We capped off our "You Can Change" sermon series with an open mic time. Individuals from our church shared how God has worked in their lives in this season to transform their hearts and behaviors. We clapped, cried, and cheered hearing about how God's been moving. He has comforted, convicted, and conformed us into his image. Go, God!!
The stories shared included:
Praise God for his POWER to change our church. Know that when you present yourself to him in humility, he will ACT!
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
One of the major ways we serve our neighbors is through planning community events. This allows non-Christians to participate in God's work of restoration, even though they don't yet understand that. Our goal is to be a safe people for them to share their doubts with. We hope to see our neighbors choose to follow God!
At the end of March, Passport KC threw a series of events to raise awareness and money for S.A.C.R.E.D., a nonprofit that helps the families of children who have been sexually abused. You'll see photos from the Mother Daughter Tea at Shang Tea Company and Networking for a Cause at Plexpod in the Crossroads. This all raised $2,000, increased the faith of our planning committee, and laid the groundwork for a second event in 2019.
Thanks for praying!
Jim and I (Laura) are expecting our first child in early September. We're thrilled and grateful that God has given us a child, and we covet your prayers for continued health! As God grows my stomach with no help or intervention from me, I'm reminded that RMCC is God's church, and God grows his church by his power alone, for his glory alone, AND at his pace alone. Jim and I are growing in faith and gratitude seeing God work.
The Passport KC planning committee has three events downtown leading up to Easter. Please attend if you live in KC, and spread the word on Facebook. Also, pray the events would develop relationships and spread the Gospel!
Another update on our 2018, Taking Root prayers is that our Community Groups will launch on Easter. We're two-thirds of the way through a training curriculum for the group leaders. Jim and I are being convicted and refined by this same training in gospel-centered community. Starting in April, we'll have four groups meeting weekly to connect, care for, and train up our church family. Please pray for the church members and our non-Christian neighbors who sign up to participate in a community group!
Since our launch last September, we've welcomed first-time visitors to every single Sunday morning gathering. Our neighbors near and far are hungry for spiritual truth and meaning. "Pray that I can be born again," one woman L wrote on her welcome card. It's a privilege to shepherd these tender hearts into the Gospel--purpose and freedom provided through Jesus!
Already in 2018, God is strengthening our church for the future in several ways:
A married couple K & P visited for the first time on New Year's Eve; they chose to join in the training for Community Group leaders. K & P met while serving as counselors at a Christian camp and feel called to continue serving God in their daily lives and through the local church. We're amazed at how God continues to bring fresh workers to our body!
1. Launch 4-6 community groups (a.k.a. small groups) on Easter
2. Throw 2 large community events: Passport KC on Easter and Serve Day in September
3. Formalize a church membership process in the Fall
4. Carry out a year-long leadership development program with the men in our church (to feed into a 2019 deacon and eldership training)
5. Raise $20,000 of additional support (one-time or monthly giving)
6. Have 100 regular attendees at worship by year-end
Thank you for covering these goals and our ministry in prayer!
We'd like to share an update with all our financial supporters and prayer partners out there! God is doing amazing things in Downtown Kansas City!
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.