by Jason Aaron
MONROE, MI – A few weeks ago, after a very encouraging Sunday, I sent the pastor from my home church in Kentucky, a message summarizing the events of the day and said, ‘I want to do a better job of celebrating ALL the things God is doing by sending them to you. That way when I get discouraged, you can tell me to shut up and remember the faithfulness of God.’ I know that may sound a little crass, but it’s the message my sinful, but redeemed heart, needs.
Outpost Community Church was birthed in January of 2019. A time where it felt easy to invite strangers and neighbors to the church doors and to our bustling home table for dinner. A time where we would pack into our living room every Thursday to learn from God’s Word, and not have to report fear, confusion, or even symptoms to those who attended three to five days later.
Planting a church in a pandemic has come with its fair share of discouragement. Almost all the people who started the church with us have left. We shut the doors for months on a newly purchased building during 2020, and we’ve had to cancel several services since then because of last minute staff quarantines.
How could I possibly be steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work of the Lord with all the uncertainty of then or even now? Because the Apostle Paul says to keep pressing forward in the work of the Lord because our labor is not in vain! God has redeemed, reconciled, created, sustained, and provided EVERY. STEP. OF. THE. WAY. While the world seems to be broken and heavily divided…we have seen marriages strengthened, leaders birthed, visions created, and new people joining. It has been a beautiful reminder that God is sovereign over all things.
By God’s grace, we had our first youth night at the local community center at the end of 2021, and we’ve had several more since then. Our first event for middle-school aged youth drew 2 to 30 kids, many of whom I met through mentoring at the community center and local elementary school. This has been a five-year investment. Loving and serving these kids with the hope that seeds would be planted, and I could witness gospel transformation through the saving work of Jesus.
It’s been an incredible first few months of this ministry, and we look forward to seeing all that God is going to do. For many of them it was their first time hearing the good news of the gospel. Even after five years, the labor is not in vain. Be encouraged brothers and sisters, the seeds you are planting now are NOT IN VAIN! There might not be fruit now, one year, two years, five years, or even in ten years, BUT be steadfast in pursuing the lost in your community. Your labor is not in vain!
Just as important as pursuing the lost, the call of a shepherd is to equip and invest in the saints inside the church building. In my first couple of years I could sense that most of the men felt very inadequate with handling the Word. After being the primary leader of our men’s small group gatherings for the first couple of years, I wanted to equip new leaders.
With a little brotherly love and maybe some arm-twisting, we’ve now developed a six-man rotation and are currently walking through the book of Proverbs. Not only have the men grown so much by leading our group discussion and studying the passage, but I’ve grown through their teaching. It seems small to celebrate five men accepting the invitation to lead, but that’s what we need to do! Celebrate ALL the work the Lord is doing, the big things and the little things.
I pray these stories will encourage you to write down and consider what God has been doing in your life, in your family, or in your ministry during the past two years. Reach out and share it with your mentors, congregation, co-workers, family, neighbors, or friends. This will add fuel into your spiritual tank. Remember, your work for the Lord is not in vain so ALWAYS ABOUND in the work of the Lord.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason is the Preaching Pastor at Outpost Community Church where he also serves as an elder. Jason went through a two-year Pastoral Internship at Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, KY from 2015-2016 under Pastor James Carroll. Upon completing that, he accepted a Church Planting Residency at First Presbyterian Trenton under Pastor Aaron Carr in January 2017 and completed in December 2018. Jason completed his M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2018. Jason is married to Amanda and they have 5 children…Mackenzie, Ashken, Noah, Kane, and Trey.