Serving Churches that Serve the Community: Mission 98

Mission 98 partners with churches to share the compassion and good news of Jesus with people in motels, mobile home communities, and apartment communities in the Lakewood-Denver metro area.  One of the reasons I was excited to join the team at Mission 98 is a conversation I had with LuAnn Turner, Mission 98’s Founder and now-retired Executive Director. “Mission 98 is here to serve churches,” she told me. It took me a minute to digest that statement but the significance of it quickly sank in.  Mission 98 is a para-church ministry. As a former Lead Pastor, I was familiar with para-church ministries—often very good ministries—who approached me looking for volunteers or financial support. I get it. They were doing good ministry, and they needed volunteers and funding to keep doing it. 

But here was LuAnn turning that expectation on its head. Mission 98 doesn’t partner with churches so that churches can contribute to their ministry. They partner with churches to help them flourish in their ministry. So they
approach church leaders not asking for volunteers and funding—but asking how they are doing and how Mission 98 can support their ministry. Mission 98’s ministry is grounded in relationships, and that includes the churches that they partner with. 

There are two general ways they partner with churches. If a pastor wants to encourage his or her people to serve beyond the walls of the church and see how God is at work in the community, they can provide opportunities for people to serve and catch a vision for ministry in the community. As they serve in ministries such as kids clubs, teen nights, community meals, clothing ministry and special holiday events, they will get a taste of sharing the love and gospel of Jesus in relationships and there’s a good chance they will get hooked! They will get to know, love, and respect people who are different from them and that, too, will enlarge their vision of how God is at work in the world. They will also learn some simple but effective ways of caring for neighbors and sharing the gospel that can translate to many different ministry settings. People who serve with Mission 98 will raise the temperature of their church’s mission and outreach.

The second way Mission 98 partners with churches is when a church wants to reach out to people in a specific motel, mobile home park or apartment community. Mission 98 loves this because they believe God calls every church to reach out to love their neighbors and share the good news of Jesus. They think the best way they can help a church succeed in this ministry is in an ongoing equipping relationship. Mission 98 can share some vision, strategies, and lessons-learned from years of reaching out to people in apartments, mobile homes, and motels. They’ll invite that church to come and visit the ministries to help them develop their own vision. Fundamentally, they believe in the local church and we are more interested in seeing ministry multiply in local churches than they are in building up the ministry of Mission 98.

For more info about Mission 98: contact Fred Elliot-Hart or visit Mission 98’s website.

Mission 98 is a key partner in reducing suffering in Lakewood! 

Mission 98 partners with churches to share the compassion of Jesus with people in motels, mobile homes, and apartment communities in Lakewood through connecting residents with programs, resources, and relationships that transform their lives in positive ways. For years Mission 98 has linked churches to neighbors in need in April a group of fathers and their High School senior sons visited and Lakewood Connects, Reg Cox put them to work delivering furniture to a grandmother in Section 8 housing who was raising her 3 grandchildren. During the pandemic the needs of the most fragile community members increased dramatically. Thousands of people who never needed support found themselves without work, short on rent, out of food and struggling with transportation issues they have never experienced before. Elementary aged students in this mix suffered the most and the video here gives a glimpse into the connecting and partnership building role Lakewood Connects takes to link Mission 98 to churches in our city. Collaboration reduces suffering and when we lower suffering, everyone in our community wins! 

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