State of the Church 2017 Part 2

Reflecting on the Last Ministry Year

When I reflect on last year I can’t help but think about that Sunday morning moment. We as this gospel centered, multi-ethnic, disciple-making church body come together to make much of Jesus. I’m thinking particularly about all that the Holy Spirit did with leading us through the scriptures.

Thinking about the series of Galatians where we just kind of emphatically declared there’s No Other Gospel. We worked for weeks and weeks just pressing the gospel deeper and deeper into our lives. We did a series within that series entitled In Step where we just talked about the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. I know that really moved me and shaped me profoundly.

We also took a time to respond to felt needs in our body. We did a series entitled Anchored. We talked about navigating the storms of life and we explored the why of suffering and then what to do with suffering. Also, what it looks like to make Jesus look good in seasons when I’m not feeling good. I just remember letter after letter, email after email of folks responding to how awesome it was to just explore that together as a body.

When I think about last year, I think about those moments where that Sunday magic that is Fellowship Memphis continues to be just that.

We spent a lot of time last year dreaming big about the residency. I remember me and JB sitting down with pastor Josh Weiss and saying to Josh “Dream. “Just see what God can do here.” Before we knew it, Josh had a new vision. And how we could kind of explore avenues of growth.

A few months later I’m now looking at six pastoral residents, the most we’ve ever had at one time. They are all pursuing graduate level education. We are engaging them to prepare them for future lanes of pastoral ministry. I am so proud of our body rallying behind the pastoral residency. It remains in my mind the best thing we do and we do a lot of good things. But the residency is still one of the best.

From Collierville to Thailand: A missionary’s journey

I’ve been a part of Fellowship Memphis for over 5 years and a part of the newest outpost, Fellowship Collierville, since our launch in November 2016.

Over the past couple of years, I have been given several opportunities to be a part of ministry in different parts of Asia. Through those experiences, the Lord has given me a deep love for Indians, Nepali’s, and Chinese people and Asian people groups & culture as a whole.

Laboring among this group specifically, whether overseas or here in the States, gives me great joy that could only come from the Father.

Why Thailand?

68 million people live in Thailand and only 0.5% are evangelical Christian (85% Buddhist, 8% Muslim, 3% ethnic religions, 1.1% Christian).

Thailand’s 3 largest ethnic groups are listed among the 100 largest unreached people groups in the world.

The Thai government allows for freedom of religion, allowing CO staff to freely interact and share the Gospel on college campuses.

Geographically located in Southeast Asia, ministry here can serve as a gateway for the Gospel to neighboring “closed” countries!

One of the main reasons I decided to be a part of FM Collierville is that Collierville as a city has a large group of Southeast Asian people groups. This outpost was going to make it a priority to befriend, love on, and reach these people specifically with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fellowship has always pushed me to know, love, and trust God more deeply. It has challenged me to pursue friendship and community with people who don’t look like me. And encouraged & equipped me in the desire God has given me to see Southeast Asian people come into a relationship with the Father. A few months ago, I was approached with an opportunity to serve in this part of the world on a long term basis. To make a long story short, one week ago I packed my bags and moved to Thailand!

I have decided to partner with Campus Outreach in Khon Kaen, Thailand for the next two years! I am serving here as a full-time teacher for the missionary kids in the area, and by doing that, helping long-term missionaries stay on the field. Another aspect of my role here is ministering to students on the college campus.

Over the next 2 years, I hope to see many college students come to an understanding of who God is and decide to follow Him. Then to disciple them in how to have a relationship with the Lord. And then teach them how to share the Good News with their family and friends so that they would come to Christ as well.. and so on & so on..

While I miss the family I have through Fellowship Memphis already, it is sweet to know that, though we are on opposite sides of the world, we share the same mission of one day seeing “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands as they cry out, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10).

Paige Lewis