Members and Friends of Mission Church,
The word CULTIVATE is defined:
- to prepare and work on
- to promote or improve the growth by labor and attention
- to develop or improve by education and training
- to devote oneself to
In 2018, we are going to prayerfully CULTIVATE our affections toward Jesus, His Church, His Mission, and our city. We can easily drift toward complacency in our relationship to these matters, simply expecting God to “act” while we continue in disobedience. If we look biblically and historically there appears to be some common characteristics in God’s people when He brings a revival or awakening.
Beginning on January 1st of 2018 we are calling Mission Church to CULTIVATE your/our relationship with Jesus by joining us in daily participation in 6 Biblical practices very intensely for 31 days. Our prayer is after focusing on these practices for 31 days they will become spiritual habits for us as a community of faith.
Pastor John Snyder, in Behold Your God, makes the following observations:
In revival, the manifest presence of God is evident to all involved regardless of their response to it. However, the cultivated presence fo God may be enjoyed by an individual or group while others are unaware of His nearness. Our aim in cultivating our spiritual lives is to place ourselves/church in position to which God would be pleased to come near. Not only can your life be filled with God’s presence; it can also become a catalyst to those around you. When they see you walk with God, they want to know that kind of life as well. Be careful not to misunderstand this categorical description. God cannot be cultivated or manipulated into drawing near His people by anything they do. Yet His people may cultivate the type of life to which He delights to draw near.
Will you join us?
Prayer, Praise, and Teaching Nights
During the month of January we are going to take a break from our Missional Communities to gather for special nights of prayer, praise, and teaching. Please make plans to attend these evenings. Make them a priority.
- January 10: 6:30-7:30pm A night of prayer: Pastor Justin leading, and hosted by the Bryan and Bethany Lewis. There will not be a meal provided on this night.
- January 17: 6:00-8:00pm A night of teaching on sanctification: Thomas Weakly, Campus Crusade for Christ, will be leading. Hosted by Matt and Lindsey Flanders. Please bring an appetizer and drink to share.
- January 24 : 6:30-7:30pm A night of prayer: Pastor Todd leading, and hosted by the Crosby’s. There will not be a meal provided on this night
- January 31: 6:00-8:00pm A night of prayer and praise about what God has shown us in the last 31 days.Hosted by Todd and Jen Hazel. Please bring an appetizer and a drink to share.
On Sunday we will be passing out a 31-day Bible reading plan. We are asking each of you to use this as a guide for daily devotions. The goal is to have everyone reading/praying the same text for 31 days.
Along with the reading guide, there will be specific people/requests to pray for each day. We would also encourage you to journal these prayers and devotions.
We are going to encourage everyone to fast a meal/day every Tuesday during the month of January. The concept of fasting is always paired with prayer. The idea is as your body craves food, it physically illustrates how we should be hungry and thirsty for Jesus. Don’t just skip a meal to skip a meal, use the time you would be eating to read and pray more.
We are also going to ask you to consider fasting from Social Media/Television/Excessive Internet for 31-days. These “good” things often become “gods” in our lives. We are calling you and your family to hit the reset button. We want to encourage you to spend this time reading, praying, playing games etc. with your family and friends. Many times we use the excuse of not having enough time for devotions, family time, or cultivating our marriages. By doing a simple search of how much time the average person spends on their smart phones/television, you will see we are spending around 10 hours a day on these devices. If we are honest, we do have enough time, what we don’t have is our priorities in order.
When we read the New Testament we see the early church was not concerned with percentages of giving, but having a generous heart that included time, talent, and treasure. What would it look like to belong to a church where all of its members were all in?
Here are some examples of what we mean by all in:
- Daily pursuit of Jesus
- Daily pursuit of family and church-family
- The Sunday gathering and Missional Communities are a priority every week
- Not waiting on others, but taking ownership
- Not self-seeking: What can I get? vs. What can I give?
- Inviting de-churched and non-christians to gathering and Missional Communities
- Pursuing the “one another” passages in scripture (Used 100 times, 47 times those verses are instructions to followers of Jesus to experience in the church)
We need everyone to give generously of their time and talent and treasure. Specifically we are calling you to give in two ways to the mission.
1. We want you to give generously to our weekly operating budget. By cultivating a culture of financial generosity we are able to give generously as a body to missionaries, church planters, and local partners. The assumption should be that we are all giving 10% of our gross income, however when reading stories of the early church it appears they were not concerned with a percentage as much as a generous heart that lead them to give sacrificially well beyond the traditional tithe.
2. We desire as a community of faith to have a place to gather for worship, training, and sending. A house does not make a family, but every family needs a home. We have been praying, seeking, and exploring options for the past five years, but in God’s providence nothing has materialized.
We are trusting God to provide in His timing, however we want to actively wait upon Him. In 2018, we have a goal to raise $100,000 outside of our operating budget. In discussing the matter with other pastors, banks, and developers we have come to understand in order to have a building one day then we need to have a large amount of money in a savings account. One day this money could be used as a percentage toward a building loan or could help retrofit a current space. We believe $100,000 dollars is very doable in a year. We need to find at least 100 people to give $1000.
Recently, Pastor Eric was speaking with a supporter/non-member of Mission about our desire for space and the upcoming plan to raise $100,000 in 2018. By God’s grace this family sent us a check for $4500 to go toward our goal! We were all deeply humbled by this gift and encouraged by people (even outside of Mission) that believe in our desire to be gospel-centered in worshipping Jesus, making disciples, and multiplying.
Please mark on your checks or online giving if you are giving to the CULTIVATE2018 special offering. This is a big move for us as a young church. Our prayer is we would raise far more than $100,000 and be able to go into a building debt free one day.
We want to encourage each of you to consider how you can spend more time with other members/attenders of Mission. Over the next 31 days we are calling you to phone, text, write cards, have coffee, and meals with others from Mission. Invite people to your home for dinner. Instead of rushing home after the Sunday gathering, make plans with different families each week for lunch. A cheap fast-food meal with others will deepen our faith family. Cultivating relationships is key to us locking arms in worship, disciple making, and multiplying.
If you are married, have a date night once a week. This means you may need to get a baby-sitter or it could mean that after the kids go to bed you and your spouse spend time talking, playing a game, and enjoying each others company. Dating doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be cultivated. Being roommates is not a marriage. It takes work, dedication, communication, and a lot of Jesus. Take the next 31-days to hold hands and pray together every night. Yes, it will be awkward on day 1, but on day 31 it will be very precious.
If you have kids, try to have every meal sitting around a table. Have a short 5min devotional. Read the daily devotional you are going to be given around the table and pray together. Ask each other about the day. Pursue your kids heart and dreams. Share hopes and struggles. Preach the gospel to each other. Your kids are watching you and will be bent toward imitating your marriage and your relationship with Jesus.
We all have family, friends, and neighbors who are de-churched or non-believers. We want to encourage you to pray, eat a meal, and invited them into your home and one of our gatherings. Our Missional Communities are not closed groups but opportunities for you to invite friends who may not attend a Sunday gathering to join us for a meal and study. Its been proven over and over again that people don’t attend church gatherings because they haven’t been invited. In 2018, lets invite people to join us, but even more importantly lets share the gospel with others and invite them to repent and turn to Jesus.
Thank you for considering joining us on this mission. Our prayerful aim is to see our affections for Jesus explode over the next month and for a gospel-centered culture to be cultivated in Mission Church.
We love you!