Life Is In The Blood
I want to begin by saying a couple of things. First, I miss you all. Second, thank you. I want to thank you each for your loyal and dedicated service over the years to Narrow Gate. While this past year has been difficult for all of us, it was a blessing that Covid shut down our Narrow Gate ministry when it did. Please allow me to explain.
After we shut down, in the summer of last year, God began to bless me with some revelation and wisdom from Him. When I arrived in October of 2018, I continued on with NG as we had done over the last few years. I did it this way because we had always done it this way (never a good answer when God asks you why). Numbers were very important, meal numbers that is. We were focused on meals, not on discipleship. Again, not the answer that God wants to hear.
In addition to the focus on meals, we were carrying an incredible load logistically, two remote services weekly every week of the year. Between the two services, we were serving over 150 meals per week. As of March of last year, with only a few exceptions, we had every meal covered volunteer wise. Then we lost all of those volunteer teams in the shutdown. Most of these will not return due to various reasons on their part. We cannot do the volunteer and the food logistics in this manner any more. It was too much. Most of us were close to burnout, me included. Opportunity House is why we are here. We cannot have our Thursday service negatively impacting the mission of the day shelter. This is why it was a blessing Covid shut us down. It was a blessing from the Lord. I truly believe this in my heart.
Financially and logistically, we were overburdened performing tasks that we were doing just out of habit. Worst of all, it was almost impossible to perform effective congregational care or discipleship. Narrow Gate was a ministry speeding along in its own power, and we were all trying to do it in our own power. This is precisely when burnout occurs. It was so big and unwieldy that Jim and I were struggling to manage it. Security was becoming a concern. We were all frustrated. As I mentioned earlier, many have told me that they were burning out. We need to rely on Holy Spirit power, not our power.
Enter springtime of 2021. Our God is a God of renewal, restoration, and healing. Narrow Gate is gone. I know this will be difficult for some of you to hear. However, something new has taken its place. Our new ministry is 2Gather2Gether. It can also be known as 2Gather2Gether ministry, 2G²@Oh, or 2G² ministries.
It will be run differently from the old NG. It will still take place on Thursday nights, which is the only similarity to NG. It will be held at Opportunity House. Service will begin at 6 pm. The service will be followed by a meal. The service is the priority. We will find people or churches to sponsor meals, not necessarily cook meals. The sponsors will help us buy meals that are quick and easy to heat and serve, such as pizza, subs. tacos, etc., maybe with a salad. They will be nice meals but not difficult to serve. The focus is no longer on the meal, but the worship service. We are there to worship the Lord. Focus is also on our fellowship, not just our serving. We are there to break bread and share communion with the Lord and each other.
Some other details, no vans, everyone is responsible for their own transportation. All worship functions will be administered by Pastor Jim and The Gathering. This includes preaching and music. We have three stated outcomes that are goals for this ministry, among others.
*We want to make contact with and build relationships with people we would not normally meet.
*We want to connect with those neighbors who do not have a faith community and offer support.
*We want to continue to give partner churches meaningful and enjoyable mission opportunities.
Speaking plainly, most of us were not really enjoying NG at the end. We want 2G²@OH to be fun for everyone.
We envision a community service welcoming to all denominations and people. No proselytizing, because we all go to our own churches on Sunday. Just a sweet service with a brief message where we then break bread in fellowship. I see a service where the downtown population can worship with the surrounding communities, praying together as one. With all that's happening in the world today, how can this not be good for our community? Yes, naturally the homeless of OH will be invited.
That's all for now. Our first service will be Thursday, May 20th at 6 pm. He's Alive will sponsor the food that night, as for all third Thursdays (thank you He's Alive). We have no idea in regards to numbers as to what to expect. In fact, that really is not my concern. I'm looking forward to a meaningful worship service attended by God's Holy Spirit that's pleasing to the Lord. If we do this, God will bless it. Let's pray it up.
Please share the Good News and the invite.
and Harmony UMC