An appreciation for the many dimensions of ongoing public-square and global conversations related to social, cultural, religious, biblical, and theological concerns, and developing a biblical Christian perspective that results in knowledgeable, compassionate dialogue with appropriate evangelistic engagement.
Overall Reflection Statement
For my competence in cultural engagement, I am submitting artifacts from our churches annual spring outreach ministry event, the One City Marathon, which demonstrate my ability to recognize and lead our church to engage the community in which our church is located. The community of Newport News itself is multi-cultural, thus this outreach event gives us great opportunity to rub shoulders with those in our existing community who are culturally very different from us. I had the opportunity this year to lead this ministry and provide opportunity for our church to serve and visibly minister to our community. This year we had a phenomenal opportunity to show love and support to a runner who had to drop out of the race at the halfway mark by providing her with some water, a time of prayer, and phone to enable her to call her ride to pick her up. This was all done in the middle of the event by a number of our church members.
Cultural Engagement Artifacts
- This website is the home and hub of all things One City Marathon. This annual city-wide event provides ample opportunity for our church to be seen as part of and servants of our larger community. The marathon attracts thousands of runners each year and also brings the community together for a great weekend of celebration.
- This video gives an overview highlight of the entire weekend surrounding the Newport News One City Marathon. It showcases how big the event is and how many organizations are involved in the city-wide celebration. However, this video is a great highlight of our church’s participation because from 9:26-9:37 you see a number of our church members cheering on runners at the half way point of the race. While this was the majority of our church participants, we also had others who were serving in safety areas, as well as interacting with others along the race course.
- The announcement flyer above contains the instructions that were given to our church regarding our Spring Outreach ministry that takes place during our city’s annual marathon. This sheet includes all the pertinent information anyone interested in participating in this outreach ministry would need to know. The sheet gives them the date, times, and opportunities for ministry. Not only that, but the handout also informs them where to go to sign up for ministry as well as instructions for what to do before the day of service. It also tells them what to do on the day of the marathon.
As I developed and demonstrated cultural engagement, I have learned God gives us unique opportunities when we are not expecting them. While initiating and organizing this outreach event, I intentionally chose to present ministry opportunities to our congregation that were service-oriented in nature. Most of the opportunities to serve at the Marathon would not allow us much opportunity to overtly share the gospel. However, believing it important to be known as participants in the community, I pushed hard that this was an opportunity for our community to see us as part of the community and a not just a subculture within our larger community culture. So my thought was that we would hand out water, cheer on runners, and be part of safety and clean up crews. All of these opportunities would give our members a chance to interact with people one-on-one as well as be seen as servants of and part of the community. But God, in His infinite wisdom, taught me that even in a setting where we simply rub shoulders together with our neighbors without much window for sharing the gospel, He still puts us where we are for the sole mission of proclaiming the Good News. This was seen in the situation with the runner who had to drop out of the race halfway through in which our church members encouraged, prayed, and talked with her. God reminded me that no service is without opportunity.
Lifelong Development Statement
As a result of the experiences documented by these artifacts, I will continue to develop in cultural engagement by recruiting people for this outreach differently next year. Instead of making it an open invitation only, I will approach our small group leaders and solicit them to lead their small groups to choose a service opportunity within the Marathon event at which their small group could serve. This would spread our church representation out potentially throughout the entire race course as well as allow our church to be represented in the various neighborhoods that our people live in rather than just the neighborhood in which our building is located.