Apr29ThuApril 29, 2021
This month we celebrate six years at the Manor, and what an incredible six years it has been! As we look forward to the coming years, it’s interesting to note the journey that God has brought us down and see the comparisons to the journey He has our team on now.
How did Church at the Manor even start? The Manor Church was not an intentional movement towards creating a church within a strip club. In fact, that was not even on Jack and Sharon’s radar. During the time Jack and Sharon Ninaber hosted a group of individual’s hungry for more of the Holy Spirit, out of their home, known as Friday Night Feasts. This community gathering, centered on Jesus, food and fellowship, united people. There was no schedule or agenda, simply bring yourself and some food. Come hungry for God, community, and food! Soon the group grew too large to be hosted within the Ninaber’s home and the search for a new place began. One evening, as they drove past the Manor, Sharon joked about it possibly being a good location. What began as a joke, became a reality after walking into the club to hand out gift cards, led to a conversation with management. Like a scene out of a movie, their initial conversation with Roger, led to an opportunity to rent the space out. Amidst multiple road blocks like zoning restrictions, God continually showed up and made a way for Church at the Manor. It was undoubtable that God was in this and for this! What began as a hunger for the move of the Holy Spirit, developed into God leading the way for the Holy Spirit to move in new ways. Crucial to this was obedient people, with unwavering faith. Sharon shared “in so many ways we had to trust God and that He would just show up.” The role of freedom for the Holy Spirit to move, and providing a community feast atmosphere continued. Often Sharon would mention “We are not behavior modifiers.” People came as they were…broken, addicted, hungry, lost. They were welcomed with open arms to a loving community and left full of food, compassion and friendship. Within the five years that the Manor Church was open there were multiple baptisms. Yet, the most important aspect that emerged out of the Manor Church was the family that formed and the lessons God taught us all, which continues to this day. The Manor Church grew into a close knit family, many of whom have now extended the lessons they have learned into their local community. Sharon spoke about how God gave her a vision of the parable of the sower and told her that is her. He called Sharon to continue to sow seeds of Gods love and see what sticks and grows, not to focus on the results but to keep throwing seeds. Due to the transient nature of many who attended the Church, this concept of ministry was very crucial and every once in a while someone pops up and we see the seed that was previously sown.
Within the past year we have gone from Church within the Manor, to a season of transition and discernment. We are now Together and we meet at The Table. Until I studied the history of the Manor Church, and how it was birthed out of Friday Night Feasts, I didn’t connect the dots. All I knew was God was calling us to the table. I didn’t know what that meant or even the specifics of it. I knew it required radical obedience and faith. I also knew that in order for this to develop, God had to show up. Funny, now I look back and I see this full circle development. (Interestingly my first Bible Study was called the Circle, which I ran out of my home. Here I am full circle.) Jack and Sharon created a move of the Holy Spirit centered around community and a table. It required obedience and faith, to step out into the unknown. It was empowered through the support of the community formed at Friday Night feasts. And God brought all the impossibilities together, to create a very unique church. Now we are back at the Table. We have an amazing team of women, hungry for the move of God, however that looks and wherever that takes us. The Together team is a family of women, uniquely empowered in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We believe in creating a space of freedom for those to come and be and experience and walk away full! As we go back to the Table, we are intrigued to see what God will birth from this space. As He birthed before, we believe He will once again!
Happy Six years to an incredible move of the Holy Spirit, one that hit the shores of the Manor like a mighty wave.
Think for a moment about a wave. It crashes along the shore line taking within its undertow all that is ready to release itself to its incredible power. A wave is an ever moving force. It hits the shores and returns to the ocean. As it returns to the ocean, the mighty ocean stirs below as the wind blows above. In this time new waves are formed. At the right time, under the right conditions a new wave hits and crashes along the shore.
The move of the Spirit is often like this. Revival hits and hits hard. Many are engulfed in the wave of the Spirit and release themselves to its mighty power. Yet, historically all revivals come and go. Just as the wave recedes to the ocean, revivals recede and leave within its wake a vast amount of believers. Yet, in between, many feel stuck, lost, and heartbroken. If we look towards the analogy of a wave, we do not see the loss of a revival, but the renewing of a revival soon to come. We see that just as important as the wave crashing upon the shore, is the time spent in the ocean being empowered by the air above and the currents below. It’s our time independently and communally with the Lord. Here we are fed by his Spirit, his Word and his Presence. Revival comes to the hungry. To those that live in the past, the past can only teach lessons for the future, it cannot become the present and it will not bring about the future. Only God can through the hungry.
So here we are now, back at the table. We have two options. Mourn the loss of Church at the Manor, or position ourselves in hunger for the new mighty wave of revival.
Isaiah 43:19. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
God is moving. His Spirit is hovering over the oceans and within the sea stirring up a mighty wave. He’s calling us forth to become a part of this move, if we are willing. Ask yourself today. Are you going to mourn or are you going to get hungry?!