When we decided to join the work with 20schemes ministry, we knew there would be a lot of work to do just in getting to Scotland. This meant it would have a significant impact on our calendar from that point forward. So, we needed to strategize, rearrange, and scratch some things off our schedule. This wasn’t an easy process as we generally try to be purposeful in regards to our calendar. One main area of concern was our involvement in our local church…we didn’t want the process of getting to Scotland to negatively impact the fellowship we have in the local church. Here are a few reasons why:
Prayer: I remember first mentioning that we were looking into applying to work with 20schemes for prayer during a Sunday morning class time. We put the request for prayer out there in confidence knowing our local family in Christ would actually pray not just during that time but also in their own prayer time. We know we need prayer and that our local church will pray. Not only so but we want to continue to know and learn how to pray for our fellow believers as well.
Ministry: Preparing for missions is not an excuse to disengage from the local church. The work locally continues on. We believe in the purpose of the local church, its various ministries, and its local outreach endeavors and want to be involved as much as possible. We want to be as useful as we can during our remaining time in the States, not grow less involved. (We go to other churches to share about the work we will be joining in Scotland whenever we have opportunity to do so, but otherwise we want to be with and work alongside our church family.)
Accountability: Regardless of where we are in our walk with Christ, accountability within the local church community is a must. What I mean by this is we need a strong, relational fellowship within a local church in which there is common unity around Jesus, sound teaching, spiritual growth, good encouragement, and an openness to be called out (and to call out) if going astray.
Corporate Worship: COVID should be enough to explain this point. There is no substitute for worshiping the living God together with your local church.
God’s Word: The teaching and preaching of the Word of God is priceless in the life of a believer. Not only so but the best teaching and preaching comes from those who know their hearers and know how to apply God’s Word contextually…this is one of the beauties of a local church.
Encouragement: Our church family has been solid. I’m overwhelmed as I write this just recalling the many prayers, words of encouragement, real help, and partnership that is there. We love our church family and will miss them like crazy when we move to Scotland.
Funding: This point is put here kind of as a funny, but actually it’s true. If those who know you best will not invest in you, that should tell you something! When we had t-shirts made last year to help kick things off, our church family was there to buy them. Our local church is our sending church, our largest prayer partner, and our largest financial partner. There are several individuals within our local church who are partnering with us as well.
During this time of transition we have been renting an apartment that is just half a mile from our local church. This has been a blessing to be so close to and in the same town as our local church. Well, there are many more things to say about the importance of the local church…perhaps in a future post.