All who believe in and follow Jesus are called to make disciples. A helpful way to think about who we are because of what Jesus has done for us is to think of 3 new identities:
This post is meant to consider how we have worked to live out the identity of Missionary here in our town of Fall City.
Identify The Strongholds
Stronghold: a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic.
If the gospel is “good news” as its meaning suggests, how does that good news apply to the predominant characteristics of the area?
The strongholds in need of good news that we have identified in Fall City, which are not necessarily unique to the area, but are prevalent in much of the Seattle area are the following:
- Individualism / Fear of being known – By individualism here we mean, the mentality of not wanting to, or working to not need to, rely on anyone but oneself. Example: “Hey I saw you mowing your yard and wondered if I could come over and help.” “That’s ok, I’ve got it.” We suspect that what is ultimately behind this is a fear of being truly known – as if there are certain things about ourselves we feel uncomfortable with or fearful about having known by others. This fear creates isolation and a lack of depth in relationships.
- Child Care – Fall City and the surrounding Snoqualmie valley is home to many younger families. Crime in the area is low and it is recognized as a good place to raise children. This tends to be the case generally as well for much of the Eastside area (Eastside is a general term meant to describe much of the area east of Lake Sammamish and includes Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Fall City, North Bend and others). Many households in the Fall City area have both mom and dad working in order to afford housing and the high price of life on the eastside. Conversely, there are also several households which, due to the rapid rate of moral decline in the public schooling system, as well as covid online learning fatigue, have decided to have mom stay at home and homeschool the children. As a result of all of this, you have a many parents who need help raising or teaching their kids, or at a minimum a safe person who can watch them.
- Loneliness – This is a hidden stronghold. The people of Fall City and the surrounding area are constantly distracted with work, devices, youth sports and activities as well as consumption through shopping or travel. But underneath this veneer of busyness is an individual who has very few, if any, close friends, lacks true purpose in life and may not have anyone who truly knows and loves them. This loneliness is displayed most prominently in the elderly population in the community. With mobility as well as busyness decreased and kids out of the house, some of the elderly population in Fall City keep to themselves, harbor bitterness from past or present hurt, and don’t have much to do. They are in desperate need of purpose, love and healing, but they find themselves alone in their house trying to cling to the time they have left on the earth.
- Men Who Are Apathetic, Disengaged In Family Life – For a host of different reasons, men in Fall City and the surrounding area are not leading their families. They spend most of their time at work and with the time remaining they turn to devices and consuming content (scrolling on their phone, watching YouTube or Netflix), or hobbies that their families can’t enjoy with them (cycling, going to the gym, etc). It’s often the case that men believe their only job is to go to work and provide money for the family. That’s important but it means that most men live like, when the work is done, their responsibilities to the family are as well and the remaining time belongs to themselves to spend on whatever they feel. Because of this, moms end up shouldering most or all of the task of the children’s education, spiritual or moral direction of the family, community involvement and caring for the home.
Here are the skills we have identified in ourselves
- Teaching – Ashley has a Master’s degree in teaching and is highly skilled at teaching and engaging children. She taught for several years at Snoqualmie Elementary, has been a homeschool teacher since 2015 and recently was a pre-school teacher for the homeschool co-op at Reign Church in Fall City.
- Hospitality – Ashley is generous and loves caring for those in need. She loves to cook meals for new moms or families suffering from illness or other hardships, and she loves having people in her home. She loves buying flowers for women just because, or showing up with a coffee when she knows its a tough morning for a new mom with young kids. I enjoy making people feel welcome and that we are glad to be with them. I enjoy always trying to serve people the best we have – that means buying and cooking the expensive meat, or splurging on extras when we have people over. I love it when people feel safe and blessed in my home.
- Men’s encouragement – Because I am a man, I know the heart of most men is to be discouraged, apathetic or both. I also know God has called us to more and I desire to see men become who God made them to be. I enjoy gathering men together for the purpose of mutual encouragement, accountability, and teaching. I do my best to be an example to them through humble leadership and by leading through vulnerability and gentleness. I’ve led men’s bible studies in my home as well as led several men’s gatherings for Impact Players, whose mission is to help men become better dads, husbands and leaders.
We also look to partner with other people, preferably Christians, who have others skills and to cultivate community.
Counteract The Strongholds With Giftings/Skills
Look for opportunities to use the identified skills/giftings that counteract the strongholds of the community and share Jesus and the gospel message in the midst of it.
Here’s how we counteracted the strongholds:
- Individualism / Fear of being known = Share our weaknesses openly with anyone who wants to listen. Lead with vulnerability, removing shame and condemnation.
- Child Care = Create a homeschool community that meets in our home. Help start/teach at community co-op school.
- Loneliness = Opening our home to anyone and everyone often (almost daily). Are you sick? Come over anyway.
- Apathetic, Disengaged In Family Life, Men = Men’s Ministry with Impact Players. Men’s bible studies. Encourage and lead by example, not empty words.
To see fruit come to bear is a time to rejoice. Often it is the case the one plants, another waters, and yet another harvests. It feels as though much of the work we do is either planting or watering. What we are ultimately doing is cultivating community and space for families to battle through their sin, for a father to turn his heart to his children and wife, for children to grow up blessed and loved, and for people to be known deeply and feel belonging.