The work of integrating into our community continues. We'll be having dinner this week with a couple of families we've met over the past couple of weeks. Pray that we'll be an encouragement to them and that they will find us to be people they can trust.
I'll be making several contacts this week to identify a place for Sunday worship. There is a school right around the corner that would be ideal, at least from what we can discern now. Please pray that we will be well received by those who make decisions about weekend tenants.
We also continue to have several conversations and interviews each week with folks in this area. While these conversations provide many opportunities, one of the things we receive through them is further insight into the culture, its perception of Christianity, and the felt needs of our community. As we process this data through prayer and conversation Eric and I are continuing to solidify our ministry design. The gospel is foundational and unchanging. We are asking questions like, "When are people most able to gather for worship?" "How should we carry out the Christian education program?" "What about discipleship and children's ministry?" The answers to these questions, and others like them, will be shaped as a result of our own ministry gifts and values as well as the needs of this place.
Often, though, as I look at what is coming together I am reminded of how desperately we need God's Spirit to make whatever feeble ministry design we conceive of have its God intended effect. I feel as though we are making a "doggy machine." Pictured to the left you'll see what our youngest built while I was working in the garage on Saturday afternoon. He meticulously glued different size scraps of wood together and then proudly exclaimed, "Tada! Daddy, look! It's my doggy machine." "Really," I said, "What does it do?" (At this point I was afraid that he was going to describe some gruesome weapon to ward off dogs that bother him). "It cooks the food for the dogs and puts it in their bowls," he explained.
"Ah, yes." Is this what our plans and ideas look like to our all wise God? Is he pleased to take ideas that shouldn't work and use them to glorify Christ and birth a people for himself in Las Vegas? That is what we are counting on. Pray that God would give us wisdom as we conceive of and implement the ministry design that we believe will most effectively reach this community with the truth of Christ, and him crucified.