On Friday, May 11th, I will be traveling to the great city of St. Louis along with a good friend/church member for the purpose of scouting out ministry projects for Graefenburg Baptist Church to engage in during the week of July 23rd. I’m excited about the preview trip and our week long mission effort. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Graefenburg Baptist Church has historically been committed to being a “Great Commission Church.” The good folks at GBC understand the centrality of God’s mission and are devoted to alleviating both temporal and eternal suffering. I now have the incredible privilege of pastoring this fine church and when my appointed time as their shepherd has come to an end, there is a single aspect of my ministry that I hope will have had the most transformative impact on our community of believers. Believe it or not, it isn’t that the people will have a deeper love of theology, which I hope they will. It isn’t that they will start everything with the bigness and sovereignty of God, which I hope they will. My hope is that we will learn to better understand and love the process of cross-bearing for the purpose of Godliness and service. Regardless of how we might argue the smaller details of the question, there is little doubt that the mission of a NT church involves glorifying God through our service to others. “Others Lord, yes others, let this my motto be. . .help me to live for others that I might live for Thee.”
2. We will be working with two church plants in the greater St. Louis area. The North American Mission Board has made clear that part of their refocusing process will be centered on church planting. Working with the excitement of a church plant will not only provide us a great opportunity for long term partnerships with other churches, but will also be a first glimpse for our own folks at GBC into what a church plant looks like and why it is a process we need to begin praying for today. Within 7 years, my prayerful goal is that Graefenburg Baptist Church will be actively pursuing our own church plant.
3. We will be partnering with folks from varying Baptist affiliations. During our preview trip, my friend and I will take part in a city-wide prayer and worship service which will include churches from the SBC, CBF, and ABC USA, as well as folks who are not Baptist in their denominational affiliation. I spend a good part of my time on PhilipMeade.com trying to help folks understand the important differences between these varying affiliations, differences that cannot be ignored. And yet, when we are able to find common ground for the purpose of reaching others, it is a joy to pray and worship alongside believers who might not line up on every issue with one another, but who are willing to see the common need for Jesus Christ.
4. This is a great next step in embracing our “Acts 1:8 Challenge.” That is simply the process of reaching people in our local community, in our state and nation, and around the world. St. Louis is our “Judea and Samaria.”
5. Seeing the St. Louis Arch is always fun.
If you are part of a church and would like to partner with us on our St. Louis project, please send me a message and we can begin chatting about how we can work together for the cause of North America.