“Having a missions month reminded our church that we are called to look past our own needs in order to see what God is doing right around us,” said Pastor DeRaaf. “My prayer is that the Spirit will give us the courage to live more intentional and missional lives—not waiting for people to come to us, but willing to serve and bring the compassion of Jesus into all the places we find ourselves.”
Across the Street, Across the Sea
Burlington’s Faith CRC Celebrates “Glocal” Missions By James Bosma
“Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part.”
Two Nicaraguan missionaries shared a version of this Philip Yancey quote with our church team as they walked us through a seminar that they normally provide to Christian leaders-in-training.
Our team of seven was on a one-week trip to Nicaragua to explore a partnership between our Church—Faith CRC—and the Nehemiah Centre. We were in Nicaragua not to labour, but to listen and to learn.
And, despite the vast differences in our countries’ circumstances, we were blessed not only to see many examples of churches and church leaders facing the same challenges that we do in Burlington, but also to see how God is working through many people to accomplish great things.
We returned from our trip with a renewed commitment to explore how we can be conduits of Grace to the low parts in our own city and to seek out places where God is already at work. It turned out that our church’s GO Team (Global Outreach) was already a step ahead of us.
“In December, the GO Team leaders approached me to see if we could have a missions promotion at church to highlight God’s work being done across the globe and right here in Burlington,” said Andrea Huisman, an outreach coordinator at Faith. “We decided to have a month focused on missions, with a different event or theme on each Sunday.”
So for the month of February, Faith held a celebration of missions at home and abroad under the theme Across the Street, Across the Sea. During each week of the month, church members were challenged in a different way to think about how they can live out their own lives with a “glocal” perspective.
The first Sunday service of the month included a Local Missions fair. Nine local organizations were invited to share their vision and mission during the morning service and to set up information booths in the church gym to connect with church members over coffee.
The same format was repeated the following week with nine global missions organizations.
The morning service on the third week included updates on our church’s missionary families. Congregants were invited to sign large greeting cards, and a special collection was held. In the evening service six different church members (and teams) shared their own recent local or global mission experiences.
The month concluded with a Saturday-evening coffeehouse—Café Nicaragua—where members of the recent mission team shared the inspirational narratives of the people they met on their journey.
On the final Sunday, Pastor Kevin DeRaaf commissioned the congregation to follow the Spirit’s leading by connecting with one or more of the various missions in a tangible way.