We are so glad to report to you the blessing of God in our ministry these days. Well, at least we feel blessed. It was a blessing to experience the MNA Mercy Conference in Huntsville, AL. This conference was a “mixed” experience as the content was so good but the attendance was poor. The actual experience of fellowship, learning, interaction, and encouragement was tremendous. The reality that so few churches sent their Deacons was discouraging. Pray for us as we try to evaluate how to do better, how to get pastors to spread the word to their Deacons and not simply drop the information after they take a quick look at it, and how to improve our marketing across the board.
Deacons and Mercy
Please help us spread this word to all the churches: Deacons need to be trained, and trained over and over again, and they in turn need to train their congregations so they can do mercy well and effectively. Many PCA pastors take a good amount of time to train their Deacons prior to ordination. They do a great job of “theological” indoctrination, and usually not such a good job at practical training. They don’t usually re-train anyone, and assume that OJT (On the Job Training) will suffice. This results in congregations not knowing the mercy policies of their own church, and often the Deacons not even following their own policies. This is why we have the Mercy Conference, so we need prayer that God would help us correct our deficiencies and that future conferences would impact a greater number of folks. Robert Blevins had spent a good bit of time helping to train the Deacons at 1st Presbyterian Church here in Chattanooga. At the Mercy Conference they gave an excellent presentation of how they have now organized to show mercy to people who come to them for help, and how they provide some great classes to help individuals who are seeking economic development, but are also finding Christ and a welcoming church in the process.
Trips and Events
We were up in New Jersey to celebrate with New City-Atlantic City on their 10th anniversary. Pastor Santo Garofalo, along with his wife Mary Ellen, have recruited a great team of leaders in the Cohens and Ecks, to be a site host of great ministry for short term teams. They are out in the community doing evangelism, and in the community doing economic development, and they are being faithful in the lives of some folks whose dysfunctionality requires years of intense discipleship. There was joy in the house and praises to God at their banquet.
We were honored to be asked to speak at the headquarters of CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) to their leadership about reconciliation and cross-cultural ministry. Darryl Smith, from Chattanooga, now a VP for Oneness and Diversity for Cru, invited us to Orlando to speak. He told me he was one of the kids I used to pick up to bring to the YMCA to play basketball. I am amazed at how God brings things to fruition, and I am so glad the Lord saved Darryl Smith. I have recently posted a new blog which shares the points I tried to make while visiting CRU and the video of the presentation is on our website. Please let me know what you think.
(Photo above: At CRU Headquarters with Darryl and Gwen Smith)
Please pray for us this May as we will travel out to the Bay area to speak at Resurrection Oakland, travel to Jackson, MS for our son-in-law’s graduation from seminary, and up to New City-Fredericksburg, VA for their 25th anniversary. Then, and for this we need much prayer, we hold our annual Urban Ministry Institute at New City in Chattanooga, the last week of May (27-31). Click here for more information. Pray for God to give us a great teaching faculty and eager students for this intense week of learning.
May the Lord bless all of you as we worship our crucified and risen Lord. The words from the angels at the grave are eternity changing for all who believe, and the only good time when his followers couldn’t find him, “He is not here, he has risen!” We can find him in faith, but not in the tomb.
Blessings and love to you all,
Randy & Joan Nabors
Urban and Mercy Ministries