I have spent the last two weeks in Sheffield, England, partnering with a newly launched Campus Outreach team there. Below are some observations I have made about the Crowded House, the church the team partners with.
The Crowded House is quite the model of lay ministry. One of their key values is "Everyone exercising gospel ministry." It would be evident to anyone spending time with the church that this value is being pursued. Members are divided into life groups, which have recently been renamed ministry teams, each with a unique focus. There is a Kurdish team, a student team, and an adventure team to name just a few. The groups were renamed ministry teams because that is their focus—to minister intentionally together. Yes, members meet together in fellowship, but they also more frequently serve together. For example, the student team’s focus is university students, but the team is made up of more than just the full time student ministry staff. It also consists of families and individuals who spend time around students every week at lunches after church, bible studies during the week, and more.
The church really is on mission. I know that should be a given, but sadly it is not always the case, especially in the States. Even in my own life, it is so easy to lose focus and a sense of burden. Because I work for a ministry, I sometimes let myself off the hook from being intentional in my daily life. My short time around the Crowded House has renewed my desire to be used by God as a minister of the gospel and to see the Church (and my church) answer her call to bring the gospel to all peoples, nations, cities, and neighborhoods. What a difference it would make if all American churches did their part to bless and be a witness to their neighborhoods and cities. Join me in praying to that end for your church, wherever it might be. The gospel really does change everything!