Well, on Monday night around 10 P.M I arrived in Rockford Illinois with my good friend Jerry. Jerry has a few friends up here and he asked me earlier in the summer if I wanted to go up for a few weeks and chill out and kind of regroup. You see, there is a ton of stuff that is exploding in New Jersey regarding ministry and things we’ve been a part of for years now that are really starting to expand and get momentum behind them. Jerry and I decided to take some time away from home to get some time to think and process what our roles should be in these ministries and how we should proceed.
There was also another reason why we decided to take a trip for 2-3 weeks up here. We were hoping to connect the Church in Rockford. By connect with the Church I don’t mean finding a church building and serving a particular ministry there. No, I mean finding the people that are in the underground, the ones that are too busy being in the community instead of an office. The people who are so wrecked by Jesus that they have to always be connecting people together to bring the Kingdom of God to Rockford. Jerry and I wanted to find those people.
Well we did. We found them. By seeing a poster for a prayer meeting Jerry and I were introduced to people who are impacting Rockford all over the place. I met a man who is a financial advisor who is trying to help local Churches financially and with real estate. Jerry and I met a guy named Gary who has a organization called The Bridge. His organization does one thing. It connects the Body of Christ together in Rockford. We had the chance to sit down with Gary for over 2 hours yesterday to hear about what he has been doing and how it’s going. What an encouraging two hours seeing a person so passionate about connecting local churches together. From there, Gary told us about a Bible study that meets at the YMCA at 6 P.M on Weds nights. Jerry and I went and it was there that we met Will and Ryan. Will is probably in his mid 40’s and Ryan is probably in his late 20’s. They invited us to their local church prayer meeting followed by a midnight dinner (dinner at 10 P.M) with his local church. We ate with them, got home around 11:30 and Jerry left at 6:45 to attend a get together of believers in a Japanese garden where someone spoke and they worshipped together. I just got a call today and Jerry said that Gary has invited us to a meeting at the YMCA where they are talking about the spiritual side of the YMCA and what they can do to improve it.
All of this without ever meeting a single person before hand in these circles. We knew that the Lord would connect us with part of His Church out here, and He has. It’s been amazing being a part of almost an underground network of Christians. People who work at the YMCA helping kids, people who work all day to bridge the gaps between local Churches. This is the Church fleshed out, this is the Body of Christ at work in communities.
So far it’s been an amazing 3 days here at Rockford. The Lord is showing me so much about His people and He is giving me some great examples of Church fleshed out and continually active throughout the week, not just during certain event times. Yes, Jerry and I are completely immersed in the Church up here, and they have welcomed us with open arms inviting us to join in what they are doing up here. It’s interesting because we have met with people to pray or worship roughly 5 times in the past two days, and none of those things took place in a building that a Church body owned. They took place in gardens, YMCA’s, and a farm room. Right smack dab in the community, not segregated from the world, but a bright light smack dab in the center of them. It’s been great meeting with the Church every single day and doing something different every time.
I’ll keep this blog updated as things progress, I have a feeling that Jerry and I are only going deeper in.