The church’s unofficial slogan is, “We are the church in the middle of everywhere.” When I first heard it, I was confused because most people would look at its location and say the opposite. It is in the middle of nowhere.
I recently visited this church. To give you an idea, it is in a county the size of Rhode Island, yet has a population of 1,200 residents. The closest Walmart is over 100 miles away. This year’s graduating class of the local school is five. We have a Wesleyan church there. In its own way, it truly is a church in the middle of everywhere. Every place needs a church like Medicine Rocks Wesleyan Church near Ekalaka, Montana.
Every church needs divine lasting power, where the Holy Spirit leads the way of obedient people. Medicine Rocks Wesleyan Church is almost 100 years old. It defeats every argument about location, location, and location. It is not in a metropolis of population. There are more cattle and antelope than people. By all outward appearances, no one would ever plant a church there. Yet someone believed God and started a ministry near Medicine Rocks State Park. Someone had to hang in there. People today are still sacrificing to make ministry happen. They don’t just survive, they thrive. And the future looked bright on a recent Sunday as I marveled, watching approximately 20 grade school children romping around the church grounds after the service.
Every church needs a good pastor. The love, care, and encouragement of the pastor I ministered alongside were definitely the work of Jesus in that community. The pastor and his wife truly love their community. They get to do something I miss most weeks. They enjoyed going through everyday life with people in the middle of everything and everywhere. Some pastors preach well. Some have remarkable talent. Great pastors love their community with the love of Jesus.
Every church needs good lay people. I love lay people and their faith in Christ. Their commitment to the Lord is absolutely phenomenal. They encourage, invest, sacrifice, care, love, support, admonish, and get in the trenches. They love their church and their leaders. They work through conflict and they are willing to listen to the truth of the Lord. I’ve personally been privileged to know and minister with some of the best people in God’s kingdom. I definitely met some of God’s choice servants in Montana.
Every church needs good prospects. Have you ever considered the reality that a local church takes on some personal traits, including a self-esteem? Do you believe you can do beyond anything you could ever ask or imagine with the help of the Lord? Someone in your church needs to pray and trust God to win and transform the community around your church as well as the communities around the world. If we are not praying, if we are consumed with fear and doubt, God’s work might be limited. Obviously, he can do what he wants and he has chosen his body to carry it out. Believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ask God to lead you and be his hands and feet to reach everyone who lives everywhere. Start with a focus on the person right in front of you and believe God for the corners of the earth. Be the church in the middle of everywhere!
Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.