Fat with Good Things

by Sarah Klazinga, Administrative Assistant for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries

 “When people are captured by the whole Word of God, it’s like a gentle rain that waters the earth; over time you see fruit.” That was Pastor Justin Rosser’s comment on how the faithful ministry of the preached Word has worked itself out into Word and Deed opportunities in the congregation. As one man has put it, “Your theology always comes out your fingertips.”

Rosser is the associate pastor at Resurrection OPC, located in Matthews, NC, which is part of the greater Charlotte area. Resurrection has had a faithful pulpit ministry since its founding in 1975, and has most recently been pastored by Nathan Trice since 1996. Trice also serves as the President of the CDM.

Resurrection is, by OPC standards, a large church with around 240 members and two pastors in the suburbs of a 1.5-million-person, southern city. Because of its proximity to such a large, diverse city in the Bible belt; its long-time faithfulness; and, the Lord’s abundant blessing in these circumstances, the congregation has become a lively bunch of people seeking out opportunities to put the Gospel into action.

For the last twenty years members of the congregation have done a weekly Bible study at a local nursing home; gathering the residents, visiting with them, and having a time of singing and Bible study together.

Some members have been involved in a once-a-month breakfast at Charlotte’s Rescue Mission, where they serve breakfast and the Good News of Jesus to men going through an intensive program for drug and alcohol abuse.

For years some of Resurrection’s members were involved in an inner-city outreach to refugee families. This ministry owns an apartment complex for refugee housing, where former members of the Charlotte Eagles (a Christian soccer team) coach and disciple the children simultaneously.  Each week the ministry gathers kids together in the complex, and area churches are invited to join them in playing soccer and talking about Jesus through small group Bible study.

Brookstone School is another area ministry that Resurrection has been heavily involved in. Brookstone is an inner-city Christian school in downtown Charlotte. They have a lunch-buddy program where men from area churches can sign up to be a lunch-buddy with a boy at the school. For many inner-city boys this is literally being “a father to the fatherless.” Resurrection also takes a regular diaconal offering designated to Brookstone School, and has historically hosted a VBS for them one week out of the summer.

Project 658 is another refugee ministry in the Charlotte area that some of the members of Resurrection are heavily involved in.

The greater Charlotte area has a very strong pro-life presence and local ministries actively seek out churches to partner with them in preaching and praying outside of the local abortion clinics. Charlotte is home to the largest abortion provider in the southeast, with women driving from as far as Florida and Maryland to terminate their pregnancies. Area churches can sign up to be a gospel presence outside these abortion clinics, praying, fasting, handing out resources to the women, and sharing the freedom found only in Christ. Some of Resurrection’s members are sidewalk counselors or volunteers with the local crisis pregnancy center, and a few of them are a regular, weekly presence outside the abortion clinic.

Rosser says that there are two main ways that churches seem to go about outreach ministries: either a church has “a thing” – they offer ESL classes, host a food pantry in their fellowship hall, sponsor a refugee family, etc.; or a church can attach themselves to someone else’s “thing.” There are pros and cons to both, but what Pastor Rosser has found is that being a part of ministries that are already going on allows the congregation to try things, and to invest where they feel burdened to serve. For some, that’s pro-life ministry, and they’ve been able to jump into what is already a well-established, Gospel-centered, pro-life presence in the Charlotte area. For others, they may feel the burden to serve refugee families, and there are several opportunities for Gospel-centered ministry already going on.

He concludes that when God’s people are “fat with good things” – full of the Word of God and the Spirit of God, it overflows in service for God.

Perhaps your congregation doesn’t seem so ideally situated, with a second pastor that can devote his time to things like this, in a city full of Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting opportunities. But as the Word of God is faithfully preached in our churches, and the people of God are stirred by His Spirit, our theology will begin to flow out of our fingertips, and perhaps this is an encouragement to each of you to see what’s going on in the places where you’ve been called to serve. God is at work in the places where we live. Let’s serve Him with our strength.


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