Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
Too much. There is just too much to share about Mosaic’s eight day, seven night trip to Restore Church last week. It was 167 hours of relationship building, working, goofing around, and outreach-ing (and, oh, some sleeping too). Where my words fail, I hope that the pictures taken throughout the week can fill in the gaps of our experience in central Detroit with Restore Church.
Leading up to the trip, the teams at Restore Church and Mosaic Church came up with three primary goals for the week. Throughout January and February, we were praying that God would bless this collaboration between our two local bodies. And as I reflect on this trip, God was faithful. He showed up! Not only did no one die, lose a limb, or have petty conflicts with one another, but He galvanized our teams together for His glory. Let’s briefly look at those three goals we had for the week.
1. To strengthen the long-term relationship between Restore Church and Mosaic Church, extending past this spring break, into summer projects and beyond.
Well, the jury is still technically out on this one. Only more time will determine if we continue to strengthen our relationship. However, I believe we are off to a phenomenal start. Throughout the week, relationship building was the priority. We worked it in every way we possible could. We intentionally teamed Restore people with Mosaic people on projects; essentially cross-pollinating our teams. And while we accomplished an incredible amount of work over the course of the week, we valued connecting with one another over getting tangible things done. The families of Restore were generously open with their homes, allowing us to shower and eat at their homes throughout the week. How can you not become better friends after sharing a loofah!?! Further, we had a Game Night on Friday night and we closed out the week by worshipping together on Sunday morning (the “Grand Opening” of the 1st floor Worship area!).
And while the summer is still months away, we already have times on the calendar for our two teams to meet again. As examples, Restore has graciously offered to come out to Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti at the end of March to help us with our Easter promotion. Just tomorrow night, some of our people are going to head back to Detroit to join in on Restore’s youth girls’ night. By God’s grace, He is continuing to knit our people together.
2. Mosaic people will experience sacrificial serving and outreach in a cross-cultural environment, while forming lasting, Christ-centered friendships that will be brought back to Ann Arbor.
Our time at Restore last week formed relationships within our Mosaic team like nothing else could. We ate 20+ meals together, we had morning devotions together, we sweated alongside one another, we shivered together (those first two nights , we became walking dust balls together, and on and on. Before this trip, many of our people didn’t know one another, or only knew their face but not even their name. As I’ve followed-up with our people that went on the trip, I’ve been encouraged to hear how many new, deep relationships were formed as a result of this trip. In some instances, I’ve heard, “You know what, [fill-in name here] isn’t as weird as I thought, he’s actually someone I can relate with!”. The week continually presented opportunities to experience and model the Christian walk (e.g. patience, loving one another, praying for one another, selflessness, etc.).
Each day we had “teaching” times that taught us a tremendous amount of what it is like to live and serve in Detroit, a city that is in a different context and culture than our home of Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti. Many of us came away with a greater appreciation for Detroit and a deeper understanding of its history and the numerous implications on present-day Detroit. These teaching times were organized by Restore and covered the following topics.
- Experiences of a Long-Time Detroiter – Renee Gunn
- Moving into Detroit: Experience of New Detroiters – Ruth Bontrager, Susan Hanafee, John & Emily Decker
- An Overview of Detroit History & Restore’s Vision for D-Groups and DNA Groups – Mike Hanafee
- The History of Restore Church – Clete Bontrager
- Gospel Identities – Clete Bontrager & Mike Hanafee
- Personal Testimonies and Overview of Monthly Manhood Academy – Wadsworth Pilot & Matt Golden
Many of these teaching times went longer than the time allotted, but it was a blessing. We got to hear the speakers’ personal testimonies and perspectives on living and serving in an urban, inner-city environment.
3. In collaboration with leaders and members of Restore Church, Mosaic will help tackle work, evangelize, and perform administrative projects identified by Restore Church leaders.
As the pictures show, God used the people of Restore and Mosaic to get an incredible amount of work done! While most of the efforts were concentrated on renovating the Post Office, we also had a team helping renovate the basement of a member of Restore. While the list isn’t comprehensive, some of what God accomplished last week includes:
- Removed the ceiling tiles in the new worship area on the first floor
- Demolished the half wall above the old PO boxes and the bulletproof glass wall
- Filled a 30 yard dumpster (the size of a bus!) to the brim from the demolition projects
- Photographed, cataloged and posted items for sale on Craigslist
- Sorted, moved and organized everything that was in the new worship area in the future nursery area
- Built four fowling boards that double as platforms for Sunday morning worship
- Swept and mopped the 1st floor of the P.O. a gazillion times
- Helped pass out 6,000+ promotional flyers for Restore’s Easter Egg Hunt
Again, there is too much to share. We praise God for the opportunity to serve alongside Restore Church. We love you guys and are charged up to continue to strengthen our relationship over the coming weeks, months and years.
Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you,
Pastoral Resident at Mosaic Church
Ann Arbor, MI
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23 (ESV)