I was curious to know what the “Co-Mission Team” or “Local Missions Group” (as it appears on the Link Card in our Sunday bulletin) was all about, so I reached out to the leader, our youth pastor John Andrade, and asked if he could tell me more about it. Even better, the team graciously invited me to be a fly-on-the-wall at their next meeting, and this past Friday, I drove over to Ken and Judi Dobbins’ home in Brunswick and enjoyed a beautiful time of Scripture reading, prayer, and discussion. Elsbeth Elisha was also there (missing that day were Paul Elisha and Kayla Washburn).
John opened by reading from Acts 2:42-47:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke breadin their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
After praying, the group dove into a lively discussion about an evangelism video that John had shared by email. The general consensus was that sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit was key, although they were challenged by the speaker to have more boldness and directness in their conversations with people.
Then one by one, the group members shared about the ministries they were involved in while the others took notes and asked about specific people to pray for and suggested other people to contact to help with ideas and momentum. Ministry networking!
Elsbeth, a seminary student, formerly worked at the Brunswick homeless shelter and has been thinking about starting a worship service that would be welcoming for the area’s homeless, as well as how to address issues of injustice in our community, like the disposal of perfectly good food and the stigma against drug addicts. She spends time each week with an elderly neighbor who has dementia. Elsbeth also leads the Two Cities Prayer Initiative that you can find at www.twocitiesprayer.com.
Ken and Judi have a long history of ministry through Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program to help those struggling with addiction, initially created at Saddleback Church and focused on eight principles taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes. They recounted conversations they’ve had, supporting people in the program, and mentioned some others who have attended the 18-month program at Teen Challenge in NH and were getting used to being back home. At the last CR meeting, Judi had led the teaching on one of the Principles. There are CR groups throughout Maine that you can find at http://www.celebraterecoverymaine.com.
John leads our Floodgate teen ministry and is excited about the unity and love the teens and leaders have for each other. They’ve been working on listening to God and going into the world, which is scary, but some kids have felt they’ve heard directly from God. John actively practices listening to God himself, as he seeks opportunities to meet people and minister on the street in Brunswick. He recounted conversations he’s had and relationships he’s building. Through Intervarsity, he is leading an Interfaith Coexist group and a Bible study group at SMCC, and he is getting up at the crack of dawn on Wednesdays to lead the Men’s group at the church office at 5 a.m.
I was deeply inspired by the fire in John, Ken, Judi and Elsbeth’s (and Paul and Kayla’s) hearts to serve God by loving their neighbors here in Midcoast Maine. They are doing important Kingdom work, largely under the radar with tremendous humility and grace, and it was beautiful to hear about the ministries they are involved in and to see them support and uplift each other in prayer. If you would like to be part of this group, you can contact John Andrade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7