The following is the update I submitted to the Nazarene Organic Church Network (associated with the Church of the Nazarene denomination) as our story for their consideration to publish:
Our small simple church in central Texas has been a blessing and demonstration of God's grace for the members of our group. We still have a long way to go and much to do, but a couple current examples of how we have been able to minister to others include conducting monthly services for the residents of a local nursing home at which one of our participants has an active visitation ministry and bringing together our contributions to support a monthly backpack food program for families at a local middle school. In the past couple years, we were also able to provide special birthday parties for children in foster care by partnering with a local YMCA and adoption agency. We also appreciate the work of the pastor and congregation at Hill Country Nazarene Church as they endeavor to serve the community in meaningful and practical ways.
The most significant growth has occurred through our realization that there is no separation between clergy and laity in our structure. We recognize that we are all ministers in our families and vocations, and individuals in our group have been set free from guilt about religious duty and released financial resources to bless people outside our group. We are constantly discussing and praying for one another's workplaces and homes, and including our children in the process. When someone in our group is going through a difficult time, we show care and lift them up in prayer. Our focus is more and more where it should be: fixed squarely on Jesus. The future is bright with hope for new ministries and opportunities. We are grateful to God for His faithfulness!
I did not have much space for the submission, so I couldn't get into future goals too much. However, here I would like to add that as we move ahead, I would like to see us become even more missional and focus more on disciple-making. Personally, I also hope to create a better way to orient people to the simple church approach and become more invested in the cause of stopping human trafficking, as well as see others in our group realize their dreams for impacting the world around them. Many of my personal ministry passions are related to my job as an educator and wanting to see God glorified in the public school setting as kids' lives are changed.