Daily Devotion Focusing on the Missions Supported by First Pres
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In 2012, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) committed to a movement that would seek to create 1001 new worshiping communities over the next 10 years. Since then, hundreds of diverse worshiping communities have formed, including several in our area.
As stated on the denomination’s website, “God is raising up leaders in churches and presbyteries who are creating new worshiping communities. They are taking on new and varied forms of church for our changing culture. Primarily they are seeking to make and form new disciples of Jesus Christ, to change and transform the world.”
Our mission support of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay helps to carry out these types of efforts and to seek where the Holy Spirit is at work in our area. In particular, the Presbytery’s newest worshipping community has just started in nearby Plant City. Rev. Kenny Ellis had served as an Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland and heard the call to serve God in a new way. Kenny and his family have moved to Plant City and he now serves as the organizing pastor of this new worshipping community. He shares, “The first year of our plan is focused on settling into the community, building friendships with unbelievers and trying to connect with any believers who share a common vision for a new church. At some point, we will begin a weekly gathering for our core group for praying, Bible study, and encouraging our missional life together. We will also try to create spaces and opportunities for unbelievers or dechurched people to experience aspects of the Christian faith hoping God uses it to create spiritual curiosity. Along the way, our core group will also seek to get involved in compassionate and justice causes in the community – or start some if we see gaps and new opportunities.” It truly is a joy to be able to help support efforts like this seeking to further God’s kingdom here on earth.
Holy God, we thank You for the gift of Your church. We rejoice at our long history as a place of worship and we give thanks that we can help to form new communities of faith. Thank You for the blessing of our connectional church and for the diverse ways that Your Spirit still blows among Your people. In Your name we pray, Amen.