Being the Church – An update from Modesto, California

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About a year ago, a small group of dedicated followers began meeting together in Modesto, California with a heart to go through the book of Acts, testify of missional moments week to week with one another, and do this all over a shared meal!

I’ve had the tremendous honor of being a part of this little home fellowship whenever I’m home, and over the last month, in particular, I’ve really begun to notice something different about this community. Sure, over the last year it has grown numerically, but that’s not important to me.

What I’ve seen over the last month are huge steps of vulnerability and transparency that aren’t often seen in the church. I’ve watched this group of believers begin to really gel, with great spiritual depth and a sense of camaraderie that illuminates the heart of Christ when He said the famous line, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Often times I think by remembering Jesus, we simply look to the cross and what Jesus did on the cross. This is how we approach His command in retrospect, now 2,000 years removed from the darkest yet the most liberating day the world’s ever seen. It makes sense, but we forget that when Jesus said: “Do this…” He hadn’t been crucified yet… He was alive, and I can’t help but think that the audience had a fuller picture of what Christ meant.

These people had left everything they once deemed essential to them. No longer did they have their careers or personal dreams… They’d left it all to heed the words of Christ three years prior to this moment in time… “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19)… so when Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me”, it was far greater than just remembering the cross.

These people literally lived life with one another. They shared in the hope found on the mountain tops, and they shared in the despair of the valleys. Jesus didn’t want their camaraderie to stop when He left, and I fear sometimes in America that it largely has. Please hear my heart; I’m not blasting the church, for Christ gave His life for her. I, along with all of us should love the church! But we all know this is a pressing issue.

Churches have gotten so distracted with the next “10 steps to a successful church” that some of us have forgotten that numerical size does NOT equal spiritual depth. Christ was transparent and vulnerable in many ways within his three years of ministry, and if we think we can build the church any other way, we’re only fooling ourselves.

It’s this spiritual depth of experiencing highs and lows with other believers that really exemplifies a healthy church, and the overflow of spiritual depth in a fruitful community is missions. We want that. A Jesus Mission may never have a church building, and we’re okay with that. We’re not opposed to it, but if there’s one thing five years of band ministry taught me, it’s that some of the most missionally minded churches were numerically few, but stood as missional giants.

In June, we’re ecstatic to share that our home fellowship will be multiplying. We’ll reveal more details soon, but God has moved us in this direction. This will be the 3rd house church in A Jesus Mission, so if you’re looking to pray, pray this continues. Pray that as we grow we never lose sight of what Jesus meant in the context of who He was talking to. Pray for vulnerability, transparency, and a heart of multiplying. We couldn’t be more excited to see how God continues to move in A Jesus Mission, and we thank you for your continued support as we go into the world to equip the found and find the lost!

Pierce Westfall

Pierce serves as the Executive Director and leads our Home Church team.


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