Diapers and MissionsBy
I’ll readily confess that “Diapers and Missions” was not the original title of this post, but that title just takes the…(on to missions). This week I have had the privilege of meeting a number of church leaders in the Nashville area and beyond while working with The Upstream Collective founders. Each of these encounters have helped me get a little better understanding of the shifts that are underway at present in U.S. church and the actual or possible implications. All of the churches and leaders that we had the privilege of meeting were serious about being missional in the local and/or overseas contexts. Some things that were quite encouraging for me include:
- The community that Michael Carpenter is cultivating along with a number of other key people at Matthew’s Table, a church in Lebanon, TN. There are so many great stories here including one couple, Dwayne and Megan, that were recently married in the coffee house which also is where the church meets on Sundays and throughout the week. Lots of challenging and exciting things are happening in their lives right now like a lost job in the former category and, in the latter category, a sweet baby girl; a new business selling cloth diapers to feed a family and, Lord-willing, to provide future overseas mission funds and flexibility; a new part-time job at Java Joe’s for Megan; and awaiting baptism in a couple weeks for Dwayne. This family is just one of the stories of how God is showing his saving grace in this missional church plant.
- Meeting Gary Morgan and learning about Mosaic in Nashville–a church that is seeking to be sent missionally to the urbanites in the heart of the city. Like Matthew’s Table–the daughter church of Mosaic–they are living out throughout the week a level of honest discipleship that is guiding both believers and pre-believers to better understand and live what it means to follow Christ. He also shared with me about another church in the area, Christ Presbyterian Church, which is impacting the urban center through an arts school–Salama. It is my understanding that a number of families involved with the church moved from the suburbs into the urban / inner-city areas of Nashville in order to live incarnationally. That is cross-cultural missions in such a healthy way.
- The guys at The Journey Church are impacting lives in the Lebanon and Mt. Juliet areas while also sharing their facilities to advance the Kingdom of God for the glory of God. Running multiple sites, they are allowing Matthew’s Table to set up a coffee shop with an effort to have a church that can engage another cross-section of the population at the adjacent university. Simultaneously, they are exploring partnership opportunities in a couple different parts of the world. That’s cool. That’s missional. That’s encouraging!
- LifePoint Church in Smyrna is stepping-up to pioneer some new ground in having the church serve as missionary. Prepping two teams of multiple families from LifePoint to go and live in Bangkok and Belgium, the church is sending from the church body to plant churches overseas. More on this in the future, but this is advancing the development or the evolution of missions significantly. Press on Pat, Kyle, Tim, and so many others. Continue on course as the sending church.
The sizes of the above churches are different. The personalities involved are all over the map. The peoples they are working with both in the U.S. and overseas vary, but through all of this Christ is exalted. I look forward to seeing some of what God will do through His church as it is expressed in so many ways in central Tennessee and to the nations. We read the words of Christ: “I came to seek and to save that which was lost.” As His people and as His church, may we always be about His mission.