In less than two weeks my family, a small group of friends, and I will travel to Burlington, VT to scope out the city. A few of us are already 100% sold out to moving our lives and a few others are prayerfully considering whether God is leading them to do the same. All of us desire to walk away with a clearer picture of what God is doing in Burlington, what God wants to do, and how we individually fit in His plans.
Recently, I reread 1 Corinthians 9- a scripture that God has used repeatedly in my life:
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
Paul obviously had a passion to serve the Corinthians and see them understand the Gospel. He also makes it clear that just as we strive to exegete (critically examine, explain, interpret) scripture, we must exegete the local culture to effectively communicate the gospel.
One thing we know for sure is God wants us to serve the city of Burlington in the name of Jesus. We also realize to effectively serve this city we must first get to know this complex city. We must be willing to learn the flow of culture, the hopes, the fears, the tensions, both the obvious and beneath the surface issues, the spiritual climate, and within all of that learn how to communicate the gospel within this context. I realize that to truly know the city requires “doing life” in the city- working in the city, raising our families in the city, living our lives in the midst of the city- but my hope is that God will help us to take some initial steps in knowing Burlington.
Below are a few ways you can pray for us this week:
*Ask God to help us to accurately identify the unique groups that make up this complex city and to understand their world views, hopes, needs, and struggles.
*Ask God to give us favor with each of the groups we already know exist within the Burlington community: young families, artist, refugees, university students, environmental activists, the homeless, and Wiccan adherents (some of these groups obviously overlap).
*Ask God to show us how to best serve these individual groups, the city as a whole, and to see how the Gospel intersects with their lives.
*Ask God to continue to lead the right people to join our core team to connect with these unique groups in Burlington.
*Ask God to lead us to “people of peace” who can serve as relational bridges as we seek to to serve and share the Gospel.