Missions Month of Prayer
It’s more than just a fancy hashtag to use on the interwebs, it’s the foundation of our missiological endeavours at The Bridge Church. We go because Jesus told us to go (Matthew 28:19-20) but we pray, because we want to know where we are called to go, and so every so often we take a month to seek the Lord together and ask the question: “Where are we to be your witnesses?”
Back in the summer of 2015 we called the church together for 30 days of discernment over the very future of our existence as we faced a financial and identity crisis the likes of which this congregation had not faced in generations – and as we did – God spoke and gave us direction, and clarity. One of those things that he gave us clarity on is a series of five core values that undergird our culture and guide our decisions as a church: Trinitarian Worship, Indiscriminate Hospitality, Intentional Cross-Generationality, Transparent Discipleship, and Discerning Prayer. That last core value of discerning prayer is the framework we use to understand and enact the particularwill of God as it pertains to how we live the more generalcommands of Scripture.
In 2016 we asked this same question and received what we have come to speak of as our “Jerusalem Mandate.” That was a sense of guidance to look locally and engage with how we could make an impact on the world from within Winnipeg. A number of different initiatives spun out of that mandate, including an ongoing engagement with a local daycare to lease space in our facility as a service to the neighbourhood, ongoing negotiations with property developers to see more family homes built on the land the church currently holds around our building, and participation in not one, but two refugee sponsorship initiatives (one of which has completed, and the other which is very much still ongoing). In many ways that mandate is not yet complete, but we can see the end of those specific initiatives in the distance, and so your elders thought it prudent to begin to ask the question: What’s next? Or more specifically, “How would God have The Bridge Church participate in his missionary call in 2018/19?”
In faith, last year’s board carved out a percentage of the budget for a new “future missions initiative fund” where we are regularly contributing 2% of General Fund offerings to whatever God leads us to next. That money has already been accruing for 4 months and will continue to grow until we hear from the Lord and decide what to do with it. So what comes next is hearing from God.
And so beginning On May the 6th and lasting for 5 weeks, we have asked that you once again set aside daily times of prayer and reflection to ask God this question. We want you to practice the art of listening prayer that we have been teaching over the last few of years here at The Bridge Church and put your energies into seeking the Lord for direction. To assist you in the work this time we are featuring this initiative every week in the worship service with one of our elders highlighting that week’s area of focus and guiding us in the practice of praying for guidance and discernment. Our hope is that you will leave worship each week feeling equipped and empowered to spend the next seven days listening to God and hearing his voice for the church. Each week we will examine a different region from Jesus instructions in Acts 1:8. Week 1 will focus on Jerusalem (our local context), week 2 will focus on Judea (our cultural context), week 3 will focus on Samaria (a cross-cultural context with common values), week 4 will focus on “the ends of the earth” (a reference to those contexts that are both foreign and hostile to the message of the gospel), and during the last week we will take all that we have heard about the potential opportunities that God may be laying before us and ask the question: “Out of all of these potential opportunities that God has made available to us, where are we called to be his witnesses?”
At the end of this month we are going to join together for a special corporate prayer and discernment service (Our regular, board-led corporate prayer Sunday) on June 10th. At that service we are trusting that God will speak a clear and consistent message to us as a body and that we will receive specific marching orders for what we are to prepare for in the next year to 18 months. We are asking you to bring all five weeks’ worth of notes, scripture references, and impressions from the Holy Spirit with you and to be prepared to share them with the rest of the church as we seek some sort of consensus on what we should do next.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of The Bridge Church, and it only gets more exciting as we lean more and more upon the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our actions. Join us this month as we lean into his will together and come up with a plan that seems good to us, and to the Holy Spirit about how we can get involved in the next year with God’s global agenda.
See you on Sunday,