Saturday, January 30
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Presbytery of Middle Tennessee
Be ‘other side’ kind of people
1001 Conference goers encouraged to pursue relationships
The Rev. Keith Gunter remembers what the first year of starting a new worshiping community was like. He’d moved from Georgia to Tennessee with his wife and one year old child to start, from scratch, what is now New Creation Church.
“We had two chairs in the living room,” said Gunter. “I’d be praying, look up and see my wife crying. Nothing seemed to be working that first year.”
Preaching from Mark 4:35-41, Gunter told the opening night crowd at the 1001 National New Worshiping Communities Conference that, like the disciples on the boat who thought they were going to drown, he would often cry out, “Lord, don’t you care? Why am I hurting so right now ?”
As Gunter worked harder and faster, his frustration and stress became overwhelming. “I forgot who was in the boat with me,” he said.
“Jesus was ready to expand his ministry, to meet new people on the margins whom he hadn’t met yet,” said Gunter. “To go to the edges where there is danger, discomfort, even anger and frustration, and yet this is where life happens.”
This kind of ministry with unexpected storms “impacts all of us,” he added. “Remember you are not alone. God walks with us. So pursue relationships with others, as God has pursued you, in grace and love.”
Vera White, coordinator for 1001, thanked the more than 200 conference attendees for their faithfulness to God through the New Worshiping Communities movement. “Your work is being heard around the world,” she said, announcing that she had just been asked to speak at a church planting conference in Cape Town, South Africa, because organizers there had heard stories of what was happening through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) movement.
“Share your stories with each other, she said, “so that we all may be encouraged in the days ahead.”
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Almighty God, grant us eyes to see our world as you would have it. And use our hearts, our minds, and our hands to bring us one step closer to that world today. Amen.