Did you know that there are ample opportunities to greatly impact unreached people groups without ever leaving Austin?
This is something my husband and I learned quickly as God provided numerous ways to care and love goers both on and off the field. We serve as deacons at the St. John Congregation, and God has shown us how little acts of kindness have the potential to enormously bless others. For example, some goers tell us attending a Sunday service at The Austin Stone can be overwhelming as many are used to tiny house churches or even worshiping alone. We try to help them feel more connected by meeting up with them before service and offering to sit by them. We attempt to be a friendly, welcoming face and find out whether they have physical needs or prayer requests and offer to connect them to our congregation leadership.
Other times serving goers has meant helping them raise support. Support raising can be an incredibly daunting challenge, especially for those who have been on the field for several years. We introduce goers to our networks and connect them with opportunities to share their testimony during St. John Sunday services and prayer meetings.
We also serve on an Advocacy-Team (A-Team) that helps to support a goer family living in the Middle East region. A-Team support looks like consistently praying for our goers, sending care packages for the holidays, and communicating with them multiple times a week through a group text app so we know what’s going on in their lives. This summer, this family came off the field for their furlough and our A-Team helped prepare a home for them by stocking groceries, leaving gift cards and notes, decorating with printed photos of them, and bringing toys for their kiddos.
Serving on an A-Team can sometimes feel like a struggle, however, as you partner to push back darkness and fight to share the hope of Jesus. At our campus, our desire is for members of A-Teams to feel supported, known, and seen. We hope to create community and a safe place to share best practices and pray for one another.
Similarly, another area we are passionate about is caring for goers who have come off the field and are now trying to assimilate back into American culture. Many of these goers have sold everything to move overseas and have to rebuild a life in the United States. We have them over for meals and invite them into our Bible studies and Missional Communities. At first we thought we would be the ones helping them, but many have turned into some of our dearest friends and blessed our own lives immensely. We are dreaming, praying, and asking the Lord to show us how to better care for returned goers.
Goers tell us that serving on the field can have challenges including navigating language learning, spiritual attack, and seasons of isolation. We see it as a privilege to attempt to care for them. Though we don’t do it perfectly and often feel like we could always do more, we’re grateful for our role in the Great Commission.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 edition of the Field Memo. Read more stories from this edition here.