Our Mission Field
The other day I came across an article that was entitled, "The most Post-Christian cities in America." You can see the article here: http://cities.barna.org/the-most-post-christian-cities-in-america/
I wasn't surprised to see our Mission Field, Lancaster, PA (combined with Harrisburg, York and Lebanon) on the list. What I was surprised with however was its' placement (#38). It was placed above cities like Austin, TX, Salt Lake City, UT, and Detroit, MI.
You see this article confirmed two things for me. First, it confirmed what we are finding in our mission in Lancaster, especially with younger generations. That even in Lancaster, PA which seems like a hot bed of Christian activity (some call us the Bible Belt of PA) that we are indeed feeling the effects of the postmodern, and post-Christian shifts that are taking place in our wider culture.
The second thing that this article confirmed in me was in the way in which we have chosen to go about planting Veritas, from the perspective of being missionaries in and to our own culture. This also means that planting in a Post-Christian setting as a missionary/missional community will by nature take longer than in other places that are less Post-Christian.
Our Missionary Strategy
To engage our mission field with the Gospel of Jesus and the good news of the Kingdom of God, we use a three part "Missionary Flow" Strategy. We start with Engaging Culture, then Forming Community, and finally Structuring Congregations. Let me describe how we are implementing this Missionary Flow and then listen to people from our community who have been impacted by the mission and ministry of Veritas.
Strategy Part One: Engaging Culture
Veritas has engaged the culture of Lancaster in both personal and corporate ways:
Personally my family and I reach out to our neighbors through various means including inviting people over for dinner, throwing various parties (including St. Patrick's Day) and other events (like our Easter Egg Hunt, Driveway Movie Nights, Picnics, Hot Drinks at Halloween, etc:).
Others in our community are loving their neighbors by throwing parties themselves. They are also building relationships through work, school, and various other means.
Corporately we continue to hold 1st Friday Art Shows blessing local artists and tying into the 1st Friday art scene of Lancaster. We continue to hold 3rd Friday Music events creating space for upcoming musicians to share their talents with others. We were a venue for the Launch Music Conference and Festival. And we continue to discern other ways of engaging the culture of Lancaster (through the arts, music and acts of service)
Strategy Part Two: Forming Community
There are several ways that we are seeking to do this as Veritas:
This summer we'll host a weekly Picnic at Long's Park during their Summer Concert series. We will be encouraging our community to invite their friends to hang out with us and we'll build relationships with them.
Earlier this year we launched our first Missional Community which is a group of approximately 10-15 people who meet weekly in homes and meet in an UP/Discipleship, IN/Community, and OUT/Mission Monthly Rhythm. We will launch a second one this fall, most likely focusing on college students.
Our Veritas people are spending time together outside our Sunday gathering and starting to act more like a family than an "organization".
Strategy Part Three: Structuring Congregation
We are doing this in various ways.
We meet each and every Sunday morning. Our time includes relating as family, praying together, musical worship, sharing how we have been a blessing in the world, how we have done life together, and what God is teaching us. We also look at the Scriptures and apply them to our lives (individually and corporately)
We "take off" every 5th Sunday and use that time as a Service Sunday where we partner with a local non-profit and serve the Lancaster community.
The other week we did an open meeting where everyone brought something to share (Scriptures, what God is teaching them, leading in spontaneous prayer, etc..) And one of the coolest things happened when several of the community felt the call to go out on the streets and ask to pray for people that they met. Others stayed and prayed for them, while another two guys went to a coffeehouse and engaged in spiritual conversation with a person at the coffeehouse.
What God is doing in and through Veritas
I wanted to include a few reflections from people within Veritas about what God is doing in and through Veritas in their lives.
"In Veritas, I have found a community that can be honest and a group of people who are all journeying together toward becoming more Christlike. The discussion format is really helpful, as I like to hear what God is doing in the lives of my fellow community members, and to talk over their questions, and mine. I feel like my faith has grown stronger as a result of working through tough questions and delving deeply into the Scriptures."- Matt- Veritas Member
"The quote, "doing life together," is an echoed thought at Veritas, I feel. Within this community, the concept of sharing and learning about God expresses itself in different mediums--whether that be musical worship, prayer, discussion, etc. There's a reason why I keep coming back: it inspires me to dig deeper in my own relationship with God, fellow followers of Jesus, and the world."- Sammy- Veritas Member
"Veritas has impacted my life by being there for me when I was not sure if I ever wanted to step foot into a group of Christians again. I've been going through a period of pain and disillusionment with the traditional church. For a while recently I had stopped going to any church, but God drew me to Veritas. When I first started visiting, I was too scared to open up on my own, but Ryan Braught kept inviting me out for coffee, built a relationship with me, and really listened to my thoughts and feelings. And when I started crying during communion, Kaytee Tipton was right there to hold me. With Veritas, I've been amazed by the realness of their Christlike love for me, even when I felt out of place, confused, and overwhelmed with pain. They let me be myself and they accepted me in spite of my mess, and they continue to point me to Jesus. I feel like God has definitely been using Veritas to keep me holding on to faith. I am so grateful to Ryan and everyone for loving me and helping me on my spiritual journey so far."- David - Veritas Member
We are seeking to be a "Missional Community of Authentic Worshippers" living as missionaries to the Lancaster area. And you have seen what God is doing in the lives of those we are on mission with and for. But we can't do this alone. We are looking for Mission Partners.
Will you make a personal investment during the coming year in the work that God is doing with spiritual seekers who have no relationship with Christ? We are looking for Mission Partners who will make a one time donation or who will commit to a monthly commitment. (We are praying for 2,000 dollars in monthly commitments). Will you help us be about the mission of the Gospel in Lancaster?
Thank you in advance for partnering with Veritas as we continue to touch lives and bless the community-at-large.
Ryan and Kim Braught
852 Silver Spring Plaza
Lancaster, PA 17601
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