We left CRM more than seven months ago to join staff with Christian Associates International (CAI). Technically, that means that we transitioned out of a role in leadership development, and into the role of church-planters.
...but what does that really mean?
A trip back to California this past Christmas season helped me realize something... and may explain why we've had such a difficult time recuperating monthly donations to our ministry that were lost in the transition... people aren't really sure what we're doing.
I'm hoping to share a bit about CAI and Mosaic and perhaps enlighten you as to what it is that the McKenzies are currently up to.
Christian Associates is an organization committed to the movement of establishing communities of Christ-followers all across Europe, who seek authentic relationships with God and with each other. By extending Christ's love, grace and truth, combined with the deep desire to impact our cities by generating hope, serving needs and seeking justice, we believe that the multiplication of similar missional communities can spread throughout Europe in a grassroots movement.
Jasheen and I are now a part of one such community of faith. Mosaic is the developing church-plant that we have joined. Mosaic is an international group that gathers regularly and informally. As a community, we are committed primarily to engaging the unchurched people of our city. Our desire is to provide the opportunity for every man, woman and child in the west end of Glasgow to hear the gospel message clearly communicated and to see it dynamically expressed through loving, missional, reproducing bodies of believers.
We share an appreciation for festal and celebratory gatherings in harmony with times of quiet reflection. One of our core values is learning and exploring ways to live out our faith and express Christian community in ways relevant and practical to the 21st century. We do this through our Sunday expressions of worship, as well as in the ways we seek to missionally serve those in our surrounding neighborhoods.
As with many young churches, we strive to establish our identity as a community of Jesus Christ. And as many young churches, we are almost in a constant state of flux - be it growth, mission, or shared, sacrificial roles of responsibility and service to the community. Jasheen and I are entering Mosaic at a time that seems primed for the gifts and contributions that we have to offer.
Jasheen is a natural evangelist, and she thrives in roles of relationship-building with people in our neighborhood. God has used her personal experience of coming to Christ in a dynamic way to connect with people who have the same questions and skepticism that she once had toward the Bible and 'organized religion.'
My passions also lie in building relationships with those outside the church, as well as in the areas of spiritual formation, discipleship and spiritual growth. As our roles develop and solidify with Mosaic, we are seeing opportunities to exercise these gifts and passions in several ways that will supplement the work already begun through Mosaic in these areas. We are wading in to help in areas of discipleship groups, home groups and coaching/mentoring relationships.
As a couple, we seek to strike a healthy balance between body life and missional life in our community - both bringing people to a safe place to explore who Jesus is and what it means to enter into relationship with him, as well as helping those already in relationship with Him discover a deeper, more intimate knowledge of a life in Him.
Growth in the size of Mosaic is not a primary concern for us, as much as growth in depth of relationship with Christ for those already a part of our community of faith. We know that numbers will increase if we simply endeavor to bring people to Christ in the same way we see people do that throughout the Gospels. When people encountered Jesus, their first response was almost always to go and tell people who they saw and bring them to see for themselves. We have no overly developed strategy of reaching the world beyond living out God's truth and love and giving people the opportunity to discover Jesus in the same way we have.
One of my favorite expressions in scripture is, "Come and see." It's the simplest, most basic approach to evangelism. When Jesus encountered the woman at the well (John 4), she left what she was doing and went to tell those in her town about the man who knew everything about her. She simply invited people to come and see this man who could be the Messiah.
As Jasheen and I grow into our roles at Mosaic, we continue our ministry of inviting people to come and see Jesus. And now, as a part of a Christian community, we're also able to take part in helping others discover the depths of joy that can be found in authentic intimacy with our Savior.
I hope this clears up any questions that may have been out there about our new organization and new roles in ministry. As always, we appreciate your prayers and support, and we are so very grateful for those of you that have partnered and will partner with us in these areas.