In Acts 1:8, we are given the words, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” With the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples in Jerusalem lived out this command. Just one chapter after these words of Jesus, we see lives being transformed by the power of the gospel. Then, the rest of the book of Acts records God’s people continuing in this mission, which has since continued through generation after generation in church after church. Our church is no different, and Christ commands us to be his witnesses. Every church must labor to be a gospel light to its surrounding neighborhood and city. For us – this is happening! Read on to be encouraged by what God has done at ASU through our church.
In Gospel Centered Church, Timmis and Chester tell us that successful evangelistic ministry is “low-key, long term and relational.”1 Like most things in life, true and lasting results are not accomplished overnight or in one big event. Convicted of this, our church’s team of missionaries and volunteers goes across the street to ASU multiple times each week to consistently engage students with God’s Word. One such Bible study occurred every Thursday this spring outside Tooker House (ASU north campus). The group read through Mark as one of our staff led them. It was common for Chinese atheists, practicing Muslims, and several of our church members to sit around God’s Word asking hard questions and building friendships. These Bible studies are the staple of our evangelistic effort to the 60,000 students across the street. Praise God for this group, Anthony Baldwin’s leadership, and the four other Bible studies that provided weekly, gospel-centered time in the Word all semester!
Shing Chow, our newest staff member who God provided just this past fall, has also been leading a Bible study on campus. The Chow family jumped into church life with both feet. Even though Shing has only been working with us for the past 7 months, it is hard to imagine the ministry without his contributions. While meeting students and working with them to make disciples, he has also found time to help and serve in a myriad of other behind the scenes ways. Shing led his family across the country, sold a home, changed jobs, and trusted the Lord with raising financial support. This was an answered prayer for our ministry! Let’s not stop, but continue to pray, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).
As God answers our prayers in bringing more laborers to Church on Mill, he is also equipping them. Through a partnership with Phoenix Seminary and The Gospel Coalition Arizona, Church on Mill is able to offer four seminary classes that take place at our church and are taught by Pastor Chuck. This semester alone, three of our staff members participated in weekly seminary classes–trainings to more faithfully teach and apply God’s Word. This intentional investment in faithful study and continued learning is paying dividends today, but the impact it will have over the years and decades to come is incalculable. If you have interest in this type of training, email Gracie.
Much of our investment into others and our own spiritual walks is incalculable, and looking at how many people are in the pews and how many baptisms occurred is not the best way to gauge ministry fruitfulness. Can any of the fruit of the Spirit be objectively measured or counted? While numbers are not the best indicators of success, surely they still help us tell the stories of God changing hearts. This fall, our ministry started the school year with 13 ASU or MCC students that also were official members of Church on Mill. We ended the spring semester with 23 and saw three baptisms! We give ALL praise to our God and King, the only one who can change hearts. We are thankful to him for providing Maddie Reimus, who he has been using in many ways in the lives of the 10 students who joined. Maddie stepped into her first year as the Director of Collegiate Ministry at Church on Mill this fall. Through her humble leadership, we are seeing lives transformed by the power of the gospel!
Not only here in Tempe, but to the ends of the earth, Jesus calls us to go and make disciples. This semester our church has also taken part in this. In fact, we sent three women across the world to East Asia to encourage some church missionaries! Mary Jo, another staff member, was one of the team members sent to encourage the long-term work of these partners. Already we are seeing evidences of God’s grace from this mission. We praise God that we have staff members like Mary Jo, church members, and students, who are joyfully willing to go where they can be used by God.
Let’s end this update by announcing that God has brought another brother to our team to reach ASU with the gospel. Chris Cardin has prayed over and accepted the position to join our church and ministry. He hails from the great land of Arkansas and has spent the last two years faithfully serving with Bridges International. In addition to his vocational ministry, he also chose this past semester to live with a Hindu student and Muslim student. When his Muslim roommate was asked about the best part of his 4 years at ASU, the student responded sincerely that his friendship with Chris has been the most impactful and best part of his entire time in America. We anticipate that many more students will say this about Chris as he continues to invest in them through Church on Mill.
There are just a few paragraphs of how God is displaying his glory, redemptive power, and transformative work in and through our church. Brothers and sisters, be encouraged that God is using our church for his glory and our good! May we remain faithful and spend our lives to build God’s kingdom, not ours, to make Christ’s name famous, not our own. If you would like to hear more or get more directly involved, please email me.
Executive Director of Church on Mill Collegiate Ministries
1Steve Timmis and Tim Chester, Gospel Centered Church. Epsom: The Good Book Complany, 2012; 43.