Mission Teams Replace Small Groups to Reach Community

Post a Comment » Written on December 1st, 2009     
Filed under: News
REDLANDS, CA (December 1, 2009) – Norman, who has tested positive for HIV, suffered a seizure several months ago and broke both hips.

Members of Restoration Covenant Church, who had been delivering him groceries and spending time with him every Monday, helped him relocate to a first floor apartment.

“He wanted to express his thanks to our church, so he took an offering among some of his neighbors – none of whom are remotely connected to Restoration – and gave $50 to our church,” says Pastor Jon MacDonald.

Norman is one of about 25 people in seven families the church delivers food to each week. The church gets the items from a local pantry, and three “Covenant Mission Teams” of several people each deliver the groceries. They also spend at least half an hour talking and praying with the families.

The ministry works with local case managers who direct them to the neediest families, MacDonald says. The families are more than just people to be served, he adds.

“This ministry has developed some strong friendships,” MacDonald says. Half the families have visited the church at least once. A month ago, three children from one family performed a dance during a worship service and received a standing ovation.

The three-year-old church made up primarily of 20 to 35-year-olds has mission teams instead of traditional small groups, MacDonald says. The difference is the approach.

Usually, small groups are organized around geography, age, or specific needs, MacDonald says. The people in mission teams “connect through a common passion.”

The church has three other ministry teams. One has been working with participants in a substance abuse treatment program. Another tutors students from a local school. The newest – only several weeks old – is developing an art program for teenagers who live primarily on the streets.

The teenagers are not technically homeless, MacDonald says, but one or both parents have made it clear that the young people are not welcome to return until after the adults have gone to bed. Others stay away from home as much as possible due to conflicts.

The ministry hopes to reach more than 50 teenagers, MacDonald says. It already has gained support from different members of the community, including the police department, which has donated some supplies.

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