The Mission Field Next Door

What if Jesus was being serious when he said to “love your neighbor?”

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The Mission Field Next Door

Andrew Thompson | Apr 29, 2016, 16:34 PM

What if Jesus was being serious when he said to “love your neighbor?”

I had been serving as an Associate Pastor of a large church for eight years. During my entire tenure there, I had been living 15 miles away from the church’s “mission field” and commuting there to do ministry. My schedule of meetings, small groups, Bible studies, and church events kept my weeknights busy.

My calendar would have told you that I was good at doing church. However, my neighbors wouldn’t have been able to tell you…well… anything about me, because I was never in my neighborhood. I was always at the church. As a result, my neighbors didn’t know me and I didn’t know them.

What if Jesus was being serious when he said to “love your neighbor?”

And what if “neighbor” is meant to be taken literally? How could I have been a Christian and a pastor  for so long and yet missed such a basic principle of discipleship? So, I began to be intentional about loving my neighbor.

Reliant allowed me to turn my dream of planting a church into a reality.

My wife and I began inviting neighbors to our home for dinner. We hosted neighborhood block parties and cookouts. We hosted beginner’s Bible studies in our home and invited family, friends, and neighbors.

I began to feel God calling me to plant a church. But where he was “sending” me was right to my own neighborhood — a “missionary” to my neighbors, my family, and my friends. How could I fulfill that calling? I was ready to accept the call, but was unclear on how it all would work. How would I support my family? What would happen to my current group health insurance and benefits? How would we be able to collect tithes and offerings?

We established a board of directors for our new church and began meeting together in small groups, but we still had a long way to go before establishing our non-profit status or being able to even accept tax-deductible donations. We needed help to take the next step.

Reliant was the answer. Reliant partners with Gospel-centered missional churches, like ours, and helps church-planters fulfill their calling through person-to-person financial support raising. Reliant provided for us an experienced, evangelical, financially trustworthy, non-profit organization for donors to partner with. As a missionary staff member of Reliant, I was able to receive group health insurance for my wife and children, along with other benefits like dental insurance, vision insurance, disability insurance, and even a 401K for retirement!

At Reliant’s New Staff Training I received valuable training and coaching; I met the incredibly supportive Reliant staff and even made friends with other church-planters and missionaries. After completing the training and being assigned a coach to guide me through the months ahead, I had all the skills I needed to begin raising support. In less than a year, I reached my full support goal. Reliant was a Godsend to my ministry. I am so grateful that the Lord led us together two years ago. Reliant allowed me to turn my dream of planting a church into a reality.

Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson

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