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Extended Report on March 3rd Event -- by Gary Groening

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Extended Report on March 3rd Event -- by Gary Groening

On March 3rd, a group of 33 church mission leaders representing 14 churches of various denominations met to network and share about their efforts for mission, both local and global. This initial gathering was sponsored by The Sending Project, a non-profit organization designed to build a city-wide alliance of churches to work together strategically on mission. Eric Rochester (Director of The Sending Project) opened the meeting with enthusiasm for the many people attending and gave God the glory for bringing the churches together.

Each leader had an opportunity to express what their church is doing in the mission field. Some leaders were brand new to missions, expressing a need for assistance in getting started; and others were old timers with over 30 years of experience, more than willing to give assistance. Ideas were shared about how to involve their congregation in the mission ministry, from simple such as a Zip-Lock bag program for needed supplies, to more involved, such as Blitz Day on April 2nd with a goal of involving 60-70% of the church serving the community.

David Smale (Cedar Ridge Christian) stated, “Missions empowers people in the congregation to do ministry.”

There were statements on ensuring quality and responsibility, particularly with short term trips. An interesting fact was brought up: One million people go on short term trips a year involving 45,000 churches and organizations. If these efforts are not done well, the gospel is robbed of its power.

Brady Testorff (First Baptist Platte City) succinctly stated what many felt, “Missions helps grow people. It changes their hearts. It causes them to be less career oriented.”

Jeanette Thomas (Christ Community Evangelical Free) gave insight by stating, “Missions is incarnational. It’s similar to Jesus, from God to man. In the same manner, missions asks us to be incarnational via the cross, in particular, suburban America to another culture.”

Many causes and efforts were reported. Locally, many urban ministries were highlighted: The Hope Center and Urban Scholastic Center, both urban youth ministries; support for the homeless such as City Union Mission, Emancipation Station and Freedom House; a crisis pregnancy ministry; Mission Adelante, a ministry to the Hispanic community, and ministries to the immigrants in the KC area.

Globally, numerous countries were mentioned, including the following: Kenya, India, Russia, Hungary, Rwanda, China, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, Israel, Haiti, Malawi, and Guatemala. Interesting stories connected with these global ministries were shared. A young Mexican woman is a missionary serving the Burmese refugees in Thailand. A multi-national approach to missions in one person! In Hungary the government adopted a Christ centered program for the youth in public schools called Threshold for Life.

Phil Matthews (Heartland Community) shared about his involvement with a business/missions partnering. Mastercrafts is a flooring company from West Plains, Missouri. This business sponsors a full time missionary in Albania. They are also involved in a flooring manufacturing plant in China that has regular church services in the factory and has started an orphanage.

Upon hearing of the many and varied missions efforts employed by these 14 churches, many of the attendees were moved. Comments made as the evening drew to a close were:

“I am proud to hear what all of you are doing. Love Jesus. Do this so the world will know.”

“My world thinks I’m crazy. Nice to be around fellow crazies!”

“Think what we can do with each level of involvement: individually, in small groups, as a church, as a community of churches; with each level the influence is exponential.”

A statement made by Schaun Colin (Westside Family) summed it up. “Tonight nobody talked about doctrine, denominations; we talked about what God is doing through us as Christ follower. We are members of the same team. Why not work together? The church of Jesus Christ can actually get along!”

Eric Rochester thanked everyone for their passion and heart for mission. “It’s not about us, but about the world. Our city of churches extends to the world.” As people stood up upon dismissal they stayed and talked with each other, busy making new friends and building the KC Church community of church mission leaders. God is clearly doing great things through these local churches in KC as they connect with God’s mission in the world.

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