Monday, July 1, 2013

A new neighborhood... an old approach!

Thank you so much for praying for the mission team from Oklahoma that served with us last week.  It was an intense week of funky weather, spiritual warfare and the Holy Spirit in action.  I believe with all my heart that your prayers were powerful and effective as God used the team to accomplish the mission laid out for them.

Most of you know that we recently moved our worship gathering to Franklin Elementary in central Tacoma.  For logistical reasons alone we have love the change!  The school staff have been so good to us & we have room to spread out & grow.  But we love the move for another reason too.  Since the end of last summer we have been praying about what neighborhood we would strategically target to saturate with the gospel next.  While this may seem to be a simple choice, it was no small decision.  For 3 years we have been pouring our heart and soul into the Hilltop.  We've served, loved, met needs, prayer walked, thrown events and parties... all for the Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma.  In the process, we have seen God bring salvation!  By God's grace alone, in these first 3 years, we have seen 37 professions of faith & 31 baptisms!!!  All as we focused on being intentional and saturating Hilltop with the gospel.  

But what I found over the last year is that people were either forgetting that God didn't call us to plant a church on the Hilltop alone.  He called us to start in the Hilltop, but he called us to plant the gospel in Tacoma!  With that in mind we felt God leading us to continue serving and sharing the gospel with the Hilltop, but to strategically use our mission teams this summer to start seeing where doors are open in Central Tacoma.  While we've done a small thing or two since we moved to Franklin, this last week was the first time we intentionally infiltrated central Tacoma with the gospel. 

What we found was another neighborhood ripe for the harvest!  Central Tacoma is a big area but it is a neighbor to the hilltop.  All week long the mission team intentionally went out and met our central Tacoma neighbors.  They walked around and handed out Starbucks coffee one morning.  Another day they baked cookies and delivered them to local businesses.  They prayer walked and passed out fliers inviting the community to a block party at Franklin.  All-in-all the team was so faithful to get out of their comfort zones and try to make gospel connections in central Tacoma.  Our prayer was that many of these connections would come to Thursday's block party so the people of The Pathway could meet them.

Well, Thursday came and so did the rain.  The party was supposed to begin at 6:00pm but the rain was coming... along with the health inspector!  We've never had to work with the health department because we've always done block parties at The Spot.  I tell you what, she kept coming up with things that were done wrong.  It was so awesome to see the church come together to get the job done!  Finally, about 6:30pm the rain moved out.  About 6:45 the health inspector said we could start cooking hot dogs.  Then at 7:00pm the neighbors came!  God knew what he was doing and literally people started pouring in as soon as we were ready to start serving food.  

Conversations were had, the foundations of new potential friendships were laid, the Spirit of God was obviously working.  This past Sunday we had more new faces at our worship gathering than I could count.  I recognized people from the block party and it was amazing to see our church welcome so many new faces.  Please don't stop praying though.  In order for us to reach central Tacoma we have to begin planting Intentional Communities.  In order for that to happen we need leaders and commitments from folks who are seeking Jesus.

Hilltop.  Central Tacoma.  I don't know what God has in store but I believe he wants to radically change the people of these neighborhoods with the gospel of Jesus Christ!

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