We’re studying the life and mission of Nehemiah at MainStreet this fall. I’m amazed at Nehemiah’s sacrifice, prayerfulness, leadership abilities and perseverance. I have used Nehemiah as a role model as Keri and I have set out with our own burden to rebuild in Mound — not physical walls but a new church community to glorify God’s Name in this city!
One of the biggest surprises on this journey has been where much of the help has come from so far. We’re inviting local friends and families to join MainStreet’s mission in Mound, but so far few of them have jumped in. I still believe, as Paul discovered in Corinth, that God “has many people in this city” (Acts 19) and they will come in God’s time. But, as I read about Nehemiah’s enormous project to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, I was encouraged to discover that many of Nehemiah’s team members were also drawn from a variety of different locations outside of Jerusalem. People came from eight different places up to a fifteen- or twenty-mile radius — and that’s centuries before automobiles and the interstate! Raymond Brown summarizes,
“The enterprise could not have been attempted without help from the outside. Volunteers came from Jericho (2), Tekoa (5), Gibeon (7), Mizpah (7, 15, 19), Zanoah (13), Beth Hakkerem (14), Beth Zur (16) and Keilah (17, 18). It was of little direct or immediate benefit to them if Jerusalem’s walls were repaired. They had their own fields to cultivate, and farms and workshops must be maintained, but they left their homes and families in order to offer themselves for service in the city” (Brown, The Message of Nehemiah, 66).
Similarly, we have been blessed by a strong team of volunteers who have selflessly joined the MainStreet journey this past year coming from other locations and churches. Why? They give generously of their time, talents and treasure not expecting much in return. If you ask them why their involved, I suspect their answers would vary from person to person. However, the main reason, I hope, they have join up is that they believe in our mission to build a community of faith in a town where many are currently not attending any existing churches, and they just might give MainStreet a try and encounter the Living Christ in our midst!
Here’s a photo of some of our Mission Team — many coming from outside the community! We’re especially grateful to our Mission Friends at Excelsior Covenant Church across the lake.