Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Missional Church Center Interview w/ Andrew Hill

Recently I spent some time with Andrew Hill, youth pastor at Grace Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Having served in that leadership role for seven years, Andrew has seen children grow to youth, graduate and go on to college. Grace Church is located in a very affluent area south of Atlanta and since being started over 30 years ago, has had a history of significant missionary support. More than 35% of the church budget has been invested in international mission ministry.

While the church celebrated its international involvement, over a period of years it grew less engaged with people in its own community. This realization led church leaders to rethink the reason for which Grace exists. Ultimately congregational elders became convinced that their church must experience a culture shift with regard to their community involvement.

Hill shared how church leaders came to realize that the ongoing resource for international mission would be diminished if the church failed to reach people in its own community. Yet, growth for growth sake was not an acceptable focus. Instead, Grace Church sought to become as active locally as it was globally. While some feared funds would be diverted from the important task of international mission, leaders sought to ensure the church’s continued engagement with nations beyond, while enhancing their own relevant impact at home.

Today, the emphasis toward a truly missional focus, both locally and globally has moved beyond the elders to garner the support of a larger segment of the congregation. Now youth ministries tend to look less like good times and entertainment, and more like mission as calendared youth events express the compassion of Christ for those who live near Grace Church. Youth activities tend to center more around doing life together while serving others.

Speaking of how disciples are being made among those in his youth group, Hill stipulated that the most effective disciple-making is not taking place in formal structures or typical discipleship classes. Rather, youth are growing as followers of Christ as they relate to adult “mentors” who join youth as sponsors in youth mission experiences. In Hill’s words, disciple making happens more when youth just hang-out with adults who are passionate followers of Christ. It is in those contexts that lives are being transformed and authentic disciples are maturing.

1 comment:

First Baptist said...

Good to see you're doing well Milfred.

Daniel Patrick