Living out the gospel of Jesus in both action and speech has been at the core of our mission at Gospel’s Connecting Point ministry since its inception. By meeting the needs of our immediate community, we have a bridge that helps pave the way for sharing the gospel of Jesus and prompting spiritual conversations with our neighbors. This process can often require years of purposeful commitment before fruit is observed. Of course, that timeline can be interrupted when God decides to spring forth gospel fruit well beyond what His people could have expected or imagined.
Here, Preston shares about one of those unexpected discoveries:
About six months into serving at the Connecting Point, I had taken one of our neighbors over to Kroger to get some groceries since he had missed the food bank the previous week after being in the hospital. We bought enough food and drink to fill five full bags of groceries. As we drove back to his house, I kept insisting that this would be enough to hold him over until the Connecting Point was open again at the end of the week where he would be able to get more food.
He nodded his head in agreement, but then asked a peculiar question: “Hey, do you mind if we stop by someone’s house before I go home?” I thought, “Of course, that would be fine,” so we did just that.
Once we stopped at the house, he hobbled out of the car, favoring his right hip, then, turned and shuffled through a few different grocery bags. After he rearranged a few things, he picked up two of the bags.
“I will be right back,” he said, and closed the car door, limping and smiling all the way to the house where he disappeared into the front door. A few minutes passed, and there he appeared in the door again; after a friendly exchange and goodbye with his neighbor, he limped to my car, smiling as bright as ever. Six months into knowing this gentleman, and I had never seen a smile on his face quite like this. As he settled back in the seat, I had to ask, “What was that all about?”
My friend looked over at me and said:
“Preston, the people at Gospel Community Church have shown me what it looks like to serve others, to serve the Lord, and to do it so joyfully. You see, the lady in that house doesn’t have much, and she used to care for me when I was out on the streets. Today, I am able to bless her because you were able to bless me. All praise be to Jesus! Now, can we stop at one more place?”
In complete shock, and overwhelmed by this revelation, I attempted to look away and hide the tears streaming down my face.
“Absolutely!” I said.
It had begun to happen! Neighbors in our community had already started to make conscious and committed decisions to make big changes in their own lives. What was the root of it all, I asked? The neighbors always pointed to Jesus and the gospel, which was initially revealed to them through our church members who made an intentional effort in caring for those who were in need.
Almost two years have passed now since Gospel Community Church has started to invest in the Connecting Point, and we are seeing spiritual renewal and development take form in a number of ways just like the story I shared. Many of these individuals now attend our church and others are being mentored and cared for by families in our church. This ministry continues to be a testimony of what God is doing in and through His church here on Rivermont Avenue.
About the Author
Preston has been attending Gospel Community Church since 2017 when he quickly jumped into our residency program and later joined the GCC staff in early 2019. Born and raised in the Hershey area of PA, Preston came to Lynchburg to complete his undergrad and seminary degrees at Liberty University. His passions include pastoring and church planting with the long-term goal of planting churches both domestically and internationally. He enjoys fishing, reading, watching football, and playing sports, and recently started a new hobby: pottery!