Once in a while I get an opportunity to visit churches in the United States. There are many great examples of what people are doing to impact their communities, but in a recent visit to Kingsland Baptist church in Houston (Katy), Texas I saw a great example which I wanted to share.
Omar Garcia, Kingsland’s Mission Pastor, is the one who encouraged me in blogging when we met about a year ago in Cambodia. He has a missions and outreach program called “Go Beyond”. Most churches I see are trying to figure out ways to get people to come to their churches, but Omar uses “Go Beyond” to get them out of his church! They send out over 3,500-4,000 volunteers a year to be involved in ministry in their own community and around the world. Seeing this Mission Pastor walking around the church I observed his near “rock star” status. Everyone loves him, especially the kids, because his whole life is about showing love to others and getting them to do the same.
“Go Beyond” challenges their people to leave their comfortable lives and search for ways to help in the community. They paint houses that need it, build fences, help the community government, help other churches in whatever needs they have, and they work in depressed areas of the city to restore them to beauty. They also reach out to internationals, assist children’s programs all over the city, mobilize teams into the “projects” of downtown Houston and reach out to those searching for alternative lifestyles. I think it would take twenty blogs to describe all what they do. That, however, is just the local stuff they are engaged in.
“Go Beyond” is exactly what it says, going far beyond the call of duty. They have major projects and partners in Uganda, India, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and plenty of more countries too. They are all in extremely difficult areas, yet are significant community and life changing projects from saving babies from abortions (in the hundreds) to caring for abandoned and orphaned children, to rescue centers for those saved from sexual slavery. Any one project in itself would be a challenge for any one church, but at Kingsland Baptist Church they live for the next challenge.
Omar says of the philosophy of “Go Beyond” that:
“Everything on our side of that line is familiar, convenient, manageable, and comfortable. No big surprises, no daunting challenges, no uncharted territory. Crossing that line requires a commitment to venture to places we’ve never been and the willingness to engage people we’ve never met. Only those with the courage to overcome their fears and who have the determination to persevere will dare to cross that line. All others will keep a safe distance away from it.
We must go beyond — stepping boldly across the line in order to advance the interests of God’s kingdom in our world. I have heard people remark about how they long to be a part of something exciting for the kingdom, only to watch them aggressively avoid the context in which these things happen. We must be willing to place ourselves in a context where we will see God work in and through us in new and exciting ways, in ways we never imagined. We must be willing to spend ourselves for God and His purposes — to work toward the day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.”
Churches across the world and especially in America need better models in which to encourage and their people to step out of the comfortable lives and help others. You don’t have to be a large church, nor a wealthy church. You just need to open your eyes to the people and world around you and Go Beyond. As Omar challenges the people to Go Beyond they step up to the task. They help hundreds and thousands of people each year not only by bringing them the Saving Gospel of Jesus, but helping people in their time of need. The result is that their lives and their community are permanently altered. Another benefit is that rather than having one great guy like Omar there are hundreds of Kingsland people who reflect Omar’s passion as well. That is a incredible force for the Kingdom of God!
I would recommend any church to take a look at what Kingsland Baptist Church does with Go Beyond and see how they can better mobilize their church to reach the community and reach the world for Jesus Christ.
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