Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Up with Birmingham in 2014?

Over the past few weeks we have been asked about what is up with the Birmingham plans for 2014.  As we have been discussing and planning the details of the upcoming year, I thought I would share with you all the ideas and plans behind the addition of a new site to our annual trip schedule.  I hope this answers many of the questions and also gets many of you involved with us in our own backyard!

For the first five or six years of One Way Ministries, we focused completely on local and domestic missional efforts.  I have for years and still to this day, operated out of a strong concept of working in my own backyard first as I make my way into the "utter most parts of the earth!"  Some of you have been with me as I have explained the scenario that drives this idea.  As we serve in other contexts around the world and in other cultures, the question always is asked at some point, "How does this work in your community?"  As you can imagine the question on the mind of a ministry partner in another context is whether or not this is the same ministry work being done by the US church in their own communities?  The struggle for many is that the local work of ministry in our own backyards is not nearly as romantic or glamorous.  The pictures from the far reaches of the world seem to tug at the heart strings so much more and the willingness to GO and serve in a foreign context seems to be so much "easier."  Yet, right here in our own backyards, the world has come to see and hear!

You and I both know that the majority of the church is specifically planted in their home context to fulfill the function of the local church within that community.  Yes, the primary function of the local church is to evangelize its own community.  Steve Saint in his book The Great Omission, clarifies the role of mission as opposed to the local church well.  His perspective is that the local church is to reach its community with the gospel.  The role of the para-church or mission team is to assist in getting the church into the communities where it does not exist.  Based on this understanding of the role of the local church, we all should be heavily investing in the reaching of our world that lives right around us as a priority in our daily walk of faith!

In order to return to the roots of our ministry passion and to be obedient to the call of God, we are returning to Birmingham as a ministry to work alongside the local church in missional efforts across the city.  Currently there are several efforts underway serving the Birmingham community in meeting physical and spiritual needs as an act of showing the Gospel.  In 2014 we will partner with several ministry efforts in the city to assist in sharing and showing the Gospel among the communities of Birmingham.  Much of the work to be done immediately is construction related with projects in various areas for those in need.  We have a large population of elderly and widows who are in need of help and we as the church should be the ones they can depend on to help!

Our plans for 2014 are to partner with Hearts in Hands, a local ministry seeking to meet construction needs in the communities surrounding Birmingham.  We are also partnering with a ministry of Christ Church Birmingham called the Eastlake Initiative to assist in home reconstruction, community outreach and ministry effort to local families.   In addition to these two ministry efforts we will connect with many others serving the communities around Birmingham to offer a wide variety of opportunities to get involved in local missional efforts.

We have two main objectives for this opportunity of serving in 2014.  First we hope to encourage the local church to get involved locally with ministry and mission efforts in our backyard.  There are many things going on and more projects than can be accomplished that need attention.  We as the local church need to step up and get busy working together in our own backyard reaching the world and teaching the Word!  The second objective is to invite churches from outside our community to join us in Birmingham and see how to discover, connect and impact local ministry and missional efforts back in their home communities. Through partnerships with local churches and time working alongside leaders within these churches who are serving in their own backyard, we hope to encourage, challenge and assist Christ-followers from outside of Birmingham to get involved in their home community.  We will seek to foster Biblical community while serving together here in Birmingham in hopes that the Body will connect in many other cities and the church will become the source of hope and encouragement to cities across the nation.

We Are The Body!  It is the way we love each other that will allow others to see the Gospel alive and active within our lives.  It is the living Body of Christ, loving each other and those around us that causes the lost soul to sense God's kindness that draws them to a place of repentance!

We are currently seeking to build teams to serve the weekend of January 17-20, 2014.  We have a few other dates during the year we are planning to serve Birmingham that will be finalized as we work out details during the weekend in January.  Our goal is to have an exciting weekend of ministry, mission and building of Biblical community.  If you are local, you can be involved with us right form the comfort of your own bed!  The schedule during the weekend will allow you to be at home each night and serve alongside the teams during the days as we tackle some projects, build some relationships and serve the community.  If you are from outside of Birmingham, we are seeking to house out of town teams within the communities we are serving, alongside those who have invested their lives in the communities through ministry and mission.  Contact us at for more information or to reserve a spot on a team for January!

Join us for this exciting time of serving, showing and sharing!
All trips will include meals, leadership, supplies, t-shirt, and materials.
Out of town teams' housing will be included.
Trip costs are: Local - $95 per person, Out of Town - $125 per person.
$25 per person deposit prior to Dec. 31, 2013, $50per person deposit Jan. 1-10, 2014.