By Andy Keller, Director of Worship at Trinity
After grabbing Casey's donuts for the worship and tech teams, I arrive at the church at around 6:45. I unlock the doors, warm up the coffee makers, and begin preparing for our worship rehearsal. Staff and volunteers start rolling in, all making sure that we are prepared to welcome the many guests and regular attenders who will be joining us in worship throughout the morning. After eleven years of leading worship at Trinity, I still get excited to do this Sunday after Sunday.
But the fall of 2017 has brought some new pieces to Trinity's worship that many people don't see. As we are preparing for worship at 201 St Paul Ave in Orange City (Trinity's physical address), a handful of times another Trinity team is preparing to go out. Led by Eli or our worship interns, we have sent five different worship teams to First Reformed church of Hospers, Dover, and Granite church, a new church in Hawarden this semester. We are using Trinity's resources to not only bless other congregations, but to build relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ in other places.
And while the intent of Trinity sending out teams to other churches is to be a blessing and to leverage what God has given us for the greater kingdom, we have found that we have been just as blessed, if not more, by being a part of these acts of "going." This shouldn't surprise me, as I've had similar experiences going on short term mission trips, thinking I'm "bringing God" to a third world country, only to find that God is already there and active in ways that were beyond my imagination.
Going to Hawarden opened my eyes to the kind of raw ministry that can happen to those who aren't seasoned church goers. God is active and present in a very real way without much of the pretense that accompanies many of our more established churches. And while it may feel like church-going is an assumed part of the culture of northwest Iowa, seeing what God is doing at Granite church is a reminder that even among the plains of Iowa, the fields are ripe for the harvest.
Going to Dover and going to Hospers showed us that even though both churches were in the place of pastoral transition that God still works among his people. As a staff person it can feel like nothing would get done if I weren't here, but I saw in Hospers and Dover how the Holy Spirit is active and still moving to whoever will listen. More than that, I became aware that Hospers and Dover can reach and connect with people that Trinity never could, and by partnering with them in ministry we were impacting the world in ways we could not alone.
We all tend to think in terms of mine and yours: my church, your sanctuary, our people, your equipment, but we are reminded again and again in God's word that all that we have is God's and we are only stewards of it. That should make us much more willing to be sent out of our own doors and into the communities we find ourselves in since, after all, our God is a sending God. In fact, one of the main points of this season of Advent is to remember that God sent his only Son into our mess, into our chaos, in order to do what He could not from his throne in heaven. God is a sending God, and his church is a sending church. We have been commissioned to do so, and when we go we don't just take God with us, we find Him along the way.