Second-String Positions By Adria Medlen, Midwest Missionary
s missionaries, we get used to playing firststring positions in ministry. However, the key to doing our jobs well is knowing when it’s time to put ourselves on the bench and let other leaders take the field. The recent prison revival in Hutchinson Correctional Facility (HCF) was a clear reminder of our desire at World Impact to work ourselves into second-string positions. Last year we coordinated and led a revival event in HCF and when discussion of planning another revival came up for this year, one of the church leaders on the inside asked if he could lead the event. We were thrilled to say, “Of course!” We organized some of the supporting pieces while the men on the inside planned the event. On the day of the revival, we joined our brothers on the inside for a powerful day of ministry, an event where our main role as missionaries was to support and pray from the bench!
“More than 20 men came forward to dedicate their lives to Christ.” Over 150 men crowded into the bleachers set up in a corner of the prison yard to hear fellow inmates testify to the grace of God. They told stories of how they now stand in the blood of Christ, forgiven and carrying no shame.
The team of World Impact missionaries and local leaders who helped with the prison revival.
Men’s hands were lifted as they worshipped in song. One inmate shared the evangelistic message, and more than 20 men came forward to dedicate their lives to Christ. After the event one of the leaders from the church on the inside said, “Just see how GOD truly moves in His people…Things like this are priceless and to be able to experience it here in prison is awesome. I can only imagine what the next chapter of my life will look like in the LORD.” God truly does move in His people, whether serving in the city or behind prison walls and we know that this exciting work in HCF is only the beginning. God will continue to raise up a powerful group of leaders to carry the banner of Christ inside the prison walls! •
From Camper to Counselor Byron’s story with World Impact began five years ago when he was invited to attend an event at the World Impact Teen Center in Los Angeles. He admits that he only initially came to spend time with a girl, but he shares that he “came in searching for love but came out with a greater Love.” What began as a way to spend time with a crush became a life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ. Ever since that first visit, Byron’s love for the Lord grew as he was taught and mentored through the World Impact ministry, including participating in a leadership and discipleship program. He began sharing the Gospel with his family and friends and even started a Bible Club at his high school.
Byron spent summers and winters at The Oaks as a camper. He was touched by the love he received, saying, “Society, the school system, and even family at points have given up on us [urban kids], but not here.” He found the messages impactful, noting, “The speakers spoke my language.” He knew they understood him, his urban culture, and his problems. They spoke Christ into his life, teaching him how to live out his faith. As a counselor, he found opportunities to have important conversations with his campers. In sharing the Gospel with urban kids, Byron says, “It’s important to speak in their language, get to know their stories, and reach into their context.” For example, with his 4th-6th grade boy campers who love comics, he uses superhero analogies to help them understand Gospel truths.
“It’s important to...reach into their context.” Byron has grown from a camper searching for love to a counselor sharing God’s gift of love. Our prayer is that those campers who love comics will grab hold of the Gospel based on Byron’s love and testimony, and then maybe one day be counselors themselves! •
Empowering Urban Leaders The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) equips leaders in the urban church to advance the Kingdom of God by providing affordable seminary training that is structured to be culturally relevant for their daily lives. The vision is to identify, empower, and release leaders who can display God’s Kingdom where they live. Read the testimonies below to see how TUMI has benefited students, thanks to partners like you.
“TUMI has been a tremendous blessing as I pursue the Lord’s call on me to become a pastor. I’ve been able to dive deeper into and consume the richness of the nature of the Father, the character and attributes of the Son, and the role and responsibility of the Holy Spirit as well as the church.” -Jason
“TUMI is great for people like me who have made mistakes but who now want to help others find Christ. Not only do I grow stronger in the Word, but I get to bring others along with me!” -Ezra
“TUMI has opened up the Scriptures for me in new ways and has helped strengthen my faith and my convictions. I love the fellowship and the learning. My teaching and my prayer life are richer and I feel equipped to do just about any form of ministry God may lead me into.” -Anna
from Rev. Efrem Smith There are millions of men and women living in poverty in the United States today. Prisons and county jails are filled with those whom we easily forget in the busyness of our daily lives. Broken systems and institutions also play a role in too many people in under-resourced urban communities not knowing their true potential, talents, and giftedness. This past year we experienced the challenges of living in the land of the divided. Political, racial, and class divisions have caused deep grieving in many hearts. The coming of a New Year offers a time for people of faith and goodwill to unite for transformation and healing. We have a tremendous opportunity for the Church to raise up future urban leaders, strengthen the Church in under-resourced communities, and come alongside the incarcerated whose lives have been made new. The challenges within our nation and around the world call on the Church to partner across lines of denomination, suburban and urban, and ethnicity like never before. We must join together our time, talents, and treasure for the cause of a greater Kingdom vision so that the Gospel might raise up an army of reconciling leaders in this critical moment. The New Year must stir up within us a new passion, a new determination, and a renewed mindset of collaboration for greater impact. I pray God would stir your heart to deepen your partnership with us this year as we seek to further His Kingdom in the city.
Efrem Smith President & CEO
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