[subversive underground] EMERGING MISSIONARIES by Keith Giles
Wendy and I have been hosting "The Mission" house church for about nine months now in our home. Every Thursday night at 6pm friends start showing up with food enough to share with everyone. We hold hands in a circle in our kitchen and invite the Holy Spirit to join us in our meal together, leading us throughout the evening as our guest of honor.
Fellowship time is enjoyed throughout the shared meal. During the summer months we've enjoyed eating out on the covered patio on the back porch. This is really where we get to fellowship with one another, and experience "Koinonia" together; a sense of being in communion with God and with one another at the same time.
After this we move into the den carrying hot mugs of coffee and our Bibles. Usually we enjoy communion together before a time of worship, but sometimes we mix it up and start with worship and end with communion. Either way, after this time we move into the "share time" where each person shares with the group something encouraging that God has spoken to them or revealed to them in their own walk throughout the week. It can be a scripture verse, an insight into God's Word or a life lesson learned by walking with Jesus through challenging times. Sometimes we stop and pray for a person's need on the spot, or encourage them where we see God wanting to lift them up. Sometimes we read entire chapters of the Bible together and share what we hear God saying to us through the Word. At any rate, we all share together equally. Children and teenagers and adults all share and listen to one another. Usually the more piercing insights come from those among us who are still in elementary school.
What I have seen happening lately is what is most encouraging to me. Lately I've seen God begin to call some of us out of our comfort zones to become missionaries in our culture. This is especially encouraging to me because our entire vision was to have a house church that wasn't exclusively inward-focused but that also realized the calling each follower of Jesus has to be a missionary...hence the name of our house church- "The Mission".
One woman in our group has felt called to lead a Girl's Club for a few of the girls who live at the motel where we minister each month. Her heart is to provide a loving example of God's love to these girls, sharing her life with them, encouraging them and showing them who Jesus is.
Another woman in our group, an artist, is sensing God's call to use her art outside the walls of the Church. She's praying and listening for God's voice, as she creates art in her sun room, for direction and guidance from Him so that her art reflects His glory outside of the church building and out on the streets where real life is lived.
Still another woman is praying about becoming a mentor to a young girl by signing up to become a Big Sister to a troubled teen. We've seen so much growth in her life over the years, as her friend, and now, on her own, she is realizing that she has something to share with others to help them overcome the challenges of life.
My wife and I have felt a strong calling to be missionaries to the families on our street. We did a five week "Kids Club" in our home this summer where the neighborhood kids came and learned about Jesus while having fun playing games, watching magic tricks and eating pizza.
Just recently, to my amazement, a new vision was spoken in our group. One of our women is feeling called to start a Church In The Park where we would take what we do on Thursday evenings and meet in a local park to share food, worship and read the Gospels in a public place, inviting anyone who wanted to join us in the park to share the food, and the fellowship with us.
I can't tell you how excited I am about this. This is better than anything I could have dreamed up on my own. Now several in our group, and even some outside The Mission, are feeling called to start meeting on Sunday mornings in a local park, sharing food, sharing Jesus, with anyone God brings our way. We will invite and welcome the homeless, the lonely, to sit and share food with us. We will worship out loud in the park and invite families, children, the elderly, the sick, or whomever is around us, to listen to the words of Jesus as we read the Gospels together on the grass.
I look at this and I wonder, why couldn't more people do something just like this in their own city, in their own neighborhood? Aren't we all called to share what God has given us, our time, talent and treasure, with others?
Several people have shared with me their own testimony of how God has called them to worship in the park, or to invite their neighbors over for a celebration time, or to step out of their comfort zones to love others, and this is very exciting stuff.
When everyday, ordinary people realize that they are the Church, the ambassadors of Christ, and walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit, loving others, sharing their time and showing true compassion, without an agenda, the full power of discipleship comes into play. We become the people He has called us to be, we emerge as the Body of Christ, we realize our unique gifting, we discover our need for God's Grace every single day, and we experience the necessary encouragement of our own brothers and sisters in Christ for the daily service we give to others on Christ's behalf.
I pray that more and more we would all listen for the voice of God calling us outward, urging us to lift up our heads to see the fields that are white unto harvest.
"...whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"- JESUS (Matt 20:27-28)
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*Yes...I am STILL on the job trail. What gives?! God is showing Himself faithful to us, as always. He's provided for us financially, through various means (mostly generous, giving friends and family members), and He's given us peace as we wait for His next open door. Thank you for your continued prayers for our family during this time. I have a job interview today at 1:30pm and a few others down the road. I know God has something in mind for us, I just pray we can discover it soon.