What exactly is ministry? Traditional church ministries usually involve a congregation paying a pastor to minister to the members in a few expected ways. People Teams is a ministry to internationals in Kansas City, usually having the same ministry goals as traditional pastors, but the internationals might not see what we are doing as Christian ministry or even know that they need it. But God calls us to minister to all people groups, and it has taken these forms over the last few months:
Welcoming the Stranger – “When I was a stranger you welcomed me” (Matt. 25:35).This comes in the form of meeting felt needs and building relationships. Through these relationships, we learn about specific needs of the families and have the chance to give them rides, help with homework or paperwork, and even teach them to drive. There are many service programs in the neighborhood to partner with as needed such as English classes, citizenship classes, food pantries, job services, and sports ministries. People Teams has hosted these sorts of programs in the past and will probably take up future ventures, but lately we have just walked with families and utilized existing programs when needed. The eventual hope is that internationals would hear the Gospel, grow through reading the Bible in home groups, and plug into new or existing churches. But we welcome and serve them with no strings attached even if they do not show signs of being interested in Jesus.
Evangelism – It is a priority to share the Gospel with the lost from all Nations. Weekly outreach teams go door to door and to third spaces to share with groups far from God. Even today, a Muslim man in KC passed away; his family has heard the Gospel and been blessed by People Teams, but I’m not sure that he ever heard. There is great urgency in going into the fields and sowing the seed while it is still day because night is coming when no man can work (John 9:4).
Strengthening the Churches – People Teams desires to assist ethnic pastors however we can – from pulpit supply to helping them fix their minivan to helping them secure city permits. These pastors usually work full time overnights, have large families, and try to lead the church in their spare time. It helps to have a friends who know the American systems. Pastor Luis Mendoza is formalizing this assistance with a new group called the Ethnic Pastors Gathering, but lots of informal help happens regularly. These churches also face challenges of false gospels deceiving their members. Paul fought false gospels at the back end of his ministry and warned against them in virtually every book. People Teams helps to cast awareness of this danger and encourages members in the true Gospel.
Teen Ministry – A youth group from Oklahoma on a mission trip in KC was amazed to see how rough school life was for two Burundi teens they got to know. Teen life in the inner city is a battle for everyone. Kids who would function normally in the suburbs are ostracized as the weirdest weirdos in the city if they don’t embrace the cultural norms of growing up hard. Even those who do fit in often want to get out. Unfortunately, there really are few followers of Jesus in the schools. People Teams has four different nights each week where teens gather for community, fun, and Bible stories with caring mentors. Fortifying these teens for the challenges of Christian life starts with grouping them with others who follow Jesus. Out of the pools of students who come to our sports nights, mentors look for teens who are hungry for God and pour into them at separate times to mentor them through life’s challenges alongside one or two peers and help them get into God’s Word. The eventual goal is to connect them with the local church where they most naturally fit and raise them up as a Christian leader among their peer group. This is slow, but God is working. After struggling to connect with any of the neighborhood teens at our basketball night, a frustrated mentor sat in the crowded gym. He prayed that God would show him his place and what to do. Immediately, a sixteen-year old walked up to him and asked to start reading the Bible! Matthew and Vail have been meeting outside of the basketball time to go deeper, often joined by Vail’s cousin. Similar situations have come up with Drew and Riak and friends, Andrew with Des, and David with Yusef. The girls are looking for who God is revealing to pursue deeper in their group.
Thanks so much for your support and prayers for this ministry. There are many different ways to plug into something that People Teams is doing. The ministry takes many forms and faces depending on which people group is involved, but God can open the door for you and your church to be involved if He hasn’t yet. Contact Andrew at [email protected] to talk about it.