Ministry on the Margins at Gordonsville

Our family came to pastor the Gordonsville Church of God just over a year and half ago. As we started to build relationships with our new congregation, we also began casting our vision for this season of ministry, “We are a family of disciples impacting our world for Christ.” Our desire is to correlate every ministry, event, and activity to this overarching vision.

Gordonsville is a small town of 1,400 people. Our goal is to connect with the people of the town in a meaningful way. This fall we held two ministry activities with the town’s people in mind. First, we held a breakfast at the church for Gordonsville Police Department and other Town Hall employees. On the same day, we delivered breakfast to the workers at Gordon House, which is a local nursing home. Our men and women fed over fifty people that day. Later in the month, we held a “Celebrate the Town” event at the local park.

Children and youth have also been a point of focus for our church. Last year, we kicked off “Radical Youth”. Since that time our children and youth have conducted dramas, led worship, produced a Christmas program, and participated in various fun events including No Fear Factor Challenge, Fall Fun Day, the first Vacation Bible School here in many years, Youth Camp (for the first time in many years; with 13 campers) and various other outings. Most importantly, our goal is to cultivate disciples among our children and youth. On various Wednesday nights, Radical Youth have left the four walls of the church to deliver cards to employees at businesses in the town. Sometimes the cards have been for encouragement to the recipients; other times the ventures have been evangelistic in nature.

In terms of spiritual formation, Pastor Donna is nearing the completion of creatively taking Radical Youth through the entire Bible. She has utilized an illustrated series of brief video clips, discussion, hands-on activities and games to provide a rich curriculum for our young people. This process has occurred during the 10:00am Discipleship time. Prior to that, we had two other series- “Go for the Gold!” (a spin-off of the Olympic games) and last Spring - “Marsh Madness” (a spin-off of March Madness; combining basketball, marshmallows and Jesus).

We realize the power of partnership. Strategic partnership can expand the scope and effectiveness of the local church ministry. Literally, the world can be reached through the local church through the right kind of partnerships. Our church sponsors two missionaries; one was actually raised in this church. Last winter, Covenant Church provided us with blankets to distribute to needy individuals. Donna and I also spent a meaningful week in Honduras with Pastors Harold and Laila Bare. In fact, through our relationship with them, Donna and I are in the process of adopting a young girl from Honduras. It has been very rewarding for our church to partner with Covenant in various mission activities, also including a visit from a Russian minister last Fall.

Our church has also benefited from partnership with Madison Church of God. Our men have been blessed to attend a joint men’s breakfast on a Saturday morning, and also a cook-out/ fishing outing on a Saturday evening. In addition, they regularly invite our youth group to join them for youth events and activities. Similarly, we were recently blessed by the music ministry of the Nortonsville Church of God during our revival with Bishop Travis Gore. Several other ministers impacted us during our “Finish Commitment Revival” series conducted each Wednesday night in March. And, an atmosphere of revival penetrated our church throughout the entire month of July, as Evangelist Drew Gibbons ministered for us every Wednesday night that month. Our church experience is richer when we partner with ministry friends throughout Virginia.

Currently, we are in the final weeks of a church-wide discipleship initiative. Our church congregation was divided into three groups. Each group will complete three rotations: Knowing your Church, Knowing your Christian Walk, and Knowing the New Testament. Our goal is to “grow deep” and become spiritually mature disciples of Christ. This program will be condensed and utilized as our “Growth Track” program to assimilate new attendees in the future.

As we enter 2018, each month will have a “theme” and a corresponding “Impact Verse”. For example, January will be a time of prayer and preparation. February will be designated “February in the Fields” with corresponding calendar activities related to evangelism. “February in the Fields” was also held in 2017. Our church members distributed (by hand) approximately 1,000 professionally printed information cards about our church. Each week we had a different assignment. Week one was family members, week two coworkers, etc. We were thrilled by the participation of the congregation.

Our church is vital. However, we recognize it is imperative to maintain continued progress in order to achieve God’s purpose for our church. So, goals for 2018 include: the creation of a new youth sanctuary and hang-out area; creation of a new nursery space; installation of a new sound system in the main sanctuary; and finalizing what will ultimately be an interior upgrade of the majority of the building.

In closing, it’s our desire to maximize ministry through every available opportunity. Our church is vital to the kingdom. Our church is called to minister “right here” and “right now”. We want to focus on leveraging the resources we have in order to reach our God-assigned harvest. As we move into 2018, my prayer is our church operate under a strong conviction that God has called us; God has placed us; God is powering us; we are God’s church for this time and place in history.

Pastors Greg & Donna Payne

Gordonsville Church of God