When Liz and I arrived in Kansas City to begin Christ Community, we had never served in a pastoral role before, and we had few resources. We felt God had called us to a bold-faith mission, but transparently, there were times failure seem to stare us in the face and everything felt fragile.
From the very start, we believed God was birthing Christ Community to be a quiet catalyst for spiritual awakening. We were to be a church anchored not in pastoral personality or some human vision, but rather in a disciple-making mission. That compelling mission, to be a caring family of multiplying disciples influencing our community and world for Jesus Christ, has remained at the heart of who we are continually becoming and all that we are doing in advancing Christ’s kingdom in the world. Undergirding our mission is an unwavering belief that the local church, as God designed it, is the hope of the world.
As I reflect on the past 30 years, my heart is filled with gratitude to God and to all who have made Christ Community their church home and have invested time, talent, and treasure so generously. God’s miraculous provision, extraordinary favor, and watchful presence have been a constant reality on our journey of faith.
God’s Miraculous Provision
God’s miraculous provision has been evident in so many tangible ways. Christ Community began with no congregation, no financial resources, no land or buildings. In thirty years, God has brought to Christ Community a gifted host of congregants and pastoral staff. We have experienced steady growth in attendance and a growing yearly budget. We have repeatedly seen God’s miraculous provision of land and buildings for our now five campuses.
Allowing us to have a growing impact, God has provided city partners like Christian Fellowship Baptist, Advice and Aid, The Culture House, and many more who are seeking the shalom of our city and furthering the common good. Expanding our global reach, God has also provided church partnerships in Iran, China, Germany, Rwanda and Kenya.
God has provided the financial and leadership resources to launch Made to Flourish, which as an organization is focused on bringing greater whole-life discipleship to pastors and churches across our nation. Made to Flourish is now impacting over 2,500 pastors in 24 cities.
In the last 15 years, Christ Community has become a “teaching hospital” for training young pastors through our pastoral residency program. Our 30th resident just started in January. We have also been equipping post-college students for their various vocational callings through our KC Fellows program.
When we pause to remember God’s good hand of provision, we declare with the Psalmist of old, this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
God’s Extraordinary Favor
God’s extraordinary favor has also been evident these past 30 years. It is stunning to think that our obscure, yet vibrant, faith community, located in what many view as a flyover city, has been so blessed.
Many Christian thought leaders have come to Kansas City and invested in our church family. Though I cannot list all the people who have helped equip us for our catalytic mission, let me highlight some of them who have been especially influential in shaping our church culture and refining our disciple-making mission: Dallas Willard, Os Guinness, Ravi Zacharias, Don Carson, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, Tim Keller, James Hunter, John Lennox, Michael Ramsden, David Miller, Steven Garber, Michael Emerson, Andy Crouch, Brian Fikkert, Elaine Storkey, Dana Harris, John Kilner, Josh Jipp, Constantine Campbell, Thomas McCall, Barbara Haggerty, and Mike Metzger.
Whether it was spiritual formation, theology, apologetics, cultural insight, bioethics, evangelism, vocation, economics, or racial reconciliation, Christ Community has been entrusted with a remarkable stewardship.
This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
God’s Watchful Protection
We not only remember God’s miraculous provision and extraordinary favor, we also pause to give our Good Shepherd praise for His tender care and watchful protection over us as a growing church family. As apprentices of Jesus, we have followed His instruction to pray faithfully and fervently that our Father in heaven would “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
While we have felt Satan’s hellish fury against the Bride of Christ, Christ Community has experienced divine protection from moral or financial scandal, divisive conflict, mission drift, and doctrinal erosion.
This too is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Embracing the Future
Looking back, we remember and give thanks for the Lord’s gracious faithfulness to us. Now as a multisite congregation spread throughout our city, let us embrace the fruitful future our Lord has for us with humility of heart, unity of purpose, fervent prayer, and bold faith.
Throughout 2019, we’ll be hosting events that look back on God’s faithfulness to us. I look forward to sharing these times of celebration, and I am most grateful for the wonderful privilege of sharing this journey with you.
Happy Birthday, Christ Community!