Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What God Did in MN

This is the true story of our recent disciplemaking ministry adventure to the land of 10,000 lakes, aka, Minnesota, aka "God's country."
We left the high taxing land of IL on a day with a 97 degree heat index thanking God for the inventions of air conditioning and the automobile. We arrived in frigid MN wondering where our jackets were—hoping to get a glimpse of Al Franken.

Our destination was Bridge Community Church in Sauk Rapids, MN (associated with the Christian, Missionary, and Alliance). After all, we are your disciplemaking missionaries serving with Cadre Ministries.

We invested Friday night and Saturday walking through Cadre's Evangelism Is Relationships training experience. Did the training, encouragement and equipping start to take root? Fair question. Here's a Facebook post from the lead pastor about 4 days after the training time.
"Bill Allison from Cadre Ministries blessed Bridge Community Church people this week by leading and challenging us through an equipping event called Evangelism is Relationships. The training seems to be taking root: two people from Bridge this week have given gift cards to homeless people, sharing that Christ's love compelled them to help. Another member spoke to then gave a homeless man a hot dog and bottle of water. The church was able to provide a family in crisis who met a church member in the community with a large box of personal and hygiene items and a tank of gas. A Bridge member in the ER waiting room gave two dollars to a hurting mother after overhearing her say on the phone she had no money to buy her son a drink. Football is being used as a bridge to connect with people new to our church and in people's neighborhoods! Awesome stuff Bridge family! Keep at it!” —Kirk Knudsen, Lead Pastor of Bridge Community Church, Sauk Prairie, MN
Thank God with me!

After the training, I had the honor of investing in the elders and pastors of Bridge Community Church. We wrestled what a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life looks in a 21st century Western world. We also explored the role of leadership in creating a culture of disciplemaking in a ministry/church.

I had the honor of speaking at the church on Sunday morning. However, it was the first day of NFL football and instead of having the church leaders take us out dinner after church, I totally encouraged them to lean into their friends who may not have a relationship with God by inviting them to watch the Vikings together—just like we explored in our training. One of the leaders sent me this message: "Today while watching the Vikings with my friend Todd, he asked me how he could know if he had a real relationship with Jesus? Do you think he has gone from reluctant to ready? I shared the gospel with him. We are planning to get together this week to talk some more. God is so at work—and we are joining Him. God is using your training to encourage a lot of people to make disciples. Pray for us brother!” Meanwhile, I drove our family to the nearest Buffalo Wild Wings and promptly sat down to eat wings and watch Da Bears on one of the TVs—all the while lost in a sea of Viking purple. In the words of Sadey, my 12-year-old, "This is the happiest I've ever been." Agreed. (I think she was referring to the wings. I was referring to the football game.) Did I mention that Bridge Community Church has the best Sunday School Ever?

We promptly got into the car and drove over to Farmington, MN, where we connected with Roger and Kerry Thelen. Kerry and I went to Bible college together so it was great to reconnect and meet each other's spouses and family.

On Monday morning, we enjoyed a breakfast with the Shane and Heather Stacey family—who also happen to live in MN. The Stacey's are dear disciplemaking friends and ministry partners. It's always a fun and rich time when we get together. Okay, the truth in advertising demands that I confess that the above picture was actually taken "a number of years ago," but since it makes all of us look younger and I forgot to get a picture this time, I think I will be forgiven. I hope.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end and praying for us! You are truly a friend!


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