Jim and I have enjoyed spending some extra time reading about Jesus's birth this December. We have read it together and separately. I listen to it being read from my phone app YouVersion. And it's neat flipping back to some of the old testament prophets who foretold Christ's birth.
Jesus is real. Reading the story of his birth reminds us that he is real. Jesus is not simply the only perfect man. He is not simply an example to emulate. Jesus is the substitute for you and me as imperfect humans. He succeeded in every area of life to cover all our failures and shortcomings. He is THE way that we can have true connection with God.
So, delight yourself in the story of our Savior's birth. Sit down with the Lord and read these passages. If you're married or have kids, I encourage you to read all together.
In roughly chronological order:
Asking Jesus to be the source of your hope, peace, and joy this Christmas and always,
In the meantime, we are in need of your financial support for our growing downtown church. We are grateful to God for continually providing for us!
Below are some items needed for ministry in 2018. If God so leads, please share what He has given you to provide for our ministry downtown!
Thank you for your prayers! We're seeing God bring new people to our gathering each week. Some sneak in and out, some stick around to visit, and some start a Bible study. Yes, I kid you not: we've had an influx of single young men who have joined forces to start a small group. They will walk together in accountability, truth, and encouragement.
People are getting plugged in to set up chairs, greet visitors, share a benediction, etc. We're seeing families open their homes to host their neighbors for the first time. The church is stepping up to care for Jim and me by praying over us and by taking responsibilities off our plate.
Overall, Jim and I are encouraged. We feel incredibly supported by our network of prayer partners and church partners. God has taken the worry of finances off the table for the last several months through some generous givers. Mentors in our lives continue pointing to God's power and faithfulness. I think we're on the life-long journey of seeing a city turn toward our Savior God. The best thing we can do is love Him ourselves. Then we will have love and hope for those neighbors who are far from Him.
Please keep praying for us, for our team, and for our neighbors.
We've been meeting on Sunday mornings in the new gathering space for a month now. We're down to two more practice runs before the real deal. We're expecting over 100 people at the launch service on the 24th. Until that time, our team is marketing the event, inviting our friends, practicing set-up and tear-down, and praying daily for God's will and favor.
We know God is capable of using this gathering to accomplish what we see as impossible: all our neighbors deciding to follow Jesus. Still, if we don't see conversion for every visitor at our grand opening, we will faithfully pursue deepening friendships with every person God entrusts to us. We're asking God that the grand opening would be a conversation starter about Jesus for an atheist, the beginning of friendship with new neighbors, and the start of new life in Christ for others.
A successfully marketed gathering is nothing without Jesus being preached and praised. Please pray with us that our neighbors would continually draw nearer to our Savior!
Pray with us!
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Our first Serve Day was a River Market-only event that included 100 volunteers and accomplished 10 projects. Jim and I (Laura) formed the main planning team. As we neared event day, God sent another couple people who dramatically increased the event’s success (and our sanity). Event participants came from our local community, Kansas suburbs, and partner churches. God got all the praise for the day of beautification and unification!
This time around, God is pushing us to dream big and work big, too. He has rounded up a committee of 13 neighbors— Christians working together with atheists and agnostics. Our team’s goal is to empower our larger community to clean up Kansas City. Besides being generous enough to donate their time, the team is extremely talented in systems, design, planning, and publicity. The September 16th event will bring together over 300 neighbors to complete 24 projects across downtown!
The committee and I invite you to join us for a day to make Kansas City even more beautiful than it already is. Dedicate your time and your muscles to work alongside your neighbors. Let’s keep it clean, KC!
Last night was our last worship gathering at 311 Delaware Street.
Yes, you read that right. Our last gathering.
That is because God is doing something AMAZING and GREAT and PURPOSEFUL here in the River Market! That is because on Sunday August 6, 2017 at 10 AM, River Market Community Church will be holding our first Sunday Morning worship gathering at our new Kansas City location.
There were a lot of firsts that happened in our space at 311 Delaware. Here was the stage for a first-time preacher. Here was a safe space for others to boldly pray out loud. Here new neighbors from Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, & Texas found friends in a new city. Here we prayed together, cried together, celebrated together, sang together, laughed together, planned together, and became knit into the family that loves Christ and loves each other.
As a family, we took many spiritual steps of boldness here and as a church we are ready to continue our journey of growth and change. After all, life with God is a journey of change through life with others.
...life with God is a journey of change through life with others.
So last night we spent a bit of time to share our victories in Christ that we have experienced in our space. We shared how individuals found River Market Community Church through events like Serve Day and Community BBQs at City Market Park. We heard how some had been almost immediate answers to prayers. We even heard of a "family tradition" of church planting that one couple is excited to continue just like their parents had done when they were first married.
We are excited to see where these next steps will take River Market Community Church! If you are interested in learning more about our church, our mission, our community events, or joining our team please contact Laura Hays at email@example.com. If you have a story to share of how RMCC has impacted your life in any way, big or small, leave us a comment!
What's your favorite food?
All of it. However, a medium hangar steak is unparalleled and takes first place.
What's on your bucket list?
Place you've traveled that you'd like to go back to:
London. Loved every second and am trying to figure out a time to go back!
Encouraging Bible passage:
Name of a friend that we can pray to know Jesus:
What you like on your pizza?
Other, miniature pizzas spread about equally. If that's not available, pepperoni, sausage, and extra cheese.
Where do you get your news?
Facebook and Twitter. I know, that's really bad.
Song you know all the words to:
"Tom Sawyer" by Rush
On Saturday, April 1st 108 volunteers came out to serve the Kansas City River Market community. Volunteers planted flowers, spread mulch, and cleaned up around River Market. (We're talking 360 pansies, 43 shrubs and grasses, 25 bags of mulch, and 167 bags of trash!) In addition, a loaded handgun was found and handed over to the Kansas City Police Department. It was great to see so many people happy to serve their community by keeping it beautiful and safe. The atmosphere was not filled with a sense of obligation but instead was filled with eagerness to contribute.
Even the local businesses got involved! The following River Market businesses sponsored this day of service:
It is so exciting to imagine what the success from this first-ever Serve Day could mean for the future. Ideally, it would lead to more days of service in which more members of the community could be involved. Not only would this ensure a cleaner and safer city, it would mean a city whose residents are more in tune with each other, residents who have an effective role in their own community. Thank you to everyone who participated in this event and prayed for it!
Make sure you check out the Kansas City Star article and video!
By Hannah Linn
Growing up, despite the cold weather that is often present in the month of February, there has always been a warm feeling of love and encouragement that came with the month. I've never shared Valentine's Day with a significant other but with family; when family wasn't around, I shared it with friends; and when friends weren't around, I shared it with God.
I've had the privilege of seeing the month of February as a time to recognize the love in my life instead of recognizing the lack thereof. However, like so many who do not share the day with a significant other, I often cannot help but feel like I'm missing out on a special piece of this holiday. When I feel this way I'm reminded of a great example of love in the Bible, which shows how love is more than any romantic Valentine's Day card could express.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
The true definition of love cannot be contained to a single romantic definition. It can be found among family, friends, and above all Jesus. It does not matter if it is found in your relationship with your "special someone", your best friend, or even your most distant family member. Its power transcends all superficial needs and never fails.
Since being here the words from 1 Corinthians 13 have begun to mean more and more. My aunt is a great example of this love. She is patient, kind, and does not easily become angry. Even when things get rough and it seems like everything is messed up, she is always hopeful. Her kids are great examples of love in their own way. They do their best to help out and make each other laugh. For Valentine's Day her youngest daughter spent hours making cards for all her friends and family. Even though these cards were not Hallmark-quality, she made them out of love and so they are worth everything any other card could be worth, and more. I originally came to stay with my aunt's family to show them love, but I have received so much in return.
Even when I have not been able to see it, God has not wavered in putting love into my life--even if it has been through the most unexpected person at the most unexpected times. I don't have to worry about the lack of love in my life when Agape is all around me.
This weekend I (Laura) had the opportunity to follow the Spirit's compassionate leading. I met a woman caught in sex trafficking, and she chose to leave that life behind. She chose to be set free!
I was driving home from work on a chilly day and saw a woman walking along the road. She was wearing flip-flops and a tank top. I offered her a ride because she looked so cold! She explained that her friend had her coat. She asked me to take her to Walmart. I immediately sensed something was off. Her story was a strange one: her family is still in her native Africa. Online dating led her here from Florida. She is staying at the hotel, but "her friend" won't be able to take care of her after tomorrow.
I asked her directly if she needed help, implying by my tone that she was in a dangerous situation. She said yes, and I started making calls. How can I get this woman to a safe place? After she made her purchases at the store, I drove her back to the hotel. She wasn't ready to get out yet, so I left her with my phone number. "Call me when you want out."
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
God's Story in KC
God is working & moving in Kansas City! This is the journey from our perspective.