By Pastor Rob Chifokoyo
I was recently drawn to the story of a man named William Tennent and the Log College. The Log College was founded in 1727 after William Tennent saw the huge gap between access to theological training and the great need to equip young ministers to go on mission. His story is an intriguing missional journey that sparked an evangelical movement that impacted the rest of the nation. Many people came to know Jesus because of this step of faith and this college would give birth to educational institutions that still stand today.
With much objection from the already established institutions at the time, William Tennent built this simple log cabin and went on with the business of equipping farm boys to take the gospel to the nation. The significance of filling that missional need eventually led to the establishment of the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University. The Log College is an amazing story of how we have no idea what equipping the church to go on mission may lead to. How awesome is it that? This all happened right down 263 in Warminster opposite the Dunkin’ Donuts!
I speak about that to let you know that there is a need for the church to equip people to continue to go on mission. Not just to the nations, which is important, but also to our neighbors. I also believe just like William Tennent; we need to open our eyes to see what is right in front of us and ask God how we can meet the need. For example, going to the nations has drastically changed over the last few decades. Just in case we haven’t noticed, the nations have come to us. We no longer have to pay thousands of dollars to share the love of Christ with people from around the world. We may just need to speak to our literal next-door neighbors. Missionaries are also changing. This blog post is a classic example of that. It is being written by a missionary from Zimbabwe, who lives in Bucks County, and yes, I referred to myself as a missionary. The Bible encourages followers of Jesus to be on mission somewhere. This is our hope going forward — that we all feel like we are on mission. I am excited to see Covenant’s continued growth in our understanding of what it means to go. For the first time in a long time local and global outreach are under one umbrella and this will allow us to prayerfully and strategically raise up, equip and send both people and resources faithfully.
Missions is critical throughout the New Testament in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ, but we need to be equipped to do this in a healthy, God honoring way. We must surrender and let the Holy Spirit lead us. And who knows what fruit that will bear? This is what fills me with great hope and excitement as the baton is handed to me from the very person who picked me up as a missionary at the train station 9 years ago. I had no idea that Bruce Finn would be the person I would succeed in missions at Covenant and I’m sure he didn’t either. This very transition is the result of what happens when we allow Jesus to lead even if it’s unconventional. This posture is embedded in the DNA of Covenant and leads our church body to life. I’m thankful for Bruce, Nick and the countless volunteers that have propelled this ministry forward and continue to faithfully serve.
So, you may be asking what this looks like in the coming months? Acts 1:8 comes to mind when I think of our next steps.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." - Acts 1:8
We want to be a people who are moved by the power of the Holy Spirit in all we do. That means as we engage our community, we are not doing this in our own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are also called to tell people everywhere about Jesus. That is a big deal! We want to share Christ as we serve.
That passage also reveals that we are not only called to be on mission thousands of miles away, but we are called to be both near and far. We have a Jerusalem, a Judea, a Samaria, and an end of the earth. Our hope is to equip Covenant in this season to be missional in all these areas.
Here is the broad strokes version of this.
Jerusalem: This is as local as it gets. We want to equip families to see the missional opportunities that are right in front of them. Your family or extended family members. Your neighbors, apartment block or your cul-de-sac. Being missional daily with our spouses, parents, children and friends.
Judea: Our neighborhood. That means serving the region that God has placed us in. Over the last year we have been partnering with Dr Joseph Brereton and Barclay to help with the food crisis that is being faced by those living in poverty 5 miles from the church. That is right down the street from us. Right now, there is an urgent need for volunteers to help with packing bags and to bring dry and canned goods that are so desperately needed by families in the community. If you can, we will be receiving Cereal, Pasta sauce, Beans, Mac and cheese. This Sunday from 9am-1 pm.
Samaria: We need to see those that have been overlooked and forgotten in our community with fresh eyes. How do we serve the marginalized and the oppressed? This month is Black History Month, which gives us an awesome opportunity to not only celebrate but engage more intentionally with African American organizations and partners. Every year we fill back packs and partner with our friends in Camden and Philadelphia to give kids in need school supplies. We also get to celebrate our Urban Alliance partners who are planting churches in hard places. Places that are predominantly populated by black and brown people. We want to be a place that highlights, celebrates, and amplifies these voices with a missional mindset.
The ends of the earth: When I think of the ends of the earth I think of Zimbabwe. The last country alphabetically but I know the first one on our global mission's priority list. It is important to have a missional priority and God has so blatantly placed this nation smack dab in our midst. There is a saying in Shona “Vana Vedu” and I know you absolutely butchered that as you read it. This means: our children. We as a church have embraced the children in Domboshava as though they are our own. It is a blessing that we get to partner with Pastor Peter in providing a hope and a future for them. On March 14th we will be highlighting the D-Kids and giving you an opportunity to continue our child sponsorships that have been a major success thus far.
In closing, I look back to that cold, humble, log cabin opposite a Dunkin’ Donuts that God has used to produce pastors, missionaries, Doctors, evangelists and even presidents. It started by seeing the need, the gap that existed and trusting the Holy Spirit to lead the plan to change things. I want to encourage you to open your eyes to what is right in front of us. I want us to recognize the opportunity we all have before us. To see the need, the gap and how God may be calling us to fill it. To be on mission with Christ in some capacity over the next year. For some it may start with bringing canned goods, for others it will be packing them. It may mean sponsoring a child or going abroad. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but I do know that we have no idea where God will lead us when we say, "yes" to the mission.
If you would like to find out more about missions at Covenant click here. https://covenantdoylestown.org/mission/