“As a church, you’re not supposed to hunker down and be happy,” says the Rev. Trish Nelson, Executive Director of Christ Church Anglican in Overland Park, Kansas. “You’re out to spread the gospel, to tell people about Christ, love your neighbors and love one another. Doing that well doesn’t mean you stay where you’re comfortable.”
Wave, the quarterly magazine of The Anglican Mission, profiled Christ Church Anglican in its Spring 2011 edition. The quote from Rev. Nelson echos the restlessness in my spirit following a day of inspiring testimonies.
I was blessed yesterday to spend time with seven pastors, listening to them share what their churches are doing to “tell people about Christ.”
- Matt leads a campus ministry of roughly seven students. They just returned from a spring break mission trip deep into Appalachia, where they spent the week repairing a family’s home.
- Chris planted a church two years ago in the metro area of a major city; the majority of his small parish are students. They are negotiating for space at the area’s largest produce market where they will sell Rwandan fair-trade coffee, providing jobs for survivors of one of the worst genocides in history.
- Andy pastors an Appalachian church of about 25 folks. They recently gutted and refurbished a community family’s mobile home–furniture and all. Currently they are putting a roof on another home, and making cabinets for a neighbor’s kitchen. A young couple recently joined their fellowship who have a heart for the “skateboard kids” in this little town. They are beginning a ministry to these kids in an effort to keep them out of juvenile court.
- The day concluded with the “launch” of a new house church in another small KY town. This pastor and his wife have a heart to provide a safe place of healing and restoration for those who are struggling to overcome addiction. In a region well known for its meth labs and Oxycontin drug traffic, their ministry will certainly make a difference in the community.
All of these illustrations have this in common: they are small churches with huge hearts… a few people coming together to BE the body of Christ in their community. They understand that the church does not have a mission; rather, the mission of God has a church. They are not willing to remain comfortably “inside,” but are eager to engage in misseo Dei, using the gifts, graces, and other resources God provides. Their scorecard is not based on the numbers game, but on the spiritual transformation that takes place when people serve in meaningful ministry–transformation not only in those who serve, but also in the lives of those who are served.
As you are reading this, you may be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah–I know all this. But how do I get my church to engage in God’s mission? Everyone is just too busy already.” I don’t claim to have all the answers–hardly!–but I can help. Moreover, I want to.
The desire of my heart is to see every believer living their faith out loud in meaningful ministry and every church fully engaged in misseo Dei.
Here are three ways you can respond:
- If the desire of your heart resonates with the desire of mine, I’d love to hear more! I hope you will take a moment to reply to this post.
- If your church is actively engaged in misseo Dei, please share what you are doing by responding to this post. You will encourage others!
- If you are even a bit curious, I invite you to visit my website at www.andeemarks.com to learn more.
I hope to hear from you!