Posted: 12/19/19 at 1:10pm. Article by Gannon Sims.
Clarity brings confidence, and confidence brings courage. This word from Pastor Jeff Hudgins in Floyd, Virginia, has informed the journey he has been on as he develops ways of being church outside the walls of his church—Floyd Baptist. He’s calling the initiative Grace at the Edge.
It’s simple: he and his team have gotten clarity around places they are already part of. A local neighborhood and a local arts and education center are places on the edge, and they are praying about what the needs are in these places. These places are natural points of intersection for their community. Families he knows already live in the neighborhood. His daughter is already involved at the arts center. Clarity comes when we see how to cultivate Christ’s presence right in front of us.
Deuteronomy 30 says, “The word is very near you.” This brings confidence. The word is not in some distant place. It’s not a place we have to look hard for; there is often grace right there for and with people on the edges of our regular lives. The word confidence literally means with faith. Once we know where we’re called, and once we know that the word is near, we move forward with faith. And this brings courage.
The season of Advent brings us face to face with the angels who tell Mary and Joseph to fear not. In 1 John we read that perfect love casts out fear. When we have clarity and confidence around the places and people we’re called to, we have the grace to be courageous. It’s courageous to know and to live the love we’ve received from Christ and from others so that we can give and be in relationship—even on the edge.
Around Virginia and across the nation, we’re seeing more and more everyday people step out with clarity, confidence, and courage.
Jordan and Michael at Salem Baptist in Sparta, Virginia, are stepping out to love those who share their passion for health, nutrition, and mixed martial arts.
A team from Calvary Baptist in Bowling Green is spurring one another on to cultivate the presence of Christ in multiple places.
A month ago, this team thought they might be starting one fresh expression of church. Now they’re feeling called to start four, as each member of their team has gotten clarity around their calling. Mel is spending more time with the clients at the local food pantry. Marty is spending time with his friends in the recovery community. Helen is experimenting with leading art classes in three different locations where she has found a person of peace. Judy, who’s been leading a fitness class for the church, is now being asked to bring this to reach other places and people in their county.
Graceland Baptist Church in Powhatan, a church that has been on the Fresh Expressions journey since 2012, is praying about the start of their fifth dinner church in the past 18 months. The Lord has given them clarity about two specific populations on the edge: those with special needs and veterans. The photos above are from a recent combined celebration event at Graceland with two of their fresh expressions of church.
Where are you asking for clarity, courage, and confidence? To whom is God calling you? Fear not. The word is near.
If you’re interested in learning more Fresh Expressions, find us at the Revitalize Conference at Woodland Baptist Church in Arrington; or better yet, join us at thein Reston where you’ll receive challenging words from Lenard Sweet and Tod Bolsinger and hear from everyday people who are growing in clarity, confidence, and courage as we dream about the future church. BGAV affiliates can register with the code BGAV2020 for a big discount!