It is official! The summer season of ministry is here! No doubt, many of you consider that old news since “stay at home” orders and school closures hastened summer’s arrival. But the heat and recent tropical weather serve as indicators that we are indeed transitioning to a different time. And typically, this season is filled with mission/ministry opportunities in our communities and across our globe. In fact, we usually celebrate the beginning of summer mission efforts and look with anticipation for a concerted mobilization of our people. The summer serves as a vital moment in our missionary enterprise! And so, it shall be this year as well!
Certainly, life and ministry do look different for us. Even now, I should be preparing to leave for Hungary next week in order to lead English camps in local churches; but as we know, our international trips have been canceled. Similarly, our high school students would be readying for their Boston trips; our college students would be off to work at Christian camps or participating in GenSend; and our children would be eagerly awaiting day camps like WinShape. Much has changed. Yet, I submit to you that God still gives us some tremendous opportunities even now to make a difference. For example, we will host our first LoveLincoln event this Saturday as we seek to minister specifically to single parents/guardians. We will not only provide some physical assistance (a gas card, a meal card, etc.), but we will also offer some free resources to encourage the families in their spiritual journey. We just want to love on our community and be a blessing to these families.
In addition, we are on the cusp of our first Staycation Bible School! I have always been grateful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to participate in Vacation Bible School in years past. I love seeing the children overwhelm our campus with their excitement and energy. And how awesome is it to see them learning the love and work of Christ! And while that may not take place at the church building this year, it can still happen in our homes and communities. Sally, Jessica, and the staff have worked hard to produce resources for you to have Bible school in your home and/or community. If you aren’t comfortable being around other people at this time, use this occasion to study as a family. Have a great time together! And if you are okay with inviting people over, utilize the resources to host a Neighborhood Block Party. To me, this could be a tremendous opportunity to reach even deeper into our communities and share the good news of Jesus Christ!
You see, we are finding tangible ways to be missional right where we are. To date, we have recorded 595 gospel conversations that have taken place this year. (Remember that every time you report a gospel conversation to us we add a green ball with that person’s initials to our display, so please send us a message/call/relay those conversations so we can pray and celebrate with you.) To me, that is a tremendous testimony in and of itself!
But we haven’t stopped at our parish line in our missionary efforts. We continue to look to support missionary endeavors elsewhere as God gives us the opportunity. For instance, some of our college students are actually serving at camps (e.g. Pine Cove) that are open. In July, a group of 38 high school and middle school students is preparing for a ministry trip to Austin, Texas. And thanks to your continued faithfulness in giving, we have been able not only to fulfill our financial commitments to our missionary partners, but we have been able to increase our support. Last month, we disbursed additional supplements to Story City Church (Los Angeles), Multiply Church (Calgary), and Harbor City Church (Boston). This has been big! Half of Multiply Church’s congregation immediately lost their jobs, and their income plummeted. Our assistance is allowing for vital ministry to continue. Likewise, Harbor City communicated how the funds allowed them to reach their community. If you recall, we had budgeted money to assist our short-term mission team in their soccer camps; but when events were canceled, we forwarded them what we had budgeted. They are utilizing those funds to minister to those who had signed up for the soccer camps!
There are so many more examples I can give (and I will in the days to come!), but let me just say that missions and ministries continue! God is good! Yep, all the time! And I am so thankful He allows us to be a part of His work! See you Sunday!