, FIVE churches to participate in this years Half Step camp as a way to hopefully launch new programs this coming Fall and build momentum for Half Step Ministries overall.
4. Half Step at Faith Directorship - If you've been following along, you know that Alicia Lans has directed Half Step at Faith for the past year and a half and will be closing out her term as director here at the end of this semester. Pray that the Lord continues to rise up the necessary leaders to keep this ministry going.
5. Half Step at ... - While it is sad that Alicia and her husband, Austin are moving on to another church, they will be starting a Half Step there and training a team this Fall! As soon as we have more details and more concrete dates/leadership team, we will announce where this will be! Furthermore, we are also in the second phase of discussions about starting a Half Step at another church in town this Fall as well! Pray that the Lord's will and timing is done as we go out in faith to plant these new Half Step Ministries.
If you'd like to support us financially with Half Step or read more about our general ministry you can check out our website here.
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