With and For Our City. Local Mission(al Communities) Part 2

Last week I shared with you a post on our approach to local mission - through our Missional Communities and about how one MC was reaching out through Tattnall Square Park. This week I wanted to share with you another great outreach - teachers in a local school.

One of the members of the Brewer MC was a teacher last year at Burdell-Hunt Elementary School in Fort Hill. Teaching is a tough task. Teaching in one of Macon's poorest neighborhoods is often even tougher. So the Brewer MC adopted the teachers of Burdell-Hunt. When the Principal heard New City wanted to partner with teachers, she was thrilled! So last week the Brewer MC kicked off its outreach to Burdell-Hunt and on Thursday took a car load of goodies, school supplies and cards of encouragement for the teachers.

Here are a few of the things the MC is hoping to do over the school year:
* More snacks and goodies for the teachers regularly throughout the year
* More cards of prayers and encouragement for the teachers
* Supplies for students and classrooms throughout the year
* Prayer! At each MC gathering and individually throughout the week

There has even been some talk about a teacher appreciation Sunday, a holiday luncheon provided by us for the school teachers, help for student families at Christmas, and a readiness to help in any way possible.

The Brewer MC wants the teachers to know that they are prayed for, cared for, and appreciated. Our teachers matter and their work is difficult. Their work is significant to the health and well being of our city!
The Brewer MC is hoping that this outreach grows into new relationships with the school and teachers and that maybe through those relationship Jesus would be made known!

That's good stuff!

To The Ends Of The Earth

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11

When New City Church launched weekly gatherings in January of 2008, understanding, living out and proclaiming the Gospel was at the very core of who New City intended to be in Macon and beyond. Over the past eight years, New City’s vision has never changed - we dream of seeing the gospel transform everything within our reach - ourselves, our church, our city, and the world. Over the years, we have been a part of God’s work in Middle Georgia launching New City Milledgeville and New City Warner Robins (now known as Sojourn Church). These three campuses have been instrumental in proclaiming the Gospel in their perspective city, loving their city, and equipping people to live in light of the Gospel. A passionate preaching and living out of the Gospel through Sunday morning services, missional communities, and local community partnerships have all been at the heart of seeing this vision come to fruition.

But a local focus has only been a portion of how God has used New City’s vision of seeing the Gospel transform everything within our reach. New City has always played a vital role in sending out people for global missions, both short and long-term. A year ago, the Elders of New City asked Seth Ralston and Caleb & Hanna Bedingfield to begin praying and dreaming about how God might use New City in a new way globally. Little did we know that God had a slightly different plan than we had in mind.

Caleb and Hanna Bedingfield are now serving in the Dominican Republic as Student Life Directors with SCORE International. "SCORE is an organization that seeks to evangelize the lost, engage people in missions, equip disciples, and encourage others through serving." Soon after, Seth announced his plan also to enter full-time mission work serving Witness Kicks Foundation as their Director of Global Outreach. "Witness Kicks exists to plant the seed of God’s word and spark a flame of His joy in the hearts of anyone and everyone we can, one pair of shoes at a time."

Other New City folks like Sophie Green are serving on the Campus Outreach staff reaching college students in the Philippines. The vision of Campus Outreach is "Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World." And some folks we can't even mention their name or location because of the danger they face in-country.

Celebrate God's goodness to us as we keep these New City global missionaries in our prayers. I recently asked Seth to share some thoughts on his own journey at New City as he transitions to this new missional focus with Witness Kicks.

People come and go. Opportunities appear and vanish. Doors open and close. After only 14 months, my time in Macon has come to a quick end. However, I’m leaving with countless new friendships, a stronger faith, and a greater understanding of our heavenly Father. It was during my time in Macon that I learned a valuable life-lesson and comprehended just how perfect God’s timing is on everything…literally, everything.

The journey that I’m about to embark on is a complete leap of faith—something I don’t think I’ve ever truly done before. I’ve always been big on routines, making sure everything I do is planned out perfectly and organized entirely. But God has shown me recently that He doesn’t work like that. He is a courageous and unfailing God; asking us to trust in the unknown, serve the unwelcomed, and do the undesirable. This new opportunity has been presented to me solely because of the people that God has placed in my life during my time in Macon, especially at New City.

As I move on from Macon and pursue a career in global ministry, I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged by the work God is doing through the body of believers that make up New City Church. If God didn’t bring me to Mercer, I would have never met people like Hayden Blessing…a friend who is now my partner with the Witness Kicks Foundation. Or Caleb and Hanna Bedingfield…a selfless couple who shares the same passion as me for mission work and are now international connections for Witness Kicks in the Dominican Republic. And even Keith Watson and Patrick McConnell…mentors and leaders throughout the Macon community who lead New City Church on a weekly basis. The list goes on and on with the friends and people who have made an impact in my life this past year.

“…God works so that people will be in awe of Him.” - Ecclesiastes 3:14

I’m writing this because I stand in awe at how God never stops working in our lives. Even if it’s for a split second, God places people and events in your life that can—and will—change your life forever. Regardless of what you’re going through, remember that His timing is perfect, and He has placed you in that very moment for a reason. As I look back on the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met in recent years, I see now that it all led up to this moment and place in time. Being human, my comprehension of things is very limited. But we serve a God who is omniscient and omnipresent. The trials or triumphs that we experience on a daily basis are only a small detail of God’s plan for our life. Cherish those around you, embrace the moment that you’re currently in, and trust that God’s promise is waiting for you at the end of the process.

Thank you, New City Church, for taking me in and now sending me out.

Living Sent,

Seth Ralston


New City Planting a Missional Community in the Dominican Republic

Caleb and Hanna Bedingfield are leaving Macon in August... but they aren't leaving New City! Here's where they're headed, a little on how we're already a part of this journey and more on how you might help!

We have always had a love for the mission field. It’s something that defines who we are as a couple. We have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to serve many times in numerous countries. We have a deep love for the Gospel and a desire to see the light of Christ shown into the nations. We also have a strong desire to raise up passionate Christ-followers who are committed to serving the Lord on His awesome mission.

This August, we will be moving to the city of Juan Dolio in the Dominican Republic to serve as Student Life Directors for the GAP Program with SCORE International. SCORE is an organization that seeks to evangelize the lost, engage people in missions, equip disciples, and encourage others through serving. The GAP year is a program for high school graduates who will live and study in the Dominican Republic; it’s designed to provide students with the opportunity to become fluent in Spanish, study theology and missions, be immersed in the Hispanic Culture, be discipled in a Missional Community setting, as well as experience what it is like to be a missionary. We will personally be responsible for life-on-life discipleship, mentorship and accountability with these students as well as helping them adjust to a new culture and way of life.

Throughout the past 6 months God has been preparing our hearts for what, at the time, was unknown. We have been going through New City’s training MC under Patrick McConnell’s leadership for the past 17 weeks with the hopes of launching a new MC as leaders for New City. This training has reshaped the way we both see the gospel, given us a passion for building genuine community, and lit a fire in us to live on mission in the day-to-day. We have to admit, when Patrick approached us about becoming MC leaders, we were thrilled. Little did we know, God was using this training to prepare us to essentially launch an MC in the Dominican Republic this Fall. Missional Communities have been a catalyst behind our faith and we see the gospel spreading, the global church growing, and disciples being made through the community that MC’s build.

We have some specific needs as we go on mission to the Dominican:
1.    We need your prayers.
•    94% of the Dominican Republic people are professing Christians with only 9% of them being Evangelical. Pray that the gospel will break down the walls of false religion and legalism and that their eyes will be opened to the glorious grace found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pray for boldness and clarity as we share the Gospel.
•    Pray that healthy, meaningful and God-honoring relationships form with the locals as well as with the students we will be leading and mentoring.
•    Also, please join us in praying that our transition into a new culture and into full-time ministry will be smooth. Life will be very different living in the DR, it will mean the world to have your prayers and encouragement as we move and adjust.

2.    We need financial support.
We are asking you to consider partnering with us financially by supporting us monthly or by giving us a one time gift. You can easily donate to us online HERE -  just put either or both of our name(s) in the info box.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

The New City, Macon Elder Team has already committed to supporting Caleb and Hanna as they work in the DR!  We are excited for them, excited about what God will be doing in and through them and excited to see what opportunities we might have as a church to travel to the DR and work with the Bedingfields! 

To The Ends of the Earth, Sending

For months now, Erik and I have talked about his desire to serve in a far away place. It was clear that God was stirring in Erik's heart. We talked and prayed. And before long, the opportunity to "go" was presented to Erik. We talked and prayed again. Erik, by faith began the application process and soon received his OK.

This Summer, we'll host a fund raising dinner for Erik. Until then, please join me in praying for and encouraging Erik!  Here's the official word from Erik's mission agency:

In August Erik Pelttari is moving to a country on the boarder of Europe and Asia to teach math at an international school. The school exists to serve Christian families, from around the world, who have been called to bring the good news of Jesus to people in desperate need of the Savior. Erik’s role is to support these families in their work by delivering a quality education, as well as caring for the spiritual needs of students.

Please pray for this region. Erik is going to a country with a population of 78,000,000 people that has fewer churches than the city of Macon, GA. Pray that God opens the hearts of people to know true salvation, and pray that Erik’s teaching leads the students of these Christian workers to follow after Jesus. If you would like more information please email epelttari@gmail.com

It is an honor to pray for Erik and an honor to be involved in seeing the gospel go to the ends of the earth!  Thank you Erik for your faithfulness.