FAQ: How Does Grace Church’s Relationship With Allendale Change When You Leave?
Throughout our 3+ years of living and working in Allendale, we have had dozens of conversations regarding our relationship with Grace Church (Greenville, SC). And this topic has come up even more as we are nearing our departure from Allendale. Most specifically, many are wondering if and how Grace Church’s work in Allendale will change after we leave.
(We have had these clarifying conversations with friends and acquaintances in Allendale, Greenville, and all over. We love having these discussions, since they help others understand what we’re doing. Additionally, these conversations help us become clear ourselves about our purpose and ministry.)
For all the questions that we’ve received on this issue (of Grace Church’s connection with us, and with Allendale), I think the following clarifications will help:
- We are in Allendale only because of Grace’s connection. We never would have known about or considered the opportunity to live in Allendale if not for the already-existing work of Grace Church here. We have Followed in a Well-Tread Path.
- Our initial connections in Allendale were due to relationships through leaders from Grace Church. Grace’s leaders introduced us to . . .
- Pastor Joe Mole: my main mentor in Allendale, especially early on
- Mike Smalls: my hospitable “bodyguard”
- Camille Nairn: another adviser and mentor, and also our neighbor and landlord
- Lottie Lewis: passionate community activist
- Angela Chappell: my initial connection with the Boys and Girls Club, which I helped launch
- I am not on staff with Grace Church as a “missionary.” When we decided to move to Allendale, we knew it was on our own. Grace did not send us to Allendale.
- But, going along with #3, Grace Church supports us. The leadership has supported many of our initiatives (such as summer camps and spring break camps). And most of our financial support is from people who are members of this church.
- We are missionaries, but maybe not like you think. We don’t lead worship, do altar calls, or plant churches. But we are missionaries in that sense that all Christians are called to live on mission, no matter where we are and no matter what we do.
Before, During, After
Now, as we transition from Allendale, it’s important to remember that our work here is not the total of Grace Church’s work here. Grace was involved here long before we were here, and they worked here (sometimes with us, sometimes not) the entire time we were here, and they will be here long after we are gone.
But even more importantly, God was at work long before Grace Church was in Allendale, and all the while that they are in Allendale. And He will be working in Allendale long after Grace Church is gone. God has never needed us in Allendale, and He’s never needed Grace Church. But He has graciously allowed us to be a Part of His Story.
As you consider the ministry that God is calling you to, remember that you are important but not indispensable. Or, as Coach Chuck Knoll would tell his dominant Pittsburg Steelers team,
“We need every man on this roster to win, but no player is so important that we can’t win without him.”
So . . . what about you?
I still believe that some other folks need to move to Allendale. Here are 6 Compelling Reasons why you need to move here.
What do you think? What is your role on God’s team? And could you have a bigger part in God’s story in Allendale?