Why do we give generously to our God's mission through the local church? We give gratefully, blown away with what we've seen Him do. We also give prospectively, excited for what He'll continue to do. In this series, we've looked at what God has done in global mission, leadership, and church planting, along with our two facilities He's given us, Westside and Imago. I want to close with the reason why we do any of this. We give to see God glorified as He changes lives. In Karis Church, we want to see multiplication at all levels: disciples, leaders, missional communities, gatherings, campuses, and churches. It all starts, though, with making disciples. Meet two new disciples who came to faith and are growing in grace with Karis Jeff City.
Tracey and her husband Derek visited Karis Church in Columbia several years back. She visited then as a non-Christian, fearful to open up her life to the Lord or to others. She had been abused as a child, and struggled both with self-righteousness toward others and anger toward God. She tried visiting an MC in those days but couldn't handle it. "I felt like I couldn’t be a Christian, because I didn’t grow up as one and I didn’t know what the Bible said, " Tracey explained. "I remember being very lost that night. I felt like I would be looked down upon, because I wasn’t good enough, and I never could be." The Kerleys fell off the grid for quite awhile but then heard about Karis's new work in Jefferson City. Derek suggested they visit, and they did. Sunday was again difficult for Tracey, but they decided to visit that Tuesday night's MC at the Zeichik home. That's when everything changed. She writes,
We came back on Tuesday to check out their MC group and Josh reached out to me. We started talking, and I opened up to him about my past, and I told him I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but something inside me had changed. I think that was the moment when I look back that I finally let God in. I let the walls I had built to protect me all those years down. It makes me cry even now thinking about that moment. That conversation where I let it out, and someone was there to tell me that I didn’t have to do it all, with faith in God, I could finally know that he is there to guide me.
Soon thereafter, Tracey was baptized into Christ. She and Derek are a key part of Karis Church's Jefferson City campus. Praise God for His work in their lives!
Derek was raised in a Christian family but strayed far from God in his teenage years. He walked through an extremely dark period of over seven years, where he almost committed suicide. He battled through long seasons with lust. A time in the U.S. Navy led him to his wife Sarah, but he struggled with periods of anger that even led to bouts of violence between the two. After the Navy, Derek attended college and found a computing job with the state of Missouri. He tried a few churches, but lacked motivation and experienced hurts there. Derek ran into Josh and Harmony and had dinner with them one night, where he felt God make him new again. Since then, he and his family have been a key part of Karis Jeff City. Derek writes:
On Easter 2015 I was baptized again, only this time I was fully aware of what I was dedicating myself to and realizing how much God loves me and how he never gave up on me, even though I fell so far away from him for so long. I lived in “Pure Darkness” for over 20 years and through it all, God was with me, waiting patiently for my return and working through my friends and family to bring me back to him.
Karis Church, why again do we give? To honor our Lord, but also to see more stories like these. Would you help us hit our budget mark for 2014-15 that ends today? As of today, we lack $10,272 to met our goal. Will you jump on board and help us hit our new, higher target for 2015-16? That figure will help to fully fund our staff and provide additional funds for our Jeff City campus. You can give online here.