Satisfying the Hunger... is a blog written by the ministry staff of Evangelism & Church Growth
I've been rereading Brothers Karamozov and reading Eugene Peterson's book, The Pastor. And I've been struck again by the overwhelming grace of God and God's call to us to be a people of grace on mission. In Brothers Karamozov, there is a poignant scene in which a woman is struggling with losing her faith. The advice she receives is to love and serve others. It is in reaching beyond self to one's neighbor that faith has the opportunity to take root and grow.
As I travel across our church, I continue to meet wonderful people. They want to follow Jesus. Yet there is a huge sense of being stuck and waiting for someone to come help bring assistance and direction. The focus of the church has become survival. The activity of the church is centered on budgets, buildings, staff, and programs. And there is a pervasive sense of hopelessness because people are not showing up inside the church walls.
Eugene Peterson writes about starting a new church. As he started this new church, he was helping people come to terms with their own faith stories as they encountered the birth and development of the early church in Acts. As we see our stories as a part of what God is doing to rescue a broken world, we begin to claim our place in God’s redemptive mission.
So what if we started again with these stories: our story and God’s story of being on mission through the church. Would we realize again that our call is to share with others the story of what has changed our lives? And would we take more risks in venturing beyond our homes and churches into the lives of people around us?
As I continue to grow up more and more into Jesus, I realize that my faith grows and deepens every time I have the opportunity to either serve another person or share my faith. Maybe, just maybe, being church is this simple: we serve and share God’s grace with the people around us.
The following is an excerpt from an article, “Top Challenges for Missional Church Planting in Urban America” by my friend Dan Steigerwald, President of Christian Associates North America – a non-affiliated church planting organization.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
Psalm 61:1-4 The Prayer of the Troubled Heart
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