Reflections on Global Outreach Month
June was a refreshing, exhilarating month at Grace Church! Global Outreach (GO) Month was so clearly assembled by the Lord that not even our GO Team would express it differently! Now, make no mistake, the attention the Team gave to planning was as enhancing as it was appreciated. But the actual assembling of the participants was worked out by our Heavenly Father without our involvement! Let me explain.
Back on January 16th, we received an email from our Global Outreach worker in Indonesia letting us know that he and his family would be in town for a few days, including Sunday, June 11th. We immediately secured that date for him to preach in our morning service and to give a report either there or in a combined ABF.
Just a day later, we heard from Jon Hoglund that he and Andrea would be here with their family on Sunday, June 25th. We responded with an invitation for him to preach that morning and report on their work. And with that decision, we designated June as Global Outreach Month, and our GO Team, which Pastor Ray had already assembled, began working on a full calendar of events.
On April 6th, Pastor Ray reached out to former Grace Church Members Matt and Susan Bigelow, inviting them to share their church-planting ministry in South Africa. They confirmed that they would be in town on Sunday, June 4th. About that same time, Pastor Ray also invited former Grace Church attenders Brian and Heidi Dye to introduce us to their work with GRIP Outreach for Youth in inner-city Chicago. This Ministry focuses on Christian mentoring of boys with absentee fathers. The Dyes were available on June 18th, Father’s Day.
Next, on April 12th, Dave Patty contacted us, letting us know that he and Connie would be in town for a week in late June. So we secured him to preach on June 18th, and Global Outreach Month was beginning to look like a Divine mandate!
As dates began to fill, we knew we wanted to commission our Slovenia Summer Missions Team on the final Sunday of June and wanted to rejoicing in the Lord, as a massive Vacation Bible School Team was beginning to assemble, under the leadership of first-time Captain Ed Poole, to reach out to children locally during the second week of the month. To fill out the dates, we added evening reports from Hannah Burns (ELIC) and Irene Thevatheril (Cornerstone Family Health Ministries), Theresa Kerns and Claire Patty (Josiah Venture missionary support), and Eduardo Mendes (Training Leaders International) and Brian Williams (Christ-centered education in Chicago), along with a special session for women with Andrea Hoglund (Living in Tension: Finding Beauty in the Ampersand), and all regions were covered—our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, along with “the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8)!
One of the clearest signs of a healthy church and one of the best indicators of a strengthening church is a refined heart for global outreach. Praise God for refining this heart among us!