Friday, November 9, 2007

Becoming a Missional Church

Tomorrow, Pine Lake Covenant, the church that is planting Missio Lux, is opening its' doors to the public. However, it is not business as usual. As people stream through the doors, they will encounter an African village designed to draw us into the suffering of the Aids pandemic.

How did this end up becoming a reality? Two years ago, Pine Lake was a regular church doing regular church things. But, after a lot of prayer, God broke through and began to show us how to be a church that reaches into the community to build bridges of friendship.

I was at the Leadership Summit with many leaders when another woman and myself viewed the Bono interview with Bill Hybels. While it was taking place, we were literally experiencing a physical reaction as we were convicted that we "must" do something about the suffering due to the Aids Pandemic.

We committed ourselves to meet together regularly to pray. Within weeks, God answered through World Vision approaching us to host the "Aids Experience." But, curiously, the man who presented the idea had this bright orange kit sitting next to him. I asked him what it was, and he explained that it was full of supplies to equip the Caregivers to take care of Aids patients. I knew, then, that God had answered my prayer in a big way. I have been looking for a tool to help bring our community of Sammamish, WA, together to do something much bigger than ourselves. I envisioned filling a shipping container with these Caregiver kits donated and built by the whole community.

It has happened. We have schools, businesses, government, service organizations, scouts, neighborhoods and other churches coming all together to build the kits and we are sending not only one shipping container to Africa, we are sending two containers with 6,500 kits so that Africans know that people on the Eastside of Seattle are reaching to care about an area of the world that often feels forgotten.

It only takes one dream and fervent prayers to see amazing miracles take place. I feel privileged to be part of seeing this dream become a reality.


Dee Henke said...

Dear Tamara,

How I wish I was a Sammamish resident right now to be part of and help with the Aids Experience. So many Aids victims are going to be helped and blessed by the broken hearts in Sammamish. Pine Lake Covenant and the community is such an inspiration to us all. Bless you all. In Christ's love, Dee Henke
(Mom) Love you dearly, Tamara.

partyoffour said...

I've been wondering what it would mean for my family to have our church shift to a missional focus.

Well, let me tell you what it meant for my family today...

As we packed up the last of the AIDS care giver kits during the worship service, my 3rd grader had the insightful idea of including the verse about "As you do onto the least of these..." on her card to the care providers (Thanks Tamara for helping her look up that verse). After writing her card and lovingly placing it in her plastic care giver kit suitcase, unprompted she stood up, placed her hands on top of the suitcase, closed her eyes and silently prayed. (It would be difficult to replicate this kind of spiritual formation in the typical Sunday School class.)

My 4th grade daughter boldly joined others in line waiting to make kits and enthusiastically wrote notes to care givers that thoughtfully included blessings for their families.

My husband's eyes were tearing up as he was moved during prayer in the parking lot while touching the first container of kits being sent to Sudan.

Earlier in the week, while taking a dear friend through the AIDS exhibit, I saw her compassionate heart for the people of Africa stiring with wonder about how she might be called to play a part in bringing hope.

My husband's friend started to explore ideas about when our kids will be old enough that our families could travel together to serve in Africa.

I'd love to know how other families have been affected by shifting to a more missional focus.

Tamara Buchan said...

Dear Party of Four,

Thank you for sharing your insight into how much more impactful it is to have children involved with parents in missional activity. I see that this is one of the biggest fears for parents; not having Sunday School, but how moving to be able to see your children being moved by God and you get to be part of it.

Who else has observed their family being moved as you move outside the walls of a church?

Party of Four said...

I agree that is a big fear. I really don't have anything against Sunday School. But I do think it is ok for kids to have some alternatives instead, as long as there is a good balance of activities and learning that kids can relate to and participate in.

An elderly friend was just telling me that making AIDS kits in church was a lot more interesting than when she used to have to sit through sermons in Swedish as a young girl- She knew how many stars were painted in the front of the church and would count them each Sunday.

Although I'm still not sure exactly what it will look like, hopefully we can experience things that our kids will be excited about - and not go back to the days of counting stars. No doubt it will be interesting!