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Missional Leaders' Banquet Highlights

On May 9, 2019 Christ Presbyterian Church hosted its annual Missional Leaders’ Banquet at Maggiano’s Little Italy, honoring 23 Mission Advisory Team members and the 2018-19 leadership of 22 Missional Communities. 120 leaders and spouses attended, and representatives from each Missional Community present offered reflections on the past year. Here are highlights from the stories shared that evening:

“We go inside prison walls and offer hope [at TN Prison for Women]. This year during our Easter service at the prison, we saw 43 women come to know Christ. For the first time, the warden allowed the prisoners’ children to join them as part of the service.”
Rochelle Brock, Equipping Incarcerated Women

“One of our ongoing events is called Friday Night Lights. We bring the kids dinner and cupcakes and then play games. It’s been so special to see them grow to feel comfortable with us. We want to create opportunities for them to just have fun and be kids. Our goal is to build joy-filled friendships, help foster a love within them for learning and help them discover God-inspired dreams.”
Kelly Bradway, Preston Taylor Ministries (MC)

“Our group is a 12-step, Christ-centered recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind — sex addiction, gambling, lying, alcoholism — you name it. Through our weekly meetings, we discover that we have the wonderful gift of knowing we don’t have to carry our hurt and guilt. We see a lot of miracles every week. It’s like the ‘Field of Dreams.’ We just open the doors and people keep coming.”
Charlton Lentz, Celebrate Recovery

“We are a multigenerational group creating opportunities for connection so single women don’t feel isolated or lonely[, ...] sharing a meal, studying the Bible, attending a concert, hiking or canoeing... One of my favorite memories from this past year occurred during a getaway we planned for the group. One participant in her 70s excitedly shared, ‘I’ve never been on an overnight retreat before!’ It was a sweet reminder that it’s never too late to form meaningful friendships with others.”
Jill Khan, Single Women Celebrating Life Together

“For parents of children with cleft lips and cleft palates, discovering the path of treatment, including which doctors and specialists to visit and in what order, is a complicated, unknown territory... We help these families determine the path forward and connect them with medical professionals who can offer insight on treatment and healing. Recently, a prominent Nashville medical group reached out and shared, ‘We see your group as the go-to support for Nashville.’ We couldn't be more grateful for this feedback.”
Kristin Patton, Nashville S.P.E.A.K.S.

“We support New Hope Academy through special events, prayer and student mentoring. The school’s mission is to function as a Christ-centered community school with an economically, racially and culturally diverse student body. This year we’ve seen the students desire to cultivate relationships with their mentors, even when things weren’t easy… We’ve witnessed the importance and value of these relationships, and it’s been a wonderful thing.”
Pat Ummel, New Hope Academy (MC)

“We’re a multigenerational group that uses our gifts of knitting and crocheting to bless women throughout Nashville. In the past year we’ve made items such as blankets, newborn hats and washcloths. There’s something special that happens when women gather to create beautiful things and pray over the individuals who’ll receive the gifts we are making for them. It feels like a sacred circle.”
Leah Rader, Yarning for Hope

“We seek to build relationships and share Christ’s love with women who are survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. This year, it’s been a privilege to build friendships with the women and witness them enjoy activities that most of them missed as children. On one occasion we busted a piñata at Percy Warner Park! It’s also been amazing to share Scripture with them. Some have been surprised to learn that prostitutes are mentioned in the Bible. They’ve discovered that God doesn’t remember their sin. It’s so healing for them.”
Susan Garvey, Magdalene (MC)

“We exist to function as a safe place and creative respite for those in Nashville who are songwriters, bloggers and poets. This year we’ve cultivated the skills of putting truth and beauty out into a world that really needs it.”
Russ Ramsey, Mug & Pencil

“This year we’ve had new girls join our troop who have no prior connection to our church or school. We function as an open troop where anyone can join… It’s been exciting to welcome them. We’ve seen some longstanding members of our troop embrace the new girls and graciously allow them to be part of this community. These character-building opportunities are invaluable.”
Kate Etue, Girl Scout Troop 2123

To get involved with any of these teams, contact Cammy Bethea or visit our Missional Communities page.

Considerations from Cammy

Every July 1 begins a new fiscal year at Christ Presbyterian Church and provides another opportunity to look back and look ahead. We are incredibly grateful this year for our growth in dollars and people—our most generous year ever—which allows us to invest 37% of our budget beyond our Old Hickory Blvd location (over $1.4M) in ministries reaching across Nashville and around the globe.

Our MAT (Mission Advisory Team) joins me in thanking over 120 volunteer leaders and 1,390 participants who served faithfully this past year with our Missional Communities, regularly impacting over 9,800 lives across Nashville! It was a joy for us to honor and celebrate you all at our year-end Missional Leaders' Appreciation Banquet in early May.

Looking ahead, the reminder to be fully present keeps coming up in conversation among our staff and with close friends. Let's set aside our iPhones this summer, take a look around, and be present where he's planted us. You’re right where you belong for a purpose—whether it's your home, your workplace, your favorite non-profit or a hike with your friends.

Let’s not overlook the people around us. Your early-morning barista. Your son's coach. Your new neighbor. Someone new you meet as you walk into one of our three Christ Presbyterian locations...

Will you join me this summer in looking for intentional ways to include and value those around you? As I recently read in Melinda Gates The Moment of Lift, “We all want to have something to offer. This is how we belong. It’s how we feel included. So if we want to include everyone, then we have to help everyone develop their talents and use their gifts for the good of community. That’s what inclusion means—everyone is a contributor.”

According to the New York Post, “The average American hasn’t made a new friend in five years” (05.09.19). In a city growing as rapidly as Nashville, let's change that fact and be present with those around us. Let's continue to follow Christ in his mission of loving people, places and things to life, including new friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to his power at work at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV

Your Partnership Dollars Changing Lives

In addition to investing in local and global church-planting, we also support Third Millennium Ministries and African Leadership, Inc.—both of which offer theological training to global church leaders.

Third Mill offers biblical education for the world. For free. That's right: People from 37 different countries requested their free materials in October/November 2018—and they average more than one million visitors per year to their website. Because their online materials are available in multiple languages at no cost, Third Mill resources are truly accessible to global church leaders wherever they are.

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African Leadership, Inc. trains pastors like Pastor Daniel in central Malawi and Pastor Tito in South Sudan. Communities change for the better, living lives with the hope of the gospel.

As African Leadership explains, "This is success—where pastors and church leaders are biblically literate and theologically sound—and where plans for community maturity and growth (spiritually, emotionally and physically) can be defined."

Pastor Chipiliro shares his remarkable story of God’s work in the rural area outside Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. And Pastor Denis has worked for the past 20 years to grow the church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Amidst war, chaos and trauma, he remains unwavering in his commitment to affect sustainable change in his corner of the world. As Denis fiercely states: “We have to help the others. We have to work for the others who do not know.”

Lastly, Pastor Geoffrey Ocan has fought tirelessly to see Uganda flourish from the inside out. Despite war, poverty, refugee crises and abduction, Geoffrey passionately believes Ugandans can develop a thriving country if they learn, work and problem solve together. He and his wife Jennifer are dedicated teachers who encourage the next generation of leaders to dream and build thriving communities.

Thanks to your dollars changing lives, we're able to continue partnering with these brothers and sisters whose global impact is transforming lives.

Considerations from Cammy

As Helen Keller once said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." That's one reason we believe Missional Communities are so effective. As of May 2018, we know of 1,063 folks involved who are impacting an additional 4,864 folks across our city on a regular basis. Isn't that incredible?! We’re grateful for the 158 volunteer leaders who draft their mission with passion and with purpose—then seek to recruit others to join them as they follow Jesus in his mission to love people, places and things to life. 
 
Did you know we recently approved more than $70,000 in support of 13 Missional Communities serving across Nashville? Schools. Special Needs. Housing. Artists. Anti-Human Trafficking. Equipping the Incarcerated. Just to name a few. All ages. Singles. Married. New to Nashville. Long-time Nashvillians. Leaders. Followers. Mobilizers. Owners. Change agents. 
 
Want to launch a brand-new Missional Community that doesn't exist yet? Start by forming a small leadership team (three-plus people)—then email me to get coffee and pitch your ideas. Consider how you can get connected and serve this year! Summer is the perfect time to get the conversation going—in time to apply for a fall (mid-year) Missional Grant!
 

Missional Partners: Did You Know?

Each year, we are steadily and strategically increasing our Mission Advisory Team budget to include selected efforts which are leading examples of faith and work initiatives in our city. This month, we are excited to let you all know we've added the following to our MAT Budget:

Porter's Call offers support, encouragement, and counsel to recording artists and their families. They provide a safe and confidential refuge for artists to deal with the issues they face, at no charge. Since its beginning, more than 1,000 different artists, from all genres, have come through their doors.

Corner to Corner offers a proven 10-week Business Entrepreneurship Academy that equips community members with the skills they need to plan, start, and grow their own small business. In Spring 2018, 31 people graduated from 3 different sites. 93% of them were African American; 78% were from a low-moderate income tract, and 80% were women. By Fall 2018, they'll have 70-75 graduates in various stages of establishing their business, believing that “when we invest in our own, we all profit.”  

Sew for Hope began as a ministry of Thriftsmart teaching a group of four Bhutanese students— then grew into a bigger team of people committed to sharing their love of sewing while making Nashville a welcoming place for refugees. Sew for Hope now celebrates more than 200 graduates of its Basic Sewing program—all of whom have received professional training, a certificate, sewing tools, and a new sewing machine to help them begin their own business or become employed in a sewing related field.