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Bright Lights — How Foreign Missions Has Affected My Mission At Home

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By: Dustin Walker

After traveling to South Asia recently for the fourth time, I’ve come to accept and expect some things:

  1. Airplane meals are just glorified microwaveable meals… and I eat them regardless.
  2. Long flights make my feet swell.
  3. Seeing the gospel at work in another culture always affects my perspective at home.

Don’t worry I’m not going to spend time unpacking the first two things. They pretty much speak for themselves.

How have these things affected my perspective here at home? In the past, our short-term trips to South Asia, Peru, and Portland have shaped and influenced my understanding of cross-cultural ministry, social justice, and especially the area of discipleship.

For example, our journey toward starting D Groups started out of reflections from our initial trips to South Asia and understanding what 2 Timothy 2:2 means for our context.

[BTW, if you’d like to better understand the context of this latest trip and our partnership in South Asia in general then I’d encourage you to read this month’s mission newsletter. Sign up today so you can receive a monthly update and stay prayerfully engaged with what is happening in our mission partnerships.]

So what have I learned from this last trip that might apply to us here in Murfreesboro? I think it is best summarized this quote from missionary CT Studd: “The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.”

And here’s what that should mean to you and me. As we see how the gospel is working through our church to reach the nations we should desire an even greater gospel work here in our own community.

Perhaps we should follow our July Fighter Verse (1 Cor. 11:1) and follow the example of our brothers and sisters in South Asia as they obediently take the gospel to hard places around them. Men and women have committed themselves to share about Jesus and inviting them to respond by following him. And people have!! God is so faithful to his word. He will build his church (Matthew 16:18)!

Here are ways that we can imitate our brothers and sisters in South Asia and become a brighter light here at home.

Pray and Prepare

City Church will you begin to pray and prepare to see where God has placed you to share the gospel? Your family, neighborhood, work environment, and a network of relationships are your field. Will you begin to pray that God would go before you as you commit to sharing the good news about Jesus to the people in your path?

Share the Gospel

The next step involves actually sharing the gospel, not just thinking about, praying about, or hoping to share the gospel. What I’m talking about is actually inviting people into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ with your words. You can share your story as well as Christ’s story. We even have a resource for you to learn more about how to do that. But these are ways not just to share facts but to invite people to follow Jesus.

Disciple

Discipleship involves a lot of things. Once people have responded to the gospel and followed Christ, we must help them to grow in their faith. This comes from reading scripture and prayer. It involves confession and repentance while remembering the gospel. It also consists of walking through suffering. Following Jesus means learning and imitating Christ in every area of our lives. And we do this together with the help of one another.

Gather Together and Form Healthy Churches

Healthy evangelism and discipleship also attach themselves to God’s people, the church. And as Christians, the church becomes our spiritual family. The church, though made up of imperfect sinners redeemed by God’s grace, is God’s “Plan A” for declaring his glory to the world (Eph. 3:10). And we must commit ourselves not just to a person (to Jesus) but also to a people (the church) to healthily grow in faith.

Send Out Men and Women to Continue This Gospel Task

Until Christ returns, we must seek to finish the task of repeating this process over and over in the joy and power of God’s Spirit. What a privilege! What an opportunity! Perhaps you go to another neighbor, classmate, city, or even country. But the task is not complete until Jesus returns.

I can tell you that we are seeing the light of the gospel shining far through our City Church mission partnerships. Here’s my question to you: Will you be a person from City Church to make the gospel shine brightly here in Murfreesboro?

   
           
   
Posted by Dustin Walker with

Interview On A Plane

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By: Dustin Walker

A realtor, an engineer, and a pastor walk onto a plane.

That may sound like the beginning of a low-quality joke but in reality, describes the start to a short-term mission trip that April Giesey, Christian Taylor, and myself took over the recent President’s Day weekend.

We headed to Portland, OR to visit some of our church planting partners. Paul and Kristen Hoffman moved with their two kids nearly three years ago to plant Kaleo.

We went to serve alongside them, to learn from them about ministry in their context, and simply to just encourage their church family during the (literal) dark months of the year.

Here is an interview we conducted as we caught up with them.

Q: What appealed to you about going to Portland?

April: I like traveling and supporting the people we support (as a church). I'd also heard from others who had been that it was worthwhile.

Christian: I thought it would be helpful for me and a learning opportunity. And I like to travel.

Q: Did you know a lot about Kaleo Church or our church planter before going?

April: Not a ton. Knew they were there and we supported them.

Christian: I knew there was a church named Kaleo. That’s about it.

Q: What is one thing you hoped the Lord would do on this trip?

April: That we could be an encouragement to their church and learn more about their physical and spiritual needs.

Christian: I was hopeful that reveal himself more to me through serving.

*Side note. I think we accomplished these things. Spending time with the people of Kaleo was great. Just hearing their stories reminded me of how people became part of City Church when we were first starting out.

Couples already in the city joined their team, couples had their first kids, people found jobs and use them to share the gospel, and they are reaching their neighbors and serving them in practical ways.

Q: What did you do with your time there?

April: Met members ‍of Kaleo, served at Scott School, prayed with their team at the Sunday brunch, and heard about their vision and gathered video to share with City.

Christian: Enjoyed the atmosphere, immersed ourselves in the culture to understand what it looks like to reach people in Portland and how much different it looks like from the south.

Q: How will this affect your view of Murfreesboro and how you engage the people at City Church?

April: I'm thankful for the differences of the challenges we face as a church. Grateful to be able to help Kaleo. The soil that we share the gospel in is a lot more fertile.

Christian: Though it seems difficult to share the gospel at times in Murfreesboro, it is a lot easier. Portland is a place where people are generally without any connection to the gospel. In Murfreesboro at least people are familiar with Jesus and church.

Q: What would you tell someone who is considering going on a short-term trip whether to Portland, Peru, or South Asia?

April: Pray about it and follow the Spirit and scripture. These trips are very life-giving and encouraging to the people we serve and to us as we serve, so it's worth going and being the hands and feet of Jesus in our city and the cities we love and partner with.

Christian: I would encourage anyone to go and serve in some capacity, not in your own city or comfort zone. You are helping others and seeing what positive influence you can have one someone else's life

All in all, I believe our random trio of a realtor, engineer, and pastor from City Church was used by God to encourage a church planting team. And in the process, God will use those experiences to shape our efforts to share the gospel right here in Murfreesboro.


And that’s why you should go on a short-term trip.

We’ve got several happening through the summer and into the fall whether to Portland, Peru, or South Asia. You can find out more info by emailing and by checking out our webpage for more details.

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