I met with our Mission One:Eight Team this past Wednesday night and left so encouraged and excited about the coming year at The Gathering. God has moved in some pretty big ways over the last couple of months, removing the inward focus that largely characterized what this church has been, bringing a fresh wind of excitement over reaching out to the world with the love and redemption communicated in the Gospel.
This church has realized it was never meant to serve as a club for the religious separatist, but must become a center for those actively carrying out the Great Commission through every door that God opens for her. It is so refreshing to sit with people who are excited with anticipation over what God is going to do through our mission giving and our mission going. It is a wonderful place to be where people are asking the God-honoring question, “Why not?” regarding missions rather than the spirit-quenching “Why?” that so often characterizes religious people.
I believe that 2010 is going to be the year of the Mission. There are so many opportunities that are before us and we can’t wait to see what God is going to do with them.
Already, we are engaged in a church-planting effort in Peru, ministering among the Yauyos People located high in the Andes Mountains. We were overwhelmed to experience God already at work there and had simply invited us to join Him in His work. At our last Family Ministry Meeting, the people of The Gathering enthusiastically embraced this mission opportunity, understanding that a church without a mission is no church at all. We have been called and we are being sent!
Locally, we are becoming more aggressively involved in the ministry of HaCoBaCare. This ministry of the Hamilton County Baptist Association to those in need in the Chattanooga area is reaching more people than any other ministry of its kind in our County. As our efforts increase, it is our hope that even more people can be affected by this Gospel ministry, both physically and spiritually.
Further, we have a new possibility that we are exploring with another strategic partner in our area to reach out and minister to refugees located in a camp in the Atlanta area. This mission is unique in that it is an opportunity for many to be engaged in foreign missions only two hours from our home! Though we have not moved on this particular ministry, we are praying through that as a possible door that God is opening up for us.
The days of sitting and being spiritually fed to obesity without getting out and exercising our faith at The Gathering are over. With opportunities like God has put before us, there is something for literally everyone in our covenant community to get involved in. If you are a part of The Gathering, begin praying about how God can use you in our Mission One:Eight in 2010.
There is a new day that has dawned at The Gathering with a new spirit of love, compassion and cooperation being experienced as never before. Our worship experiences are sweet times of refreshing from the Lord and our focus is clear. Praise God for cleansing downpours and fresh movements of His Holy Spirit!