I am writing to you on a Sunday morning. Sun is rising in Montreal, Canada. Laila is still asleep. Today we will be visiting a Haitian congregation and meeting with a young minister that we are hopeful to share a common journey.
After worshipping with him and having lunch together we will head toward New York. The Administrative Bishop of NY has asked us to visit with two pastors to encourage them.
We are approximately 700 miles from home. Normally by this time Laila and I would be at Covenant Church. Today, the ministry of Covenant is in apt hands of excellent leadership of the pastoral staff and elders.
When Laila and I travel we do not talk about the square footage of our buildings, show pictures, or discuss the number of people who attend Covenant. The largest church building we have visited is less than 1/4th the size of Covenant. We intentionally do not want comparison of physical and numerical numbers.
We listen. We prayerfully try to be sensitive to the passion of pastors' families. We listen and hear amazing stories of how the Holy Spirit has empowered them to accomplish noble victories.
In Derby, Vermont, Pastor Larry and Sally Wall hosted us for two days. They are about six miles from the Canadian border. Twenty-nine years after arriving the church has 15 acres, a beautiful worship complex that is generously serving many community needs, a lovely parsonage and numerous community outreaches.
Meet Brother Tim of the Derby church. His ministry is Matthew 25:40. He plants and takes care of a large garden on the church grounds (the soil is incredibly rich). From planting to harvesting Tim cares for the garden, sometimes with help from recovering addicts (therapy). All food is given away. Forty bushels of just potatoes this year.
The congregation's next project is a hospice house. There is no hospice house in the community. The church has $40,000. The cost will be upwards of one million. I am convinced the dream will come to pass.
What I am sharing is that God has warriors on battle fronts. What happens inside the church doors is important, but it only has relevance if it is translated into Jesus living outside the church doors.
The will of a congregation must transcend cultural comfort. The Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 was not commanded with each culture being able to reduce responsibility because of traditional values. "Go" meant GO!
When congregations get lost within themselves they become selfish, narcissistic, carnal and dysfunctional. Inwardness breeds humanistic individuality that justifies sin. While we are uniquely and wonderfully made the gospel beckons us to the cross in common salvation. We walk together in unity proclaiming Jesus.
God has blessed Covenant Church. We have an excellent location, excellent facilities and wonderful leaders. The merit of our being a blessing is testified in how we serve the lonely, hurting, bruised and lost and develop leaders.
No passion is equal to the desire for us to share with others the joy we have found in Christ. Hope is our anchor. The Holy Spirit drives us like a powerful wind into the storm of a carnal world that we may rescue the perishing.
Our mission is clear. We must do what Jesus bids us do. We must not fail. We are His hands and feet until He comes! Grateful to be teaming with you for His Church, Pastor Bare Matthew 28:18-20