God has strategically placed Wesleyan churches and people in an amazing variety of geographical contexts. Like the book of Acts, we have been “dispersed” to the “here, near, far and hard” (Acts 1:8), throughout North America and around the world. God’s positioning us to have a transforming presence in every ZIP code (and, for our Canadian constituents, near every Tim Horton’s).
How those locations differ. Some are rural, some are urban. Some are wealthy, others struggle in poverty. Some are multicultural while others have one prevalent culture. Some are so densely populated they are best measured in blocks. Others go on for miles and miles.
When it comes to multiplication of disciples and churches, do we view our location as an excuse or an opportunity?
I recently talked with several leaders who have a multiplication vision. Steve McVey serves in Lamont, Kansas, with a posted population of 22. Yet his church is the birthplace of the “Dirt Roads Network,” an initiative for planting and uniting rural churches to reach rural North America. Ashley Jennings is leading in Red Rock, Arizona, and ready to send her first church planter out of her young plant. Mick Veach is in Midtown Detroit, in the heart of a city facing incredible challenges. Irving Figueroa is in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, an island devasted by Hurricane Maria, with the subsequent impact of a decreasing population. Nestor Gudino is multiplying Hispanic churches in North Carolina, not only in different locations but to reach different generations and languages. Anthony Graham, an effective co-vocational pastor, is building a multi-location church in New York City.
Not one of them uses their context of not enough people, too many people, not diverse, too diverse, distracted by wealth or broken by poverty as an excuse. Each sees kingdom opportunity. Each is stepping out, and God is providing.
May God grant us faith and courage to “make the most of the opportunity.”