Embrace Church: Emporia Kansas

The mission of Dirt Roads Network is to transform rural America by planting and revitalizing life-giving churches in small towns and communities. Pastor Mark Adams is currently panting Embrace Church with Dirt Roads Network. I asked him to share some of his dream and here is what he wrote:

“Embrace Church has been a steady and growing dream, a prayer for a city that came from God alone.  I know it came from God because I would have never knowingly signed up for this.  In our first year of working and meeting people and discipleship, God has moved in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined.  Not because of a small faith or small vision or limiting God, but because God often works in ways that we haven’t dreamed of or even imagined.

Last November, our leadership team met for the first time.  We sat down to plan a time to share with as many people as we could this vision for Emporia.  Our plan was simple.  The vision is not complicated. We believe that God has a specific purpose and mission for each person.  We believe that God desires for each of us to be in community with each other and our communities.  We believe that people need to be reminded of the worth in God.  So, we set out to focus as much energy and effort into embracing four truths that are our core values:

  • We Embrace God

  • We Embrace All People

  • We Embrace Outrageous Generosity

  • We Embrace Missional Living

Through these 4 core values, we have began to pray and seek out ways to work towards the mission God had given us.  We invited anyone into community with us.  We sought out ways to serve our community.  I’d like to share three specific ways that happened.

1)      We came across a need for Emporia.  A local homeless mission had to adjust there workload and end their clothing giveaway.  After being made aware of this need, a group of people who had been in community with us spoke up to meet that need.  Since February, this group has collected an insane amount of clothing and shoes with one goal in mind.  Give it out to whoever may need it.  Since then, we’ve given out more than 600 bags of clothing to people in our area.  At each opportunity, we’ve met incredible people.  A grandmother sacrificing her own coat for her grandchild.  A former convict looking for a pair of dress pants and belt for a job interview.  People who are starting over.  The all come through our door and it is our goal that they know they are loved.

2)      In learning how to obey all the commands of Christ, we asked a question.  “If you had $100 and a few volunteers, what is one thing you would do to make your city better?”  This question sparked some great conversation.  From that, we gathered as a group to mow as many lawns as we could in Emporia.  We met and prayed with a family that was trying to move and hadn’t had time to mow their lawn.  We met with another woman whose son was in prison and she was prioritizing visiting him over yard care.  The idea come from someone in our community.  He organized it, coordinated it, and led it.  God is moving in his life as well.  We are seeing great change as he embraces God’s love for him.

3)      One of the major events in Emporia is called Dirty Kanza.  It is a gravel bicycle race that takes over the city for a weekend.  To exercise those 4 core values, our leadership team decided to set up and hand out free food and cold water on a hot June day to everyone.  Through this, we were able to encourage, pray with, and serve the people of our city.  The relief and thankfulness of people was great encouragement.  Our leadership team led and worked in tremendous ways!

These are only three parts of a very large story.  We are equally as excited about where we are heading.  We believe that our next steps is to start on Sunday mornings what we’ve done on Sunday evenings.  We want to bring more people into missional communities with us.  We are prayerfully seeking the opportunity to invest in parts of Emporia where other people may not have a desire to do so.  As we pray for a location and for people to be added to our number, we believe that God is up to much more than we ever had hoped for.

 You can keep up with everything that is happening with us by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/embraceemporia.  You can keep up with what we are learning together in community by following our blog at embraceks.church/blog.”

If you would like to help Dirt Roads Network sponsor this plant you can send a check to P.O. Box 593 Lamont, KS 66855. You may also give online: https://lamontchurch.churchcenter.com/giving/to/dirt-roads-network

I have also included some pictures of the Embrace Church family. Please be in prayer for Pastor Mark and the entire leadership team.

Steven McVey