Shining the Light: Celebrating Mission
July 17, 2018 | Didi Bacon
I recently read a book that used the story of Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition as a lesson for ministry. Lewis and Clark were commissioned by the President to find a passage west to the Pacific Ocean. The first part of their journey involved following maps of the known. They traveled mostly by river, the highways of the country at that time. Their expectation was that travel in the territories not on their maps would also be by river. They were looking for a river passage to the Pacific Ocean. They did not know that what lay before them was the vast expanse of the Rocky Mountain range. They were trained and prepared for a river journey. What they discovered was that in order to fulfill their mission they would have to become mountain climbers. They would have to learn to climb the mountains with their oars! How they crossed the Rocky Mountains is a lesson on what it takes to travel off the map. The skills learned in navigating rivers had to be adapted to climbing mountains.
I see the same thing in the story of our church. In each decade of our 50 years the mission has stayed the same, to shine the light of Jesus to our community. But how we do that has changed. The lay of the land has changed. Our community and mission field changed. In one decade we went by river. But now we have to climb the mountains. We have to go off our maps in order to be able to reach those in our community. The skills that we learned as missionaries to get us here have to be adapted to reach our community for Jesus today.
I believe that we are at “going-off-the-map” point once again in our journey as a church. That is why our leadership has been seeking God’s guidance since 2016 to formulate a new plan that will set us towards the future. We have come to the following initiatives.
First, is a commitment to leadership development. We need to grow as elders, as staff, and as ministry leaders. We need to deepen our bench with leaders in all areas of ministry.
Our second initiative is to maximize our current ministry resources. That means remodeling in the children’s area and up stairs for our students. It means we will be going to three services in September. September 9 to be specific. Our worship times will be 9:00 am, 10:30 am and Noon. We will have Children’s Ministry for all three services. We will have Junior High ministry (6 through 8 grade) at the 10:30 am. Our Senior High students will move their meeting time to Sunday evening at 6 pm. In order to be able to do three services on Sundays through the year, we will need 532 Mount Carmel folks serving. We have 320 already. Which means we still have opportunity for 212 to find their ministry purpose in our church family. We will be letting you know more details over the next few weeks. But will you pray about what you might bring to do your part as a missionary to our community?
The 3rd initiative is significant. We see God leading us to be a discipleship church. That means we are going to be focused, intentional and strategic in bringing those dead in faith to new birth through evangelism, those who are infants in the faith to childhood, those who in childhood to grow to be young adults, those who are young adults in the faith to mature to spiritual parents. Everyone who becomes a part of our church family will be part of an intentional church effort to move towards being a fully engaged Jesus follower who is characterized as a disciple maker (Spiritual Parent).
The fourth initiative is to revisit how we are reaching our community in order to bring them into faith in Christ. This is called evangelism. God has given us strengths and gifts that unique to us. We are a people of service. We are a people of warmth. We are a people committed to living and learning the Bible. How can we align with God’s work in using the gifts he gives us to reach our neighbors? We want to identify where God’s Spirit is moving and join Him there in shining the light of Jesus to our neighbors.
The final initiative is a continued commitment to prayer. This is Jesus’ church. We operate by His power, His Word, and His Will. Prayer is how we continue to stay in that sweet spot. And every one of us can do it. Pray for Mount Carmel Christian Church. Pray for God to speak to you about His assignment for you in this mission. Pray for our leaders, the harvest is great the workers are few. Pray for the work to maximize our current ministry resources. Remodeling the student area and children’s area. Pray for the 3rd service work and maybe how God may be calling you to do your part in that opportunity. Pray for our work to be a church of fully committed Jesus followers. Pray that we might be able to reach our neighbors with the light of Jesus. Pray that we all take from our head to our heart to our hands the words of the Apostle Paul:
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)