We in Mission Alive were invited to begin walking with Fred Liggin and the Williamsburg Christian church when he transitioned into his leadership role at WCC two years ago. Fred calls Gailyn his special mentor and coach, his sounding board and partner in his personal journey to cast a new vision and lead this church toward spiritual renewal.
Fred said, “We came to a cross roads where I realized we needed a partner in the journey. I shared this with the elders and we invited Mission Alive into our journey.” Theirs is an exceptional story, not just because attendance has doubled and children’s ministry tripled, but because they have begun to think of themselves as a kingdom community on mission with God. In this story you will hear that growth is not primarily about numbers but a people’s heart on mission with God.
“Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice” (Psalm 105:3)
The Mission Alive Celebration was filled with stories of God’s work— the story of a searcher coming to Christ in Mesquite, the story of church renewal in South Carolina, the story of church planting in Denver, and the story of equipping for church planting and renewal through Mission Alive. Chris Altrock, Mission Alive board member and preaching minister of the Highland Church of Christ in Memphis, who also emceed the program, called these “remarkable stories of God’s breakthrough.”
“My favorite part,” said church planter Charles Kiser, “was when Corey Rose, a member of ONEcommunity Church of Christ, spoke about his participation in that Mission Alive church planting by saying, ‘It’s like I’m a minister or something!’ People like Corey are coming out of darkness, into the light, and being equipped and released into God’s mission . . . . Praise God!”
Mission Alive board member Allen Close, unable to attend because of a skiing accident, gave a video testimony about the renewal of the Lexington church near Columbia, South Carolina through ReVision. He tells of multiple conversions of college age students, outreach among Hispanics, and young people who not only raise money for the poor but also minister personally in their contexts of brokenness. Allen said he had sometimes felt “like an Old Testament prophet carrying an unpopular message” but the church has undergone a mighty transformation. Listen to Allen’s testimony of transformation through ReVision:
Robbie James’ journey to church planting in Denver was the story of how God worked in several “living rooms” over a decade – from the Van Rheenens’ living room in Abilene to living rooms in Denver. He focused on the role of prayer and reliance upon God. “Prayer is not the means to an end,” he declared. “It is the end!” He reminded us: “God loves you! He really loves you!”
Gailyn and Becky Van Rheenen told the story of Mission Alive from its inception. “Equipping kingdom communities on mission with God” has become our core identity leading to the planting of 20 churches in 18 cities in 9 states/providences of the United States and Canada; renewal of 7 existing churches through ReVision; and the training of 47 certified coaches working in 35 churches. “To be faithful to God and his kingdom,” Gailyn said, “both existing churches and new church plantings must become disciple-making cultures on mission with God.”
“If you set out to make disciples, you will eventually build the Church. If you set out to build the Church, there is no guarantee you will make disciples. It is far more likely that you will create consumers who depend on the spiritual services that professionals like yourself provide for them” (Breen and Cockram, Building a Discipling Culture, p. 6-7).
Becky concluded their presentation by saying, “We invite you to go on mission with us! We may not have all the answers to ‘Where?’, ‘When?’, or ‘How?’ as we start. We will find the answers as we journey together. It’s too big for any of us, but together with God’s help we can do it. Let’s go on mission together!”
We are thankful for the 205 people who gathered at the Riverside church building in Coppell for the event and graciously gave over $21,000 to God’s work through Mission Alive.