What New Ministry Might God be Calling You Into?
How I am learning to love my city
What a difference one year can bring. Twelve months ago I was leading a prominent church in Kansas City, but God had a different plan. One day in my quiet time, as I sat with my Bible, a cup of coffee, and my journal, I heard what I considered God’s prompting. It was simple and profound: “Follow me.”
The funny thing is, I thought I had been following. This call reminded me of the passage in Matthew 4:19 where Jesus calls the disciples to leave their day jobs to fish for people. As I pondered God’s leading that day and in the weeks that followed, I came to the conclusion that God was asking me to leave what was known for a different kingdom purpose. I was being called to the unknown, to city-reaching ministry—to help lead Kansas City to fullness of life in Jesus.
Jesus calls each of his disciples to follow daily. The Spirit still speaks. Keep reading. The Scripture is powerful and the application personal. Your ministry decisions might not be as dramatic as my choice, but it’s clear that God often leads us to step outside our familiar footing. I invite you to see anew the mission field of your daily life—where you live, work, study, and play. As disciples of Jesus, our task is to help the people around us hear God’s words speaking to them, so they too can follow.
Loving the City
As I pursued my new calling, I founded a new ministry called Love KC. Our focus is on mobilizing our city to pray and serve together. The tactic is simple: to lead the followers of Jesus in our city to pray the same Scripture together each week. When people engage with the Scriptures, lives change. What could happen if a whole city made Scripture a daily part of their life? Could it change Kansas City? Could it change your city? I believe so!
I choose a different Scripture passage every week and we place it on an iconic picture of Kansas City. Then we post this image on social media or through email for people to read and share. After five months of this, we estimate 10,000 people are now participating weekly. People have a natural, built-in hunger for the Word of God.
Reaching the City
The mission part is this: We seek to see every neighborhood in Kansas City adopted by someone who will do three simple things: Pray, Care, and Share. We ask them to pray for their neighbors by name daily. We ask them to care for others as the Holy Spirit leads. And we ask them to share their life, their life story, and the story of Jesus. Every day I ask people to step into the unknown with Jesus. We have been given God’s Word and the Spirit gives us application. We just have to listen and respond. Jesus called his disciples “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). In our area, we’ve been asking modern disciples to be a “light” to their neighborhood. In just a year’s time we have over 1,182 people volunteering for this. And as these people faithfully pray, care, and share, we estimate that God’s Word is reaching over 22,000 homes in Kansas City.
But it doesn’t stop there. We also encourage those volunteers—the “lights”—to meet together in missional communities that study God’s Word together, pray, and envision what ministry could look like where they live, study, work, or play. The Community Bible Experience (CBE) is one natural tool we’ve used to share God’s Word in neighborhoods. In Kansas City we find the CBE approach not only acceptable to the nominally churched, but appealing.
American Bible Society, in partnership with Barna, recently surveyed the Kansas City metro area. Not surprisingly 84% of the “church goers” said “I’m curious to know what the Bible said." But this may surprise you, 46% of the “non church goers” said, “I’m curious to know what the Bible said” too. Surveys like the Willow Creek “Reveal” study remind us that the number-one indicator for spiritual growth is Bible engagement and there is no close second.
I’m learning that people want to be a part of the good stuff Jesus does in the lives of their neighbors. Seldom does someone pray and engage in the Scriptures, even for just thirty days, without seeing God’s fingerprints all around them. Sometimes the greatest effect is the change in a person’s heart. The shy reach out beyond themselves and they see a neighbor’s heart warmed. The bold learn to rein in ambition and become a friend who listens—first to the Holy Spirit and then to their neighbor. Nearly every day I hear someone say, “I got to pray for my neighbor who is going through a hard time,” or “I got to share my faith and my coworker listened.”
Join the Movement
The prayer-care-share way of loving God and loving your neighbor sounds like the stories in the book of Acts, doesn’t it? Prayer and the Word bring the divine into our everyday world. This could be your story too. Listen for the call of Jesus and follow. Pray, read God’s Word, and follow.
Sure, this new outreach can be scary, even for leaders, but our God is a God of the new thing, as the prophet Isaiah said, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:19 NLT).
Maybe God has something new for you.
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