The Grace Blog

Missional Church Links

Grace Fellowship is in the midst of Spirit-directed change! Throughout the world, God is creating a movement called by several names, some of which are the micro-church movement, the missional church movement, the organic church movement. They all contain elements of where we are headed in 2021 and beyond to become a church without walls and a church with feet. Below you will find a list of online resources that will help you get a handle on what these changes can be about. No one model is a full or complete picture of what we are to be, but God is using all of them to help us put together the unique mosaic of what Grace Fellowship in Lake City, Colorado will be. So spend some time with the links below and be in prayer about how God would shape us from here forward.

Introductions to missional and micro churches

We Are Church Documentary (21 minute video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qheANo68eo&t=6s

SALT Churches Intro (3 minute video) https://youtu.be/2ZALEp01pog

What is a Missional Community? (2 minute video) https://youtu.be/_0c4n_eOCAc

A New Kind of Church, Parker Green (60 minute podcast) https://anchor.fm/salt-churches/episodes/A-New-Kind-of-Church-A-Discussion-About-Micro-Churches-e4uip1/a-akpakh

Ed Stetzer: What is the Missional Church? (7 minute video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT_T88crkog

Meeting in homes

John Piper: Should we meet in house churches? (9 minute video)https://youtu.be/DMc85qqoXpA

The Importance of Discipleship

First Century Discipleship (article) https://bible.org/article/being-first-century-disciple

Alan Hirsch: Obsessed with Discipleship (3 minute video) https://youtu.be/Vn1QpSyvgvI

Roundtable discussion of We Are Church Discipleship (18 minute video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-u2U1BcHg0

Third Places

Engaging Third Places (article) https://www.missionalchurchnetwork.com/blog/engaging-third-places

 

 

 

Being Purposeful in Joy

The lights on the houses are all glowing brightly at night and reflect in the glittering snow, the town tree in the town park is lit up, and everyone is rushing like mad to mail out gifts. It must be that time again—Christmas. For Christians, it is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. The world has a little different take on the holidays, but Christmas is a time that is universally thought of as one of miracles, hope, and kindness. Most of us have seen the movies “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol” and we love them because their message is one of hope.

At a time when Israel was occupied by the Romans, God brought together His divine plan for man’s redemption as foretold, and a virgin, Mary, gave birth to a son. A group of humble shepherds were keeping watch at night over their sheep as they had done many times when suddenly the angels of the Lord appeared and spoke the greatest words of hope that any peoples on earth have ever heard, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11

The angels told the shepherds where to find this baby hidden away in a manger. The shepherds were filled with awe at the angels’ words and went immediately to find this child. When they found Jesus with Mary and Joseph, they repeated to them all that the angels had said to them and all those there were filled with a sense of wonder at God’s promises. The shepherds returned to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”  Luke 2:20

That message of hope and joy for all peoples continues to this present day and our hearts should be overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and joy, especially believers. Unfortunately, life can dull our senses to all but anxieties, hurts, disappointments, and losses we experience in our day to day lives. Preserving our sense of wonder at God’s message of “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” requires purposefulness. There is so much to distract us, including the pursuit of success, money, family, work, and preoccupation with social media. With all this to keep us occupied, it is easy to lose sight of the joy that is ours.

We must be intentional about meditating on that historic, angelic proclamation of joy and the sense of wonder that God could love us enough to send His only son that we might have a personal loving relationship with Him. The world is full of sadness, famine, disasters, and oppressive governments even as it was at the time of Jesus’ birth, as it has been in every age. Yet, God has promised us that He is with us through all difficulties and all joys.

This season as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior let us do more than watch another Hallmark movie or send out the obligatory gifts and cards. My prayer is that in the midst of the chaos that is modern life, we will take time to allow those words of hope and joy to resonate in our thoughts and our hearts until they fill us once more with that sense of wonder and reverential awe that the shepherds and those in the stable experienced that night. And may that joy and wonder that is ours through Christ send us out into a world that is starving for love and kindness to be a blessing!

 

God Bless Us Everyone

Ann Mallory

 

 

Managua Mission Day 7

The time for our departure from the beautiful country of Nicaragua and all of our friends there had arrived, but not before one more significant celebration. This was Christmas Party day at Oasis de Esperanza school, and the last big event of the school year before graduation, takes place this coming weekend. All of the kids return to school on this day for a specially-prepared meal and receiving of gifts!

When our van arrived, the elementary kids were just beginning to gather for a major assembly in the cafetorium, many of them decked out in red elves’ hats. Their excitement was palpable as they knew what was coming! After some brief opening remarks by Alvaro, several of the classes sang Christmas songs, and some of the students recited Bible verses. A silly race was played, and then the kids were dismissed to their classrooms.

Once back in their classrooms and with their teachers in attendance, it was time for our team to spring into action with helping to distribute gifts, candy, and meals! Marcia and Caron helped hand out the excellent chicken meal prepared by the kitchen staff, and Todd and Lyn got to play Santa and Santa’s helper.This was especially appropriate for Todd, sporting a new white beard. The kids were great, and many expressed thanks and gave hugs for what they received. In the sweltering 90 degree heat it may not have felt like Christmas, but the Christmas spirit was certainly there.

When the elementary kids were dismissed, we had a brief break in which we and the staff were able to sit down and eat, and then shortly after the upper grades appeared. This group was smaller than the 250 elementary aged kids, perhaps numbering about 150. They, too, had a few musical numbers and then the school’s Vida Joven leaders gave an effective pitch for Young Life., The surprise of this assembly, however, was the presentation of a special gift to Wayne and Elaine. A large wrapped cylinder was brought in and placed at their feet, which was revealed to be a red carpet, and was unrolled before them. Other than the obvious honor to them (especially significant on this their 37th wedding anniversary), the carpet will be used in the future for other school functions, such as graduations. Wayne and Elaine were both obviously touched, and Wayne expressed a few words of heartfelt thanks and a sharing of the Gospel.

When the older kids were dismissed to their classes, they, too, were served the meal and age-appropriate gifts such as watches and diaries were handed out. The party broke up at about 3:00, and the kids filtered out the gate, leaving mostly the staff and our team alone in what now felt like a very empty space. What life-changing events had occurred over many years within the walls of Oasis de Esperanza! Kids have received love and nurture here, been fed nutritious meals, have experienced the fulfillment of performing to their family and community, have graduated with a solid Christian education, and have come to faith in Jesus.

As we bid “hasta proxima año” (until next year) to our friends, none of us could doubt that the impact of the school extended beyond the students, and into the lives of those who, like ourselves, visited even for a short while. Dios te bendiga, Oasis de Esperanza!

Our flight for Florida leaves at 2:30 AM, in about four hours. We are scheduled to arrive in snowy Denver at 12:45 tomorrow afternoon and then drive back to Lake City. Prayers appreciated! It has been an encouraging trip, both for us and for our friends here. Thanks for participating with us.

 Making a living in Managua.

 Legendary traffic on the way to the school.

 Our lifeline in Acahualinca Barrio for water, Gatorade, and all sorts of exotic snacks!

 The kids gather for the Christmas assembly.

 Brian and friend.

 Wayne and Elaine get the red carpet treatment.

 Caron helped serve meals in the classrooms.

 Todd, aka Santa Claus.

 The smile says it all.

 Wayne handling a full tray of meals.

 Gerald and friends.

 Sarah, Jedidah’s daughter, who graduated a couple of years ago.

 Juan Carlos, 10th-grader friend of Karen and Hailey, and Lyn.

 We could not have done any of this without our translator Jhonny Flores. Thanks, Jhonny, for all of your hard work!

 The team receives a farewell prayer from Alvaro.