Reflections from Zuni

After they had crossed the Jordan river into the Promised Land, why did the Israelites leave a pile of stones beside the river? The stones came from the bottom of what should have been a dangerously flooded river bed - instead the river bed was dry, because God had parted the waters. The pile of stones memorialized this demonstration of God’s power and love. It was later named Ebenezer, meaning “stone of help.”

Coaching Zuni Christian Reformed Church is Ascending Leaders’ Ebenezer. We wanted to commemorate the power and love God showed to us during our first decade as a ministry by serving another ministry in a low-income area, at no cost to them. With financial help from Faith Formation Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church and a foundation, we donated two years of free coaching to Zuni Christian Reformed Church on the Zuni Reservation in New Mexico.  

Now, the Zuni Church has finished with the coaching and has increased its impact in the Zuni community. Tim Eisenga, director of discipleship, and Mike Meekhof, the pastor at Zuni Church, both reflected on the coaching they received from Dr. Mike Johnson of Ascending Leaders.

Tim said,

Mike coached us through a process to reflect upon who we are as a church and what direction we see God leading us for the next years. I appreciated that he coached us in the process without directly telling us what we should do. Instead, he gave us a structure that allowed us to seek God's leading, take ownership of what we were doing, empower members of the church to take leadership, and encouraged and challenged all church members to get involved.”


Mike Meekhof shared his perspective:

“Sometimes we get so embedded in ministry that we cannot see the forest for the trees. Mike Johnson's wise coaching helped us see things from a broader perspective and gave us hope for becoming a more "beautiful bride" which Christ will make blameless of the final day.”

Meekhof added, “As we looked at the history of the Zuni church, we could see clear strengths and weaknesses, signs of the Holy Spirit's leading, and signs of our blindness and disobedience. Mike reminded us to look deeper and further, so that we could see God's faithfulness and be renewed to face the challenges of the future. We are grateful for the gift that Ascending Leaders has given to us through Mike Johnson.”

Through these two years of coaching, Mike Johnson and the rest of the Ascending Leaders’ team have grown to deeply appreciate the unique, challenging, and hospitable ministry of Zuni Christian Reformed Church to the people of Southwestern New Mexico. In the culminating worship service, Mike Johnson, Mike Meekhof and Tim Eisenga, along with other worshipers, watched the families of the Zuni church physically build their own Ebenezer on the platform. Mike could not help but wonder if these past two years would stand as an Ebenezer in the life of the Zuni church as well as in Ascending Leaders’.

Not only does Zuni Church have a pile of rocks to symbolize their transition - now they also have a new building located in the center of the city, which empowers them to have a bolder outreach to their community.  As Ascending Leaders crosses from one decade of ministry into the next, Zuni Christian Reformed Church stands as a living and growing Ebenezer of God’s amazing power and love.

Not only does Zuni Church have a pile of rocks to symbolize their transition - now they also have a new building located in the center of the city, which empowers them to have a bolder outreach to their community.  As Ascending Leaders crosses from one decade of ministry into the next, Zuni Christian Reformed Church stands as a living and growing Ebenezer of God’s amazing power and love.

 

Click below for a free graph visualizing an example path Ascending Leaders takes churches on in their journey of growth. Might this be the kind of coaching your church needs?

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