Red Tree Church just finished our fall series called “No Bench”. Hopefully, you got to join us for all of it. If you didn’t, I’d encourage you to check out the sermon audio here. Anyway, we spent the month talking about what the scripture teaches regarding Christians and active engagement in the work of the kingdom. The basic premise of the series is that there is no such thing as a spectator or second string Christian. There is no bench as it were.
A lot of us have been processing various levels of conviction and calling walking out of this series and I wanted to give us a short note on next steps. What do we do with what God has been telling our church and our families this last month?
the short answer is this: something.
Don’t let this conviction fade in the static noise of the busyness of our lives. If God struck you during these sermons do something about it. Talk through it with your Gospel Community or your discipler or one of our pastors.
To help you in this process, I wanted to connect you to some of what I’ve been reading that helped me flesh these thoughts out as well as some practical programs and ministries that can help you engage your calling as a member of the kingdom of God.
So we’ll start with some sources. Below are several books, I’ve read over the last year that helped me piece together the convictions and thoughts around this series.
This is probably my book of the year in 2018. Rosaria speaks plainly about the call of believers to use their home and their dinner table as a place for community and invitation. She challenges that in a post-Christian culture, biblical hospitality is the greatest apologetic.
Pastor John challenges the church to start our evangelism with the biblical truth that God is the creator and he has stamped his image on all people.
In this famous work on Missions, John Piper suggests that the true biblical worship of God is the actual goal of Missions.
In this work, Dr. Moore presents the biblical theology of adoption and shows how it speaks into our understanding of the gospel. This would be my tie book for book of the year. Everyone at Red Tree should read this book.
Every Christian should read Bunyan’s classic work on the Christian life at some point. And if it's been a while, they should read it again.
The life of missionary Hudson Taylor told by his son. This book is powerful and speaks of the power of God to move to advance his kingdom in this world.
Ok, so you've listened and read and studied and you're sold. You want to get involved in the kingdom work. So what are some resources to actuallyget involved in the ministry? How can we start doing the kingdom work here in St. Louis and around the world? Aside from checking out our welcome table looking for local service opportunities, there are plenty of amazing connections Red Tree has for your family and your Gospel Community to get involved in the work.
COTS is a charity and gospel proclamation ministry that serves the physical and spiritual immediate needs of the homeless community around the St Louis Metro area through food and clothing distribution and gospel proclamation. This is probably the easiest and simplest way to begin to dip your toe into the larger gospel work in our city. Red Tree is a drop-off point for supplies for COTS and we send groups and individuals out to serve them multiple times a month. If you have never personally gone out to the city to serve meals and clothes to our homeless population, I challenge you to go at least once.
Mission STL is an empowerment ministry dedicated to long-term poverty engagement in North St. Louis City. There are opportunities to support Mission STL through financial partnership, physical donations, volunteering, event hosting, long-term partnership via job training and life skills training, and service work days. If you've been serving at COTS for a while and are wondering what a next step could be, look here.
The Good Neighbor Initiative is a project of the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association that allows Christian families around STL to connect to refugee families who have been resettled in STL. Individual families are given opportunities for a long-term relationship with families newly relocated who feel lost and in need of a friend. St. Louis has a large refugee population including the largest population of Bosnians outside of Bosnia in the world. The Joshua Projectlists Bosnians as a critically unreached people group.
MBCH has been helping orphaned children and infants for 135 years. If you want to get involved in fostering or local adoption they are the best resource in our area and are directly funded by cooperative program giving.
The International Mission Board sends full time & fully funded missionaries to spread the gospel around the world. The IMB is one of the largest mission-sending agencies on the planet and they have been consistently funding and sending missionaries for 173 years. Individuals and families can partner with the IMB to fund missionaries, go full time into the mission field themselves, take short-term trips, or partner with will time missionaries on the field in prayer and support.
The North American Mission Board, like the IMB, is directly funded by cooperative program giving. It exists to equip, fund, and send church planters around North America. It also spear heads disaster relief around North America. Like the IMB, individuals and families can go through NAMB if they feel called to plant a church, partner with church planters, or participate in disaster relief in the US.
Baptist Global Response is the arm of the SBC that engages in global disaster relief and poverty ministry. They are among the first on the ground after natural disasters and they coordinate long term sustainable help. Anytime there is a natural disaster BGR is present and any funds donated directly to them go 100% to work on the ground. Families can donate to BGR in response to disasters or go with them to provide immediate relief in the form of feeding and work trips.
Mission Gate is a STL local prison ministry. If you want to be involved in obeying the scriptural mandate to visit the prisoner and bring them the joy of gospel and the gift of long term friendship, check them out.
Thrive is another Local STL ministry that seeks to care for women dealing with unexpected pregnancy. They seek to provide dignity, care, and gospel for both the mother and the child.
First Light is a ministry seeking to engage sexual minorities, folk struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors, as well as spouses and family members effected with love, gospel, and healing.
Red Tree already officially and directly financially supports several ministries. We would love for all of our members to pray for, support, and serve with each of our missional partners.
The reality is that there are numerous opportunities around our community and world to engage in the work of the kingdom. If you don’t see an organization you love on here, let us know. And if there isn’t an organization for the kingdom call God has placed on your heart, you can still find a way to engage! Start with your family and your friends! God may use you as the catalyst to engage a particular people, group, or affinity that currently has little gospel engagement! When it comes down to it, what matters is that we are obedient to Christ’s call to get off the bench and on the field. As Jesus himself said, the harvest is plentiful. The field is not the problem. Its the workers who are few. Let’s be a part of changing this. Let's hold each other accountable. Let's not miss what God is doing. Let's join in this marvelous work that is the Kingdom of God.