Saturday, Jul 1, 2017
Trip to Arizona accomplishes USMB core commitments
by J.L. Martin
Twenty-eight people ages one to 70 from Hesston (Kansas) MB Church traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, March 18-24 over our spring break to serve with Axiom Church, a four-year- old USMB church plant. As I reflect on the trip, I am amazed at how easily our USMB three core commitments were accomplished.
Church multiplication, church planting and evangelism: Both churches learned from each other. Axiom Church folks shared stories about learning from us about serving their city, generosity and caring across state lines. Our team talked about how they desire to be more involved in small groups like we experienced at Axiom and the excitement of new followers of Christ who were excited to grow. Through distributing 1,000 door hangers, people were invited to Axiom’s Easter service where they heard the good news that Christ died for sinners.
Intentional disciple-making: It was a joy to watch parents and kids work together. I personally enjoyed spending time and growing and learning with my youngest daughter. We Hesston pastors were not sure what to expect when the trip was made up of parents and children instead of youth, as we had anticipated. But we quickly learned that our kids worked hard!
We spent about 12 hours working on the backyard of a single mom. This included planting bushes/trees, spreading decorative rock across the entire yard, pouring a concrete slab and installing a basketball goal. Discipleship happened as moms and dads helped and taught their son or daughter during the backyard project. As we prepared for the trip, we saw discipleship as families discussed what spiritual gifts each had. We parents talk often about serving and giving, but this was lived out during the week.
Developing leaders: One of the ways Axiom is raising up leaders is through their monthly leadership meetings. During these evenings, leaders are equipped through teaching on a variety of topics. Our group was blessed by the teaching on prayer. I also had the opportunity to teach and train Axiom’s children’s leaders. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut when you go to the same church week in and week out. This partnership between Hesston MB and Axiom reminded us that we can benefit from conversation, learning and encouragement from one another.
I am excited to hear more stories about how God worked in and through Axiom and Hesston MB Church. God continues to show that he was leading and moving from beginning to end. He provided financially through our church family ($7,000 given, including an anonymous gift of $3,500), the prayer support of our church (a commissioning prayer on Sunday before we left and the congregation praying individually for each member of our team) and how our presence in Phoenix was a blessing to Axiom Church.
Every church in the USMB conference would benefit from a partnership between an established church and a church plant. This can happen on a variety of levels, whether it is through prayer, finances, resources, time and even planting. I am thankful for this experience with my daughter and want to give God all the glory for what occurred in the desert during spring break 2017.
J.L. Martin began serving as pastor of children and family at Hesston (Kan.) MB Church in November 2008. He is a graduate of Denver Seminary. He and his wife, Bethany, have four children. Martin blogs at http://daddy4ms.blogspot.com/