Are you rushing past your God-sized Dream mile markers?
The other night we held our 2nd Circles Of Faith Live event, a gathering of friends for fun and fellowship that’s grown out of our website, CirclesOfFaith.org, Where Faith, Life, and Community Intersect. We were wrapping up a beautiful evening of Fellowship, Bridge-Building, Sharing Stories, and Breaking Bread together (well, we actually ate cake!). A dear friend, Jennifer, who had been on our dream journey with us remarked, “I remember the launch party for Circles of Faith more than two years ago. We gathered in the little room at the church…and look where you are today!”
Wow…she was right! In that instant, joy and gratitude overcame me as I realized how many dreams God had already fulfilled. But sometimes, we’re so busy looking at the next goal, the next post, the next event, we’ve failed to take stock of the many many amazing things God has already done.
Today, I’m prompted to take a thankful look back before we sail forward…
It was 2 ½ years ago. My Co-Founder Kimberly Amici and I had been praying, working, planning, dreaming together for almost two years already…and the day arrived.
It was time to launch CirclesOfFaith.org. So we had a launch party. There were balloons, lots of well-wishing loved ones and guests, brownies, cookies, goodie bag giveaways. The crackle of excitement, encouragement, and anticipation filled the room.
The final design and technical details of our website had not yet been ironed out. So we weren’t quite “up and running.” In fact, you might say, our site was still a dream. Yet we gathered in faith and hope that one day soon our website, CirclesOfFaith.org would one day be live.
And wouldn’t you know it, about a month later, our site was up and running and we were posting new content three times a week.
This coincided beautifully with the timing of our first Allume conference for bloggers and writers. There we met with many in the blogosphere, some of them like us, just starting out, and lots of them were heavy-hitters in the blogging world. They were known, purposeful, knowledgeable, and generous…willing to share in a few hours what could take us years to learn.
It was exciting and new…and we were literally bumping around in the dark. I have to admit, the biggest light bulb moment at that wonderful weekend was that we had no idea what we were actually doing!!
Our mentality was, “If we build it, they will come!” We figured we had such an awesome idea – Women gathering online to share Faith, Life, and Community – that as soon as people heard about us, we would be all set. We would have writers eager to write for us, and readers subscribing, liking, following, commenting in vast numbers.
We both remember going to Ruth Schwenk’s workshop on Community websites. She’s a tremendously popular blogger who has two community sites, The Better Mom and For the Family. Kimberly and I listened and looked at one another, mouthing the words simultaneously, “That’s what we are!” It was a moment of clarity. And we quickly realized we needed a community of regular contributing writers to keep our site content rich.
One of the first things we did when we got home was ask five people if they would post with us once a month. They said yes. Yay…we were on our way. We still welcomed guest posters (and still do!!), but now we could rely on these Regular Contributors each month so we weren’t scrambling for copy. We now have an Executive Team, plus 12 Writers. Our team is the fulfillment of a dream tucked inside our big dream.
We didn’t know enough to dream up a team. But God knew…and He has provided. <==Click to Tweet
When Kimberly and I first started dreaming, way before we had our website, part of our vision was to gather women from our area. New Jersey is not exactly known for being a faith hot spot. In fact, some people refer to our home state as a spiritual desert.
How could we foster faith and grow fellowship in our own backyards?
That’s where our Community Calendar came in. Thanks to our Director of Communications at the time, Joy Kay, we started sharing local Christian events – bible studies, conferences, retreats, concerts – with the hopes of growing that to serve an ever-widening geographical circle. Our desire was to create a one-stop way for people to find Christian events and thereby each other.
Another part of the vision of Circles of Faith was to meet in-person.
Oh we could’ve belabored that for a long time for many reasons – we had enough on our plate putting together our posts and social media, all the who, what, why, and where – yet the desire continued to burn in our hearts. Enter Wodline Hippolyte. She just happened to be on Director of Community Joy’s worship team and, of all the God-incidences, she is a professional events planner!
Several weeks ago, we hosted our 2nd Circles of Faith LIVE event. Flowers, flickering candles, dessert and coffee, amazing God stories, worship, fellowship – it was a beautiful gathering of about 60 women. The communion of laughter, tears, testimonies, ministered to us all.
As we closed up the evening, Jennifer reminded us of just how far we had come, just how many dreams had come true.
So today, no matter where you are on your God-sized Dream journey, take a few moments to take stock of what you have accomplished, the steps you have taken, the dreams within dreams fulfilled, the ways God has moved…and be thankful right where you are.
God’s not finished with us yet!
photo credit: ZZ Bottom