From time to time, we in small towns suffer from an inferiority complex; we are just a small town without many resources, fancy infrastructure, or the population to make a difference. Don’t get me wrong: we work hard and are very generous with our time and resources, and I can’t imagine a better place to raise a family. But we have big city envy. The same is true in the small town church, where we fall prey to that same thinking—we want to look like the big city church with lots of programs and nice stuff but think we don’t have the resources to do it.
Yesterday (March 13), the Leader & District Ministerial hosted a Mission Connection event which brought representatives from 14 mission agencies that are doing work locally and abroad. My heart is filled with joy and excitement after hearing stories of the work God is doing in people’s lives across the globe.
The most encouraging thing for me was the local connection. Each and every one of the organizations had some local connection: a person serving on the board, involved as a missionary or volunteer, funds that had been raised locally and sent out, seminars offered here that have brought change in people’s lives, or ideas cultivated in Leader and are now a reality.
It can be surprising the impact that little old Leader has/is having in God’s Kingdom. In talking with the representatives at this event I heard repeatedly the amazement at the local church’s missional mindedness which was evidenced in having 14 organizations make the effort to come to Leader. I also heard time and again the impact of the people of Leader’s generosity and heart to see God’s Kingdom come.
I was especially moved by the story Tom Brook, representative from Canadian Lutheran World Relief, shared of his travels in Ethiopia. In trying to describe what country he came from, he simply said Canada to see if the people were familiar with it. The people in this region of Ethiopia were very familiar with it and immediately said, “Oh yes, Leader, Saskatchewan.” You see, their lives have been changed through the funding supplied for relief and food sustainability projects in the area and the mission trips taken. Leader has a reputation all the way to Ethiopia as being a kind, generous, and missional community.
During the event, my mind was drawn to John 1:46-47 where Nathanael expresses doubt to Philip about the call Philip just received to follow Jesus. “Nathanael said to him, ’Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” We may be tempted to wonder, ‘can anything good come from Leader?’ I pray that Mission Connection would be the ‘come and see’ moment for the church in Leader, that indeed something (and many things) good can come from this small, out of the way place.
It is my hope that this event will have far-reaching consequences for the ministry of the church in Leader that we would see and be excited for the work God has entrusted to us. May our ministry and work be encouraged and our resolve strengthened to see God’s Kingdom come in Leader and around the world.
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Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.