I wrote this first part in 2018 when I was living in Phoenix, AZ, desiring a church there. I was living in the area of where there was a tourist church meeting four months out of the year. Other parts of the year I would drive 2 hours south to meet with three people who were true Jesus’ followers, or else north 1 ½ hours to meet with 2 families, but they only met occasionally, not every Sunday.
I pray fervently that a church could be established. Even if someday Phoenix gets one church, guess what, there needs to be a vibrant glowing example of Christ-like living in each of the sections of a city this big. (per 100,000 people) So since Phoenix city population is 1,700,000, I won’t feel like Phoenix is over stocked with strong vibrant cross-life “Matthew 5-6-7” churches until there are 17 such churches here.
And that would be (per 100,000 that I’m praying for) ----
2 churches in Knoxville, TN
7 churches in Nashville, TN
7 churches in Boston, MA
3 churches in Pittsburgh, PA
1 church in Erie, PA
5 churches in Atlanta, GA
6 churches in Oklahoma City, OK
5 churches in Tucson, AZ
1 church in Yuma, AZ
16 churches in Philadelphia, PA
23 churches in Houston, TX
27 churches in Chicago, IL
40 churches in Los Angeles, CA
85 churches in New York, NY.
(Actually, this is just the city. The metropolitan area of these cities is bigger. For instance, Phoenix metropolitan area is 4.7 million, so that would mean 47 churches. Anyway, you get the picture.)
These are big prayers. But Lord, Your power and wisdom and ingenuity have no limit. Your pitcher is bigger than our cup. We feel inadequate. You use weak humans, though.
Yes, every town of the size of 6,000 to 85,000 needs a true Gospel light as well. But what about these millions who don’t have true Gospel living in front of their eyes, who don’t have the opportunity to get to know some true Jesus’ followers personally? Many in the cities do not have a vehicle to drive out somewhere an hour away, where most Anabaptist churches are located in the rural areas somewhere. People in the inner city depend on bus system within the city.
NOW, an ANSWER TO PRAYER –
As of a few months ago, Phoenix now has an established plain Anabaptist church, partaking of holy communion together. There are five couples and a single lady who are members together and meet Sunday by Sunday year round. PRAISE THE LORD. Pray that this church will grow and flourish from seekers within the city, not only those who have moved to Arizona for their health.
One of these couples who are now members at this Phoenix church lives in Tucson, but they are willing to travel 2 ½ hours to Phoenix. They have lived for many years the Anabaptist understanding of obedient discipleship and have prayed for 18 years for an Anabaptist church in Tucson, near where they care for their elderly parents.
Long ago, when I was about 16 years old, I was traveling through TN with my family, and we stopped at a Walmart. People stared at us, smiling, and amazed, and asked us questions about who we are, and what we represented. And I began to have a burden for that city, that there could be an Anabaptist church there.
I still have that desire for Kingsport, TN. Over the years, I pray for that city to have an Anabaptist witness. I drove through there a few weeks ago, and was moved again. In fact in my travels, as I’m passing through cities, I pray for that city, that God would send an Anabaptist church to that city, that He would build His church, make His people strong and keep them faithful, and expand their influence to promote His Kingdom.
However, sometimes I realize that God is building His church in other ways than through the Anabaptist churches –
So for Kingman, AZ Yuma, AZ Prescott, AZ Tucson, AZ And so on --- I am praying that He will strengthen, waken, grow His church through groups I don’t even know about.
Thank the Father that we can join together with prayers for Christ’s church to grow and prosper. Hallelujah !