The following post is from Tony Lankford, pastor of Park Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. Park Avenue is a CBF-partner church, and a ministry partner with Trey and Jen Lyon, CBF field personnel. You can read more about Trey and Jen’s ministry in this month’s edition of the fellowship! magazine. This blog is part of a week-long series on the Lyon’s ministry in Atlanta. Read part 1 here.
Two years ago, I stood on stage at CBF General Assembly and prayed over Trey and Jennifer Lyon as newly appointed field personnel. I thought the church and I were prepared for the partnership journey upon which we were about to embark. We were wrong. We underestimated the time, energy, space, commitment, and money this partnership would require.
Park Avenue has given money to projects and has gone on mission trips in the past- endeavors of worth and meaning themselves. But, we had never truly partnered with CBF Field Personnel or anyone on this deep of a missional level. It has not always been easy and the honest truth is we have had to make logistical and financial decisions that intentionally lean us towards the partnership.
Would we do it again? Two years later, knowing what we know now, has the partnership been a wise stewardship of resources? I feel confident there is not a single person at Park Avenue Baptist Church that regrets the decisions we made to see this partnership flourish. We are a better church. We have a more meaningful ministry. We feel more humbled than ever to be apart of what God is doing in the city of Atlanta.
The sacrifice has been good. It has refined a deep sense of purpose and mission for us as a congregation. I encourage your church to pursue such an endeavor. You may never host the work in your church building, but there are many field personnel around the world doing great things and many more that hope to enter the field. Find one. Develop a partnership that will require sacrifice on the part of the church. It may be the best hard decision your church ever makes. It has been for us.