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Sending the Church to the Church in Joplin

“Our church in Oregon wanted to serve with the church in Missouri. If my biological brothers or sisters were in desperate need, I would step in no matter the cost, right?”

May 22, 2011 – An EF-5 tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri. Acts 29 planter Steev Inge and Mystery Church of Joplin created Mission Joplin to help rebuild the community. Less than two months later the world has moved on, but a beautiful thing has also emerged: churches are not only sending dollars, but people to serve and relieve Joplin’s devastated and homeless residents.


Who is serving in Joplin right now now? Church members from an Acts 29 church in Lebanon, Oregon. Patrick Bowler, church planter of Valley Life Church answered a few questions for us today.

Acts 29: I heard you’re leaving soon to serve with Mission Joplin. Who all is going?

Patrick: Actually, our team landed this morning and arrived in Joplin just moments ago. I am not on the trip myself (I wish I was)… Our church sent a team of 12 to serve for a long weekend (10 flew and 2 drove to pull a trailer of gear).


Acts 29: What brought on your church sending a team? Why not just send a check?

Patrick: It all began with Pastor Steev Inge’s short video that I shared with our church – desiring to raise funds to support what Mystery was doing in the relief efforts. We took up a collection and did initially send a check. But apparently, that wasn’t enough.

Acts 29: What happened after that?

Patrick: A young man in our church (Corey) approached me asking for contact information; he was interested in heading out there to help. It exploded from there. There were others that expressed an interest to go. So, we decided to go for it. We decided to make an appeal to the church. We knew that in order for this to happen, our church was going to need to step up in a way it hadn’t before. I told the church that we needed some to go and the rest to send. (I originally was on the list to go, but made to decision along the way to step back and let others lead. Though I am disappointed to not be there with them, it has proven fruitful).

Acts 29: How did you put the trip together? Did you raise funds in your church?

A couple of guys (Corey and Dan) really stepped up and they are doing a great job orchestrating the whole trip. From budgets to heavy equipment rentals to pursuing donations to travel arrangements to team preparation, they took care of it. I am proud of them. I am proud of our church as well.

Our church has never mobilized to this degree. Valley Life is a generous church; they have always responded well to opportunities to give. But this is the first time we have responded by going too. This time it is different. We commissioned the team this last Sunday and sent them off this morning.

The interesting thing is, for those who couldn’t go, the experience in giving is even different. We feel more connected to what is going on down there because both our money and our loved ones are there.

I am reminded of the book of Acts and how the Macedonian church took up a collection to serve the church in Jerusalem (For “…the relief of the saints…” 2 Cor. 8:4). That demonstration of solidarity is exciting to me and to go was an opportunity to experience it.

Our church in Oregon wanted to serve with the church in Missouri. If my biological brothers or sisters were in desperate need, I would step in no matter the cost, right? In the household of faith, it should be no different. In Romans 16, the Apostle Paul has some encouraging things to say about specific people he had met and worked with during his travels. It too is a great demonstration of the solidarity between Paul and the various churches. By sending a team along with our financial support, it feels like we could write a similar closing to a letter one day. I am encouraged. Jesus is teaching us while we are serving them (in whatever capacity; whether going or sending). 


2 Corinthians 8:3-5 – For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us…


Watch Steev’s video on Facebook

steev inge devastation

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Over the last ten years, Acts 29 has emerged from a small band of brothers to almost 300 churches in the United States and networks of churches in multiple countries. Scott Thomas serves as president and director of the network, which focuses on the gospel and advancing the mission of Jesus through obediently planting church-planting churches. Founders and contributors to the Acts 29 movement include Mars Hill teaching pastor Mark Driscoll and lead pastor of The Village Church Matt Chandler.