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hope for churches in stress

Starr Trek

Week by week, empty nesters Charlie and Martha Starr participate in two churches. They worship in the early service at Cross Roads BIC (Mt. Joy, Pa.), a thriving church near their home. Immediately afterward, they drive to New Life of Hershey (Pa.) where they worship and serve in a smaller church.

The Starrs do not divide their time and money between the two churches; they double their worship, service, and giving to benefit both churches. Their travel is not intergalactic, but this weekly Starr Trek of 14 miles (22 minutes) is a strong help to New Life Church of Hershey.

A variation on weekly trekking is full participation in an under-resourced church for a time. Seasoned workers in a strong (and well-resourced) church can be "sent" to a nearby church in need of workers and encouragement. There is no glamor in this. Indeed, there is hardship in being without the familiar worship and companionship in one's "home church" (Revelation 1:10). But the hope this service stirs can be catalytic for a faltering church.

Jesus inaugurated mission trips to places nearby (Matthew 10, Luke 10:1-24) and far away (Matthew 28:18-20). At a time when overseas mission trips are appealing and popular, some followers of Jesus are quietly investing in local ministry. By weekly treks or a season of full engagement, they are infusing mission thrust to help revitalize struggling churches close at hand.

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