1806. That year is etched in my mind.
Tucked away in Mission Park is a small monument, a stop on a tour of the campus of Williams College. Unadorned and hardly impressive.
I can still hear the sophomore tour guide’s chipper, rehearsed spiel: “This is the Haystack Monument, which commemorates a prayer meeting held in 1806 by five men who took cover under a haystack during a thunderstorm.” Quaint and forgettable.
Only years later did I learn that a worldwide missions movement was born under a haystack.
“Bowed in prayer, these first American student volunteers for foreign missions willed that God should have their lives for service wherever he needed them, and in that self-dedication really gave birth to the first student missionary society in America.” (Clarence P. Shedd, Two Centuries of Student Christian Movements. New York: Association Press, 1934. Pg. 52)
So I am encouraged by our beginnings as a five-member missions committee, born in a warehouse a few months ago and recently dubbed MG REACH: Maranatha Grace
R -"Redeemed" to
E - "Evangelize"
A - "All peoples"
C - as we mobilize the "Church"
H - for "His Glory"
In essence, MG REACH seeks to make much of Jesus, the vision of Maranatha Grace Church.
And we do so by
Fostering a culture of outward-focused living, because we are the “sent ones” and missions is not to be relegated to a committee or department in a church; it is to be a part of our Christian identity, our DNA; and
Facilitating awakening to Jesus’ great commission to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), awareness of different people groups, opportunities and resources, and a way to be Jesus’ witnesses unto the ends of the earth.
Our name isn’t just a fancy acronym though.
To reach means to stretch, to extend, which reminds me of ektenos: to be stretched out, earnestly, fervently. Jesus Christ, the first and greatest missionary, loved us with a love that was not only genuine, true and undying; He reached us through His incarnation, the shedding of His glories in heaven to be with us on earth and to die for us so that we might be with Him forever. And as followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we seek to do the same, to extend ourselves in fervent love and reach out to others who do not yet know Jesus and need His saving grace.
“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” - C. T. Studd, Pioneer Missionary
MG REACH will hold an informational meeting at the end of August about upcoming missions-related events and opportunities to get involved.
(and maybe 2015 will mark the beginning of yet another great missions movement....)
-Mihye Kim, Deacon - Missions