April 10 North Central to the Nations Update Amy Read
Happy *almost* Easter NCBC!
As we rapidly approach Resurrection Sunday, I find myself reflecting on the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, particularly His parting words to His disciples before Jesus’ final ascension into heaven. He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV). What a privilege to have such a task imparted to us! We, as a church, have a responsibility to proclaim the gospel in Jerusalem (locally), Judea (our state), Samaria (the nation), and the ends of the earth (the world). I am encouraged as I write to you about the ways that our church is walking in obedience to this command, whether it be through going, sending, welcoming, or mobilizing people to live on mission and make disciples.
Today, I want to highlight a partnership that North Central has with Chris Finchum, the pastor of Citywalk Church in Northern
California. Chris and his family felt led to plant Citywalk in 2019 as God burdened their hearts for one of the most unchurched regions in America. Their mission is to walk with people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by helping them to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference. The Sunday morning service is designed to help accomplish this by being friendly for people in all stages of faith, whether they have been longtime followers of Jesus or are still investigating. They also have small groups that happen throughout the week meeting all over their region of the state. These groups provide opportunities for community, spiritual growth, and serving the area they are in. As a church, Citywalk works to be a part of community events, either through participation or hosting, all with the purpose of meeting people who are far from God and showing them the love of Jesus. At its core, Citywalk’s, and in turn the Finchum’s, heart is to plant churches in the least reached cities on the West coast in order to reach the unchurched (those who have no connection to a church) and the dechurched (those who have walked away from it).
One cool story that Chris shared with me involves a young man named Charlie*. Charlie left for college last year, and during his time in college he became involved in drug dealing, among other destructive behaviors. God was not done with Charlie, however. He was brought home from college, and while home got connected to Citywalk. Through his time being part of this church, God brought conviction and transformation into Charlie’s life. He has recently chosen to rededicate his life to Christ, is now serving with the church, and will be getting baptized soon! It is so powerful hearing about the transformation in one young man’s life. Just think of how many Charlies are out there, with no one willing to connect them to a body of believers who will love them unconditionally while boldly sharing the Gospel and being willing to invest time in walking with them on a journey of faith. Jesus certainly promised us that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37). I am so thankful for laborers like the Finchums,
who are willing to labor in some of the hardest soil in the country.
Though many of us are not being asked by the Lord to pack our things up and move to California to plant churches, we as a congregation can still have a massive impact on this ministry! Prayer is powerful, and through simply taking the time to go before our Lord and Savior and intercede for those serving on the spiritual frontlines we can have a thriving ministry all the way in California. I challenge you to take some time every day this week to uplift the Finchum’s and Citywalk Church in prayer. Here are some specific things to pray for:
— The Finchum Family. Chris, Laurie, Austin (18), Juleah (15), and Kate (6). Pray for Chris as he leads both his family and his church. Pray for Laurie as she shepherds their children. Pray for Austin, Juleah, and Kate to remain sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit.
— Pray that God would continue to bring people who are not connected to a church to Citywalk. Specifically those who are unchurched or dechurched.
— Wisdom for the Finchum’s as they look towards planting other churches!
— Provision for a permanent meeting facility for Citywalk.
I hope, church family, that you all are as encouraged by this partnership as I am! If you would like to learn more about Citywalk, or send words of encouragement to Chris and his family, please send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to learn more ways to be on mission, whether it be here in Gainesville or halfway across the world, please shoot me an email at email@example.com. I would love to find ways to connect you to the things God is laying on your heart! Have a wonderful weekend celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!