Mission Pivot

Dear Christ Church Family,

God has blessed us, in Christ, so that we would be a blessing to the world. The loving countenance of the Father’s face shines upon us so that His “way may be known on earth” and His “saving power among all nations” (Ps. 67:1-2). Christ Church, we have the indescribable privilege of taking the good news of salvation to our neighbors and to the nations. It’s not one or the other. We take the good news to both. We are God’s witnesses— the light and aroma of Christ in a dark and corrupt world. The Christ Church Mission Team is eager to take the good news abroad this summer. Our journey has changed course, but our mission has not.

In last week’s pastoral letter I mentioned that our summer mission team is no longer going to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve had to change our plans. A rise in the State Department’s threat assessment, as well as very strict COVID travel and (indoor) mask regulations, led us to cancel our plans and consider alternative locations. We reached out to several missionary-church planters (in our network) about potentially bringing a team over to serve, but none were able to accommodate us. Then I reached out to Rev. Vincenzo Coluccia, missionary-church planter in Lecce, Italy, who works closely with our missionary, Rev. Michael Brown in Milan, Italy. (Rev. Brown will be the speaker for our mission conference in September!) I met Rev. Coluccia in 2019 during his seminary studies at Westminster Seminary California. Rev. Coluccia and his budding church plant congregation — the ONLY Reformed and Presbyterian Church in ALL of Southern Italy — are extremely excited for our team to come and partner with them for a week of ministry.

Over 60 million people live in Italy, and less than 1% are evangelical Christians. Most are nominal Roman Catholics, and over 25% profess to have no faith or religion at all. Millions of individuals and families are lost and totally ignorant of the gospel. Moreover, only a tiny fraction of believers confess the Reformed and Presbyterian Faith; less than one thousand. Sadly, most Americans only think of Italy (and other parts of Europe) as a vacation destination. But as you can see, it is primarily a mission field. Tens of millions are in need of Christ.

The need for mission, evangelism, and church planting is colossal. Therefore, in partnership with the Chiesa Presbiteriana Pietra Vivente [Living Stone Presbyterian Church] we will be carrying out the Great Commission this summer in Lecce, Italy (located in southern tip of Italy). Our mission will be constituted of discipleship and evangelism ministry through VBS, evening outreach events, street evangelism, a Reformed Worship seminar (My little book Splendor of Holiness is translated into Italian), youth Bible studies, preaching and teaching, fellowship with the congregation, and more. It is important to mention that our team — which has already been meeting for a couple of months — will grow spiritually as a result of this international mission trip. It is also a blessing that almost every team member has already worked for, contributed to, and/or raised the full amount required for their trip. The Lord has provided, and we are excited to see how the Lord will use our team from the Charleston lowcountry to bless the Italian people of Lecce.

Please pray for our team, and for those to whom we will bring the life-giving Gospel.

“Poiché Iddio ha tanto amato il mondo, che ha dato il suo unigenito Figliuolo, affinché chiunque crede in lui non perisca, ma abbia vita eterna.” — Giovanni 3:16  [John 3:16]

Your Pastor, Servant, & Friend,

Pastor Jon