We’re grateful to God for an amazing Outside the Walls (OTW) event Saturday, June 25. We were blessed to have 23 families attend the event with a total attendance of between 75 to 100 people. The purpose of the event was to provide a space where we as a church could begin and enjoy making relationships within the one to two square miles surrounding our meeting space. There were many smiles, much laughter, and fun times.
Outside the Walls is a very fitting name for this ministry focus. For me, it calls the church to pursue ministry with Jesus from three perspectives:
- Outside the Walls of the church’s physical meeting space.
- Outside the Walls of the body and mindset of the congregation.
- Outside the Walls of the individual as we are called out of our comfortable spaces to join Jesus in his ministry.
Our collective hope going into the weekend was that we would make it to the other side of the event with our wits about us. Of course, I say that in jest because hosting this event was a big endeavor for such a small group. We had fears of spending too much money, not finding enough sponsors, not logistically meeting our guests’ needs on an extremely hot day. We wondered, would anyone show up? Even in the midst of those fears, God showed himself to be very loving and patient with us. I would encourage those planning a neighborhood event to remember that we are seeking to see what Jesus is already doing in our neighborhoods and join with him in those endeavors.
While it is important that we encourage our new friends to come to visit us in fellowship and worship, our focus is to help them come to know that they are loved by us and by our loving triune God. Now that we are visible to our neighbors, we must move to the next step of consistently showing them that we genuinely care about who they are as people, as neighbors, and as God’s dearly beloved children.
Truly, our hope was to engage our neighborhood for the sake of making ourselves known so our neighbors would see that we cared for them and in doing so, they would see the love of Christ. In that, I think we were very successful!
But we also recognized the need to tweak our approaches, which received a great deal of “high support and high challenge” from the home office and regional support teams. Everyone really poured out some much-needed tough love to help us enter the process of renewal. We now have a renewed focus and purpose after receiving some great coaching from Heber Ticas.
After this experience, we know our limits better, but we also discovered the mighty things that can happen when we diligently seek the lead of the Holy Spirit and trust one another in our giftings. Overall, we feel really excited about what the future holds here in GC South Kansas City. Please keep us in prayer as Jesus rids us of old ways of doing church, and we enter into the fruitful realm of being the church in a fully-engaged-with-the-Holy-Spirit way!