Limits and Possibilities
We know that, with God, all things are possible. Yet, you may be surprised to learn that there are voices all around you, which suggest that what you are attempting for God just can’t be done. These voices come in subtle, and at times, in not so subtle ways.
Be careful not to allow the limited vision, conventional wisdoms and/or the constrained traditions of others, no matter how well intentioned, to hinder or distract you from the call God has placed on your life.
The Old Testament story of David and Goliath may be helpful here. No one thought that the shepherd boy could defeat the angry warrior. David’s brothers made fun of him, attacking him at the point of his self-esteem. In essence, they mocked him. What makes you think that you are so special?” they taunted. King Saul wanted David to wear the traditional military gear. In other words, he wanted David to do things the way they had always been done, and the way every one else would do it. David responded in faith, took only what God asked him to, and won the victory.
Our Experience: Mission Arlington®/Mission Metroplex® heard in different ways and from a variety of sources through the years that what has happened here could not be done. Some said that we weren’t doing it right. It seems that there was always some standard or some expectation somewhere that we weren’t quite meeting. At times, different professionals and/or organizations have tried to shape us into their molds. No matter how hard we tried, we just never quite fit.
Interestingly, these desires to reshape us have usually come from people who genuinely love us and who wanted us to succeed. On the other hand, we have had many prayer warriors and cheerleaders who stood beside us each step of the way. Many people and multiple groups of people have walked with us, helping us at just the right time and at many significant places during our journey. Because we have been the recipients of such love and support, it is our desire to support and encourage those of you who also have risked so much to follow God’s call into the fields.
The ministry descriptions listed below represents actual mission congregations currently ongoing at Mission Arlington®/Mission Metroplex®. We list these here, not as models for you to follow, but as illustrations of what God has done in one place. We hope that by having these concrete illustrations you will be encouraged by what God has done, and that you will see what He can do in your place of service too.
Most of our Bible study leaders are bi-vocational. In other words, our volunteers typically have full time jobs in addition to their work with us. In addition, our Bible studies and congregations are lay-led. Communities.
One piece of conventional wisdom is that people who live in these communities are not open to or interested in spiritual things, or if they were, then they surely would not be interested in a Bible study or a church on their property. People living in gated communities need the Lord just like everyone else. Take time to discover and meet their needs. Develop relationships where you can, be patient, and then watch what the Lord will do.
This group is often the most receptive to the Gospel. Work schedules tend to keep families home on the weekends, and they are often more available for social activities, new relationships, and to Bible studies developed specifically for them. Low Income Neighborhoods. Some of the people who have the greatest needs are often the most receptive to the Gospel. Crowds can gather quickly here, but developing a congregation may take more time. In some settings it takes time for people to trust. Be patient. Listen well. Help with the needs where possible. Consistent love over time and in Jesus name will make all the difference.
House to House
Sometimes the very best place to start a bible study or a congregation is in the living room of someone’s home.
Two Languages and Two Churches
In some locations, the community is divided into more than one language group. For example, in one apartment community with more than 2,500 people, 70 percent speak only (and/or primarily) Spanish, and 30 percent speak only (and/or primarily) Vietnamese. Mission Arlington® has established two congregations in this community. These congregations meet at different times, but share the same meeting space.
The Integrated Church
It has often been said that the Sunday morning worship hour is the most segregated hour of the week. Not so at Mission Arlington®/Mission Metroplex®. Most of our congregations have people who come from diverse ethnic, social, and cultural backgrounds, yet come together every Sunday as one family under God.
Two Languages and One church
You might be tempted to think that the leadership of a particular work must speak the language of the people they are trying to reach. But this isn’t necessarily so. Mission Arlington®/Mission Metroplex® currently has several thriving congregations where the leaders don’t speak the primary language of the people. While these leaders do their best to study and learn the language as quickly as possible, they will often find translators who live in the mission field to help them get the work going.