STRONG CHURCH PART 1: FOUNDATIONS

 
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What makes a local church strong? What does it take to be a stable and growing local church that drills deep into our community and reaches wide into world? What areas of theology and practice need clarification and strengthening, so we can pursue gospel saturation through making disciples that can make disciples? Over the course of the coming year, we’re wrestling with these questions, asking God to make Soma into a steady conduit of his word and work in our region and beyond.

Much of our time on Sundays this year will be in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians - not the first place you’d look to find a biblical example of a Strong Church! The Corinthian church is a mess on so many levels - division and favoritism, funky theology, broken ways of relating, sexual confusion, envy and pride over spiritual gifts, and doubt over the reality of the resurrection! It is the opposite of a Strong Church in so many ways, but it will allow us to explore the myriad of ways we can drift from what really matters, in order that we might be corrected and strengthened, helping us deepen our discipleship to Jesus and widen our disci- ple-making in our region and beyond. I’m trusting it will prove to be a humbling, encouraging, and emboldening season of learning for us all.

 

A VISION OF GOSPEL SATURATION

 
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Over September, we’re remembering the foundations of who we are and what we’re doing, encouraging everyone in the Soma family to revisit our 3 Priorities and  our 4 Practices. Our hope is to grow strong this year - deepening our discipleship to Jesus and broadening our reach into the world together, so that our region is saturated with the good news of the gospel. Use this series to set a trajectory for you, your family, and your community this year. Review our Priorities and Practices, and come ready to say “I’m In!” at our 14th Anniversary Party on September 23rd. 

Soma Spokane is built on these 3 Biblical Priorities:  

  1. The Christian life is fueled by an ever-deepening understanding and sensing of the Gospel message - the good news of God’s gracious personal rescue and eventual restoration of all things through the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus.

  2. We are rescued as individuals and placed into Community, called to be God’s church in the everyday - a renewed people with a new identity everywhere we go.

  3. Every Christian is called to the Mission of making disciples of Jesus in ordinary life - we want our region saturated with the good news of the gospel in word and deed.

In light of these 3 Priorities, we give ourselves to 4 Biblical Practices:

  1. Go: Through faith in Jesus, we’ve been given a new identity as a Family of Servants and Missionaries. As an adopted Family, we cultivate gospel community. As ransomed Servants, we engage our city’s needs. As Spirit-filled Missionaries, we reach out with the good news of the gospel. Together we commit to live as a Family of Servants and Missionaries in the regular rhythms of everyday life.

  2. Gather: Our Sunday gathering is a key moment of connection with God and with one another as well as a time to practice living our identity as a Family of Servants and Missionaries. Together we commit to gather regularly to worship and serve.

  3. Grow: A disciple of Jesus is one who is coming to know the gospel, believe the gospel, and live in light of the gospel. Together we commit to take responsibility for our own development and the development of others as disciples of Jesus.

  4. Give: Gospel Partnership with the Soma family includes joyful stewardship of time, talent, and treasure for the sake of our shared mission. Together we commit to give generously toward the needs of the Soma Family and our disciple-making Mission.

Do you have questions about how this works with your season or stage of life? Let’s talk. These practices aim to lead us to freedom, joy, and fruitfulness as we follow Jesus together this year.

 

GIBBS SLOVAKIA TRIP

 
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The Gibbs family has a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT to make… we are preparing to move to the beautiful country of Slovakia to help serve and equip ministry leaders and local churches! Wait, what? Is this for reals? Yes, this is really happening. It is a big story that started about three years ago when we began asking the question, “What will life and ministry look like in the next 10 years? What good works has God prepared us for (Ephesians 2:10)?” In the kingdom of God we are all sent ones. We are all participants in the story of redemption and restoration. Some are sent as teachers, nurses, baristas or Uber drivers. Some are sent to urban communities, some are sent to the suburbs. Some are sent to the towns that they grew up in, and some are sent to far away lands, like Slovakia. (Click here to read a longer version of the backstory and discernment process)

Help send the Gibbs family on this final vision trip to meet the team in Žilina and serve at one of the summer youth camps this July!
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You might be asking yourself, why Slovakia? The short answer is because God led us there. Central Europe once had a very vibrant presence of gospel proclamation, but Europe now is the least evangelized continent in the world. As we began praying about serving in Europe we asked God to give us a heart for a people or a place, and He answered our prayer by growing our hearts for Slovakia. Slovakia is by large, culturally religious with about 92% christian adherents. That means a lot of people call themselves Christians, but the stats say that less than 2% of Slovaks are living in responsive obedience in their walk with Jesus Christ as Lord. Slovakia’s spiritual climate has been marginalized by years of being stuck in the middle of wars from neighboring countries, political strife and communist oppression. But there is great hope for Slovakia as there is a generation of young leaders that are hungry for more.

We will be serving young leaders who are part of Josiah Venture. For work, Aaron will be on staff with Kompas (the JV organization in Slovakia) doing a variety of things to help equip, train and mobilize young leaders. We will be involved with a local church plant,  Za Kostolom (in English translates to “Behind the Church”), working with Jan Mahrik, the church planter and his core team. We will also be working with other church leaders in the country of Slovakia as we pursue gospel saturation through identifying and raising up disciple-making disciples that find their home in the local church and transform society.

Our everyday life will look very much the same and in many ways very different. We hope to get involved in loving and serving our neighbors. Being intentional in the rhythms of everyday life like where we buy our food, where we play, and how we extend hospitality and pursue relationships. We hope to engage with families in the kid’s schools and the activities that they get involved in. We are going to work really hard at learning Slovak! Pray for us!!! 

The final step in this process is for the Gibbs family to go to Žilina to meet the Kompas and Za Kostolom teams and help run a summer youth camp this July! Using conversational English as the connection point, these english camps help unbelievers connect to the local church. Along with facilitating these camps, we will also help train and develop young Slovak leaders to serve as interns in these camps and in their local churches when they get back home. 

If our timeline goes according to plan, we will make the move sometime summer or fall 2019, depending on how all of the logistics work out. Here is where you come in… we can’t do this on our own. We need a team of people to help make this happen. The circumstances of ministry will require us to raise financial support to cover our living and ministry expenses. I (Aaron) feared that if people didn’t support us, it would mean that they didn’t believe in me and that I would be a failure, leading me to not pursue ministry opportunities like this. But in reality, it isn’t about me. We’re not asking you to give your money to us so that we can do what we want. We’re inviting you to steward kingdom resources that you have been given and invest them into this work that God is doing over in Slovakia. 

Would your prayerfully consider supporting us financially to serve in Slovakia this July?

  • We will be serving at an english/sports youth camp July 15-21
  • We will head over a week early so that our whole family can meet the team in Žilina
  • We will familiarize ourselves with the city to get an idea about what part of the city we will want to live in and what the best school options will be for the kids
  • Our friend, Autumn Campa, will be joining us for the July trip to serve at the youth camp and help us with the boys

We have 30 days to raise about $12,000! These funds will cover airfare, camp fees, food and lodging for the six of us during our two week trip in July. Let’s do this!

 

Grace & Peace,
Aaron, Megan, Asher, Lincoln & Beckham

 

REDEMPTION GROUPS

 
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TUESDAY NIGHTS FROM 6:00-8:30 PM
MARCH 20 - MAY 15
APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 11

Abuse. Addiction. Assorted Trouble. This is life in the real world, and none of us is immune. Pain, loss, and suffering are inevitable experiences of human life. Sadly, we often multiply sorrows by living as victims, engaging in addiction, or stuffing our pain.

Because none of us are immune to sin and suffering, we need safe places and safe people with whom we can process what we’ve lived, reconcile our experience with the goodness of God, and come to a place of self-awareness, openness toward God, and receptivity toward one another.

Only the gospel message - the news of a God so strong, so compassionate, and so good who would freely choose to step into suffering, identify with us in it, and give his life for us, rising 3 days later to conquer sin, death, and hell - can free us.

To know Jesus is to know and experience real redemption.

All of this is yours in Jesus Christ, and joining a Redemption Group is a way to step into the opportunity to know your Redeemer in a whole new way.

Redemption Groups will launch March 20, and continue for 9 consecutive Tuesdays from  6:00-8:30 pm. Each evening consists of a short teaching, a time of reflection, and a safe group setting led by gospel shepherds trained to listen, pursue, and facilitate the healing only Jesus can bring.

 

 

GO WITH THE GHOST

 

Jesus left his disciples with a massive responsibility - to get the good news of salvation by grace to the ends of the earth, making disciples of Jesus along the way. He trusted a ragtag group of men and women with the task of con- tinuing his own ministry in the world, charging them to preach, teach, & heal in his name! It was a seemingly impossible work for a his small rebel band. 

And so, Jesus promised after he was gone he would send them a great helper: the Holy Spirit would come to empower them to carry out their great missionary task, just as the Spirit had empowered Jesus! And he told them to wait until the Spirit came before they began to work on the mission. 

For the early church, the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit - or as the old translations put it, the Holy Ghost - was central and essential. They didn’t make great missionary plans, raise funds, or start committees! They waited & prayed, for the power and presence of the Spirit was their plan. 

This month, we’re digging into the Scriptures to learn more about the person and work of the Spirit, asking what it looks like for us to live - individually and corporately - in prayerful dependence on his empowering presence. We’re asking Jesus to fulfill his promise regarding the work of the Spirit: ”Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7.38).