You Are Going to Nashville Next Week!
You are going to Nashville next week! What you haven’t heard? Well, it's true. On Sunday morning, 12 of our PPC church members are headed out early to Nashville, Tenn., to assist with flood relief. They were commissioned this past Sunday morning at the 8 a.m. worship service.
When we commission mission or work trips, we are charging them with acting on behalf of the whole congregation. Their ministry and assistance in Nashville will be an extension of who we are as a congregation. In addition during that commissioning service, the congregation (represented by those present at the service) promised to go with them in spirit, to keep them in our prayers as they prepare and as they work in a new context, to support them financially and emotionally for their work, and to rejoice with them upon their return.
Trips such as the one next week are called mission trips. It is not mission in the old sense of the term, when their work was solely evangelism or spreading the word of God in effort to create converts to the faith. Evangelism is still a part of it, but largely the goal for their trip is to glorify God by giving of themselves to assist their neighbor who needs help. Our belief is that as we serve others physically, the Spirit will work among us — creating space for conversations about our beliefs, stirring the hearts of those we serve to want to know more about our motivation, and inspiring other Christians to live as God has called us by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
The work can be physically and emotionally taxing with long work days, physical demands that exceed the participants normal daily activities, living and working with others. While they are away, our job, our calling as their congregational support that remains behind, is to lift them up in prayer continuously. Our prayers can be a source of energy.
Our hope is that each person who participates in the trip will be fully present in their work, recognizing that the assistance they provide will not only make a lasting difference by meeting the basic needs of their neighbor, but that God will work through them as they do it. God will use them to touch the hearts and spirits of others. God will change them as well through showing them the love of others and the strength of others who endure tragedy and are able to find hope to continue on.
We are in this together. Regardless if you are boarding a plane on Sunday morning and spending a week in another part of our country, you are a part of the ministry that will take place next week. To help keep that ministry and those serving on the ground in our minds while they are away, we will be handing out green bracelets on Sunday morning. You will be able to wear them during the week to remind you to pray for the specific name of the work team that is written on your bracelet, and for the team as a whole.
May God bless their ministry. May the team feel surrounded by our love and support while they are away. May we each feel connected to the service they are providing. Amen.