We received a recent prayer letter from Tony Webb of Vision USA, a cooperating ministry in the Charis Fellowship. He and his wife, Cathy, recently marked nine years of serving as full-time church planting missionaries. Below are a few excerpts with a reminder to pray for church planting in the Charis network of congregations!
It is hard to believe that nine years have passed – what a wonderful season with the best yet to come! The people that God has allowed us to meet, to partner and with whom to work is incredible and such a blessing! God’s people are so surprising with how they are able to share the Gospel. Another expression of wonder is how powerful and diverse Jesus Christ’s church is and how she expresses herself. As I listen to people, Jesus’ creative presence shows itself and the gospel is moving out in so many interesting ways.
Whitestone: Last week Cathy and I were able to attend Whitestone in Columbus, Ohio – a missional engagement planted in business, in the real estate world. We started Whitestone in 2010 with Josh as our key gatherer. We met for many years before hitting the pause button a couple years ago. It is now active again with Andy as the shepherd, Josh as the primary gatherer. What an amazing job they are doing, it was exciting to meet so many new people who are a part and to hear them talk about what God is doing in their lives – so very exciting.
Please keep Whitestone in your prayers as they continue to be Jesus to those in North Columbus in the real estate world.
A few of the new church starts:
*Viera, Florida: A new church start began a few weeks ago with Matt and Heather with Ray and Dianna. They are beginning their new church start by meeting every other Thursday. They are focusing on couples and marriage matters as they begin. Please pray!
*Melbourne, Florida: Austin and Maggie are starting a new church – technically a new church start. They began a few weeks ago as well. They began meeting people in a coffee shop and have already moved into a home to keep the relationship building going. Pray for them as they continue in this amazing work!
*Xenia, Ohio Possibilities: Sam is our new regional leader here in this part of Ohio. Sam and Kim are doing such a good job! Sam is engaging so many trans-denominational conversations. He and I met this week with Bishop Wallace and kept moving a conversation ahead about using GSE to begin ‘things’ at Wilberforce and Central State University. He is a professor at Wilberforce and knows other profs at Central State. He is also a pastor and exploring how GSE can assist his established church. Pray for these possibilities, will anything happen? I do not know. Do we want something to happen – Yes! So please pray and I will plan to keep you updated.
There are others but I can stop here. Please keep praying!
New Regional Expression in Florida: Pastor Jason is our VUSA regional leader in Florida. They are launching a brand-new expression of GSE growth and regional expression that is so exciting! We have been working together in Florida for about six years. Pastor Jason is launching our first formal regional expression called Koa Network Florida. Koa is a Polynesian word for ‘warrior.’ This is meant to be a Warrior’s network, working to form health in established churches leading to the planting of new churches using GSE ideas in both our Plant and Establish pathways. Very exciting days and Lord Jesus, please bless this move profoundly as this relational network moves ahead!
*The rest of the story: A few other things that are going on right now in our Vision USA Network:
*I did not know: A few weeks ago I was on a coaching call with Doug (our first Gatherer if you know the story from the Raising Rabbit’s book), just prior to our call he received an email from a man who, on a two page document, beautifully laid out GSE. On the front page were the GSE concepts; on the back page some basic coaching questions to move GSE ahead in their network. It was beautifully done. He gave appropriate credit for the GSE ideas etc.
Doug asked me if I knew this guy. I did not. I reached out to the brother and we talked this week. I am excited where God is taking things with this new network.
I share this because this is answered prayer. Someone I have never met, processed the GSE ideas through a book and did a great job! We have never met or spoken (till this week). God has now connected us, and I look forward to where all this is going!
*Advisory Team: I mentioned in last month’s prayer letter that we are forming an Advisory Team to meet with our VUSA Field Team. We have the first meeting scheduled for early February. The purpose of this Advisory Team is to continue to learn how we can keep pressing out in our network and see the key, current matters facing church planting and coaching in the USA today. Please pray!
*Upcoming: Please pray for an upcoming trip to Phoenix at the end of February and for another trip in March. Exciting days.
Thank you for indulging me with this longer than normal prayer letter. Thank you for our partnership – both in prayer and financially.