What We Do
There are great pastors and ministry leaders across this region who are working to make disciples of Jesus, but so many are isolated and weary with very little support around them. They’re fighting an uphill battle in one of the toughest places in the nation to do ministry, and they have no safe haven from the storm. Every pastor we’re working with has confirmed the critical need for what we’re doing.
The American Bible Society ranked our closest metro areas among the least Bible-minded cities in the nation. Many also argue that this region is “unreached,” with less than 2% of the population stating that they’ve committed their life to following Jesus. This is a mission field. And within this darkness, these pastors and their families are like beacons of light. We are working alongside each of them to help them to shine brighter across this region.
We are here to build up the whole church of the Adirondacks – strengthening the churches by strengthening their leaders (Acts 15:41). Our work is very similar to a missionary overseas who encourages and equips pastors across a region. The pastors in this area are passionate about making disciples, and we must not stand by and allow them to be pushed aside any longer. They will be forgotten no more.
(1) We are building up the Body of Christ.
We work across denominations to build up the whole church of the Adirondacks and fulfill the vision of “Relationship-based communities of Christ-followers who love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus across every corner of the Adirondack Mountain region.”
Our objective is to strengthen area churches and ministries by strengthening their leaders – encouraging, equipping, and empowering pastors, leaders, and their families as they do their work of ministry.
We ENCOURAGE these area pastors and leaders – defined as “giving support, confidence, and hope” – by offering heart-to-heart friendship and a safe refuge with no strings attached.
We also EQUIP them – defined as “supplying with necessary items for a specific purpose or task” – by providing resources, training, and practical help.
We EMPOWER them – defined as “enabling someone to do what they are tasked with” – so they can be more effective in making disciples across every corner of the Adirondack Mountain region.
(2) We are bringing unity to the Body of Christ.
As we work with area leaders, we are also working to expand God’s rule and reign all across this region by bringing together the whole church of the Adirondacks – to advance God’s Kingdom, together as one church united around a common mission. Our hope is to see religious barriers between believers fall as we work toward unity in the church across this region.
In John 17, Jesus asked the Father: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one…so they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Working toward unity across the whole Bride of Christ in this region is no easy undertaking, but it’s worth it. And it’s a huge part of our ministry.
(3) We support all churches – including simple, home-based groups.
We are huge fans of small churches, home-based groups, and even house churches. We want to support any groups that is pursuing a pure and simple devotion to Christ.
Why house churches? One reason is very practical: since our vision is to start groups all across the entire Adirondack Mountain region, that includes many small towns and groups of people who are far away from large population centers. The church is not a building; as followers of Jesus, we are the church, regardless of the size or shape of the building where we meet.
Another reason is that we have found it’s a very effective model for how to meet as the church, which is supported by the example of the first Christians in Scripture:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” (Acts 2:42,46b-47a)
“When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)
As we understand it, a local church is a group of believers who are committed to the Lord and to one another, committed to obeying His word, committed to a common vision, and accountable to the spiritual leadership of their elders. They are a group of believers meeting together regularly, caring for one another, watching out for one another, and corporately seeking to worship, serve God, and reach those who do not know Jesus. That is a local church, whatever its size, style, or building in which it meets.
In the New Testament, we see a natural flow of church as the early Christians shared their lives, meals, and needs together. Church was who they were, not a place where they attended. After all, church doesn’t exist for us. We are the church, and we exist for the world. By prioritizing meetings in small groups, we believe this is also one of the most effective ways to live out the list of “one anothers” found throughout the New Testament.
Today, there are networks of home-based churches all over the world, including several here in the United States. They vary from groups that are highly centralized cell-based churches to completely decentralized networks of churches, where leaders do not even know how many groups have started. One such movement is found in China, where it’s believed there are over 100 million believers in unregistered house churches. The Chinese house-church movement has already committed to the Lord that if freed from Communism in the future, the church there will build no buildings. They want to keep their method of training and sending intact: continuing their focus on building people, rather than buildings. We share their sentiments.