At the last congregational meeting we heard a repeated curiosity about what is happening at North Site. Unlike many church plants, we continue to delay a public corporate gathering. In part this is because of the Council and Lead Team’s strategic decision to make Small Groups and Missions the primary ministry focus to begin with, and then adding the other two at a later time. However, there is lots that is happening at North Site. What follows is the reflection by one of our members on the ways in which North Site is currently living out Forest Grove’s four ministry areas.
1. Corporate Worship Gatherings – We meet as a larger congregation to worship through singing, reading of scripture, hear a sermon/devotional, report & rejoice with people’s missional efforts, praise and pray, hold each other accountable, share meals together and generally encourage and enjoy being in the presence of God & other believers. We are praying and discerning when we move to an open (or public) worship gathering.
2. Family Ministries – On any given Sunday, nearly 50% of our congregation is made up of children 5 years old and under. This emphasizes how critical the idea of family ministries, and specifically children`s ministry is & will be for North Site looking forward. As Brian mentioned at the last council meeting, this is a key challenge that is facing Broadway as well. We continue to discuss what this will look like. For now, I would say modeling Christian fellowship for our children to see is the key way the we disciple the children in our context.
3. Missions – This is the largest topic of conversation at any gathering (small groups or corporately) and is the reason why everyone at North Site has joined. We spend a tremendous amount of time praying into our communities and seeking the Holy Spirits guidance and favor in how we approach missions.
4. Small Groups – These have only just begun now in November (as for the longest time our Corporate Worship Gathering was essentially also a small group), and each group is discussing important questions such as: How do we engage with our communities? How do we invite people into our small groups on mission? What doors has God opened up for us that we need to engage with? And many more.
This was a trip of “leaders to leaders”, but we more aptly described it as a “family reunion”. Thanks for following the journey and praying for our team and this short time in Panama. We praise God that our goals for this trip were exceeded in many ways. We wanted to celebrate together what God has done in this partnership, we wanted to plan together for the future of this partnership, and we wanted to encourage one another in our faith in Jesus (Romans 1:12). As the partnership expands and becomes more complex and beautiful, we wanted to have common understandings and commitments to each other, which we have come away with. Obdulio (the primary indigenous leader) said it well, how from their perspective, this relationship has evolved from us ‘adopting’ them, to a ‘partnership’, to now where they simply see it as being ‘family’ together. God is answering our hopes and prayers, and doing great things through this relationship from “the river to the ends of the earth”. Hopefully, (as Jim Davidson described it) you’ve been introduced to some of your distant uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters, who you have not yet met. Who knows, maybe one day soon you will…
Juan Diaz Center
This is the Juan Diaz Center that has been a central hub of MB mission work in Panama for decades. It’s been in disrepair for years, but now they have a big vision for this center and it’s future role for their people. It is strategically located within minutes of downtown and also close to the airport. It now sits on property that has become very valuable for it’s strategic location. They gave us a tour and told us their plans of how they want to continue to use this for discipleship of the Wounaan people with a new vision.
Had a great Canadian Thanksgiving meal together with the Tony and Sarah, Allan and Colleen, Einer and Girlesa and their kids!
No pictures from this evening. We met with the missionary team and a few of the Wounaan leaders discussing what it means to be family across cultures. Equal parties in the room, discerning and collaborating together with a significant time of prayer. Felt like holy ground. You can’t take pictures of holy ground…
Heading to Old Panama
View of Downtown from Old Panama
Lunch in Old Panama
Special Police Unit in Old Pamana – Joshua 1:9