I'm a couple weeks behind on the blog so there is some major catching up to do. We have had a lot going on and God has definitely been with us and his Spirit has quite obviously been going before us. The week of June 23-30 we were visited by a mission team from Trinity Baptist Church in Ada, OK and it was awesome to say the least. The team encouraged me, my wife, my family and our church with their love of God, their joy and their energy. We worked them hard and they demonstrated a tremendous missional heart and faith in God. And God honored it.
A couple of stories. Trinity hosted The Pathway's first VBS and it was focused directly on The Pathway kids, their friends, and the Evergreen neighborhood right around The Spot (our church building). The first day did not kick off the way everyone had planned. We had a smaller turn-out than expected, the kids were a little more wild and crazy than the team expected, and it was a perfect opportunity for discouragement. But the team decided to believe God for what he had called them to do and they regrouped and pressed on.
As the week progressed the team continued to pray, prepare and hit the neighborhood streets to invite new kids. They prayer walked, had "intentional" lunches at our local park and constantly engaged people with the love of God and and gospel of Jesus Christ. It was beautiful to watch and God honored it. One of the first days of prayer walking some of the girls invited a little girl to come to VBS. She seemed excited but didn't come. Later in the week the team met a dad/grandpa and invited his 3 kids/grandkids to come to VBS. He said "yes" and that he had more kids and grandkids at home that he would go get. He brought back 7-9 kids and one of them was the same little girl that some of the mission team had met prayer walking days before... God knows what he's doing!
There was another kid named Joshua who the team met with his Grandpa Buddy at the park. Joshua came to VBS and had a blast. Buddy told us that Joshua called him the next morning to ask how much longer until VBS. Buddy told Joshua..."Only 7 more hours!" What a great testimony of the love they felt from the mission team. Buddy is a Native American with beliefs that are not Christian and the first day he allowed us to love on Joshua but would not come into The Spot with us. By the end of the week Buddy was hanging out, walking in The Spot and making himself at home! Praise Jesus.
All of our mission teams culminate with an end of the week block party that the team is inviting people to all week long. This week was no different and it was a huge success. The team left on Saturday but on Sunday morning we had our highest worship attendance ever and we had so many new faces as a direct result of the mission team. It was a beautiful sight!
Last story. Everyone who knows The Pathway knows that we believe church is not a place we go, it's who we are. We strive to be the church through Intentional Community(IC) and our prayer is that our Intentional Communities would multiply so that we have IC's in all the neighborhoods and apartment complexes in Tacoma. As a part of that strategy, we were praying to be able to start a new IC at a local apartment complex this summer. Two ladies from our Thursday IC live in that apartment complex and so do our 4 summer interns. Along with another guy from the Thursday IC they began serving and loving the apartment residents and 3 weeks ago a new IC was launched! This past Sunday we brought the new IC up to pray over them and it was amazing to see a resident of Summertree... still trying to find her way to belief... there with them. We got to pray over her and see the mission of God working before our very eyes!
God is so great and he is doing great things around us. Please pray for us in two specific ways. One, pray for the mission team from First Baptist Church Universal City, TX that is arriving on Saturday. Satan has already been working overtime to stop our plans for the team so pray that God wins the victory. Second, The Pathway more than doubled in size (praise Jesus) as a result of our Gather to Scatter (April is Awesome) outreach that we did in April. Because of that we are making plans to do a similar outreach in September. Our leadership team came together on Monday and came up with some amazingly creative ways to reach out again in an intentional and relational way that will cost far less than our April outreaches did. That being said, we are still going to need to raise some significant funds over a short period of time so please pray that we are able to do that and that God's kingdom will grow as a result!