Bolstering Updates from Austin, Lamar, and St. Louis

Church Establishment Committee (CEC) brethren and the Austin, St. Louis and Lamar congregations continue to work together to bolster the churches in these three areas. God is working in mighty and powerful ways in answer to their prayers and those of the brotherhood nationally.

In Austin/Bastrop, TX

God has been increasing this congregation through community outreach efforts and through brothers and sisters answering the call to support the church. The congregation has increased in numbers by more than 25 adults/children with four baptisms.

During the Week of June 5, over 70 children eagerly came to learn about Jesus' love during Vacation Bible School. All praise and glory to God!

Bolstering continues

During the first part of May, the Austin congregation and members of the Church Establishment Committee worked together in a bolstering meeting to review their vision, mission and guiding principle statements developed last year and to see how they are being fulfilled. The verses in Ephesians 4:11-13 are a wonderful prayer passage for this church and all our churches.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

 The church family asks for your continued prayers that His Spirit will continue to work mightily.

In Lamar, MO

Earlier this year, bolstering efforts began in Lamar, MO. A Spiritual Gifts presentation was done in March, with an analysis that followed to establish what gifts are present in the congregation and the areas of opportunity. In April there was a review of the Mission Statement followed by a discussion on developing a local vision. It was decided that at the current time there are key focus areas to begin worship/singing services at the Care Center and increase support to the Good Samaritan organization. Further, the single group is now viable and can engage with other single groups. Additional discussion will occur in June on how to communicate to the national church who the Lamar congregation is, its opportunities and needs. Continue to pray for this congregation that God would move hearts to support and grow this church family according to His will.

In St. Louis, MO

May God be praised as this congregation continues to see families, children, and singles move into the area over the Summer of 2017. The Sunday School in particular is slated to receive a renovation to accommodate the influx of children and to bring the space into regulatory compliance. Plans are also underway to revamp the dining room seating to make better use of the space as God moves hearts to support this church. Two converts currently call this family of believers their own. In addition, the Summer VBS was recently held and was attended by 17 children and 8 teacher-volunteers. The bonding that happened between church, volunteers, and children was a blessing to behold. The St. Louis Bolstering committee continues to ask for prayers as these families integrate into the local church and form the vision that will carry them through the coming years.

How you can help?

In a simple word, pray. Thank God for answered prayers. Pray for the families integrating into the Austin and St. Louis areas. Pray for wisdom on behalf of the CEC brethren and the Austin, Lamar and St. Louis congregations as they continue their bolstering efforts. Ask God to continue to meet the needs in these congregations. If you feel led to answer the call to support these congregations, talk with your elder or e-mail the CEC@harvestcall.org mailbox for more information.

Moving from Dependence/Receiving to Self-Sustaining/Giving

Historically, new Apostolic Christian congregations have blossomed into self-sustaining, fully functional local churches when God has prospered small gatherings of committed believers. This transition always takes time, and several other important factors have proven to be essential to this growth phase of our smaller churches. The Church Establishment Committee (CEC), under HarvestCall, has been developed to come alongside our smaller churches to help facilitate their path to becoming healthy, viable churches in the areas of local pulpit ministry, critical mass attendance, spiritual and relational vibrancy, and financial independence.

After much prayer and deliberation, the churches in St. Louis, Missouri and Austin, Texas were chosen as pilotSt. Louis church building churches by the CEC. Both of these churches had made significant efforts in reaching out into their communities with the Gospel. They also had the full support of their elder and their congregations were united to move ahead with the CEC. Each church was assigned a committee made up of 4-5 brothers (several from the CEC along with 1-2 local brothers) to form a local Church Bolstering Committee. The Bolstering Committee meets with the congregation over multiple occasions to guide the local church in assessing their strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on retaining the fabric of individuals that God has already set in place. The goal is to determine what the local church canAustin church building do and where short term support is needed from the national church.

Typically, the first meeting is to evaluate how they individually and collectively fulfill the Four Pillar Mission of the Apostolic Christian Church:

  1. To present to the lost the Gospel message of salvation based on faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and a true repentance and conversion (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 3:19; Eph. 2:8)
  2. To teach and nurture the believers toward a sanctified life and to faithfulness, by God’s grace and through His Word (Col. 1:28; Eph. 4:12; Eph. 5:26-27)
  3. To preserve sound doctrine by “contending for the faith” (Jude 3; Acts 20:27; 1 Tim. 4:16)
  4. To offer humble deeds of service to fellow believers and all mankind, in the name of Christ (Gal. 5:13; Gal. 6:10; Phil. 2:7)

With guidance from the Bolstering Committee, the church will determine where the pillars are balanced and make sure one pillar has not been overemphasized to the detriment of another (e.g., Deeds of service overshadow nurturing the believer, etc.) Another meeting focuses on the spiritual gifts within the church and if any gifts are lacking. In addition to facilitating these self-reflective meetings, the CEC is also expected to tap into the national church for any needs that cannot be met by the local church. We thank God for the growth each church has made toward becoming self-sustaining and less dependent on the national church. Lord willing, the CEC plans to start working with additional churches in the near future.

Because God blessed the pilots in Austin and St. Louis, the CEC started working with the Lamar congregation earlier this year. They will plan to work with additional churches in the future as God opens doors.