Declaring and Demonstrating the Gospel in Community – A Story

October 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

I recently received a very encouraging email from a missional community leader that perfectly encapsulates doing mission (declaration and demonstration) in the context of a community.  I hope this encourages and edifies you, as it did me!

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Tonight I met up with my writers’ group. There are three of us: two believers, Christina and me, and one non–believer, Jenny. We have openly shared the gospel with Jenny before. She’s listened respectfully to what we believe but didn’t bring up specifics again.

At the end of the night, Christina pulled out her phone and texted someone. I asked if everything was okay. Christina went on to say that there’s this guy in her community who’s going through a really rough time. He lost his job and has some health issues, so he’s dealing with depression and insomnia. Their community has gathered around to fight for him. Someone from the community calls him every night at 10:00 to check up on him and make sure he goes to bed. Tonight, Christina was just responding to his text that said he was heading to bed.

I could tell Jenny was taken aback by Christina’s story. She said, “I’ve never (emphasizing the never) had friends like your friends.”

I realize now – in retrospect – that this would have been a perfect time to segue into “We only love that like because Christ loved us first.” Unfortunately, neither Christina nor I said that. I said something about that’s what community does; it fights for you when you can’t fight for yourself. And eventually the conversation headed another direction.

I’m praying the Holy Spirit continues to work on Jenny’s heart and draw the three of us closer and into more gospel conversations!

I’m sending this to you so you know that non-believers are noticing. They are saying things like “I’ve never had that.” They are being dumbfounded by the testimony of missional community, a testimony of the church as it should be. It’s a small story. But as I sat down to respond to someone else’s email, it just sort of poured out. So I thought I should send it.

Thank you for your endurance to the work God has called you in leading the charge for missional communities. Praise God for all He’s doing!

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

One response to Declaring and Demonstrating the Gospel in Community – A Story

  1. So cool. Thanks for sharing Todd!

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