Pam and I thoroughly enjoyed leading a tour in Cyprus this year. It was my fifth consecutive year visiting the island nation, each time with a slightly different purpose. This time our primary reason was leading a tour of Cyprus, the Gateways community, and visiting the Gateways Training School. The tour was wonderfully successful, just ask the Wellspringers who joined us.
I also know there are questions about what Cyprus is and what my and Wellspring’s involvement consists of. Let me share some information and perspective.
When we speak of Cyprus we are not only referring to the island country in the far northeast corner of the Mediterranean. We are primarily talking about the Gateways Beyond International community that has made their home in the remote mountains of the tiny country.
Gateways is a relationally based ministry/community of believers from America and Europe with a passion for worship, intercession, the nations, and Israel in particular. Central to their community is a discipleship school – a five month immersion experience including outreach that runs from January to May. For the fourth year in a row, Wellspring has students attending the school.
Wellspring’s connection to Gateways began when we met Jeff Collins. Jeff serves as one of the senior leaders of the Gateways Beyond orginazation, although it is not his main ministry. Most of us have also met many of the other staff members, as they have come to Wellspring either with Jeff or at other times. Among them are Matthew and Serah Rudolph, who oversee Gateways ministry around the world and live at the base in Cyprus.
Personally, I have connected with the school as a teacher, speaker, resident pastor, and mentor to both students and staff. This year in addition to leading the Wellspring tour, I was the guest speaker at their Resurrection Weekend service. Pam and I also spent a significant amount of time meeting with students and with most of the leaders. It is an intense sacrificial life to staff the school, and Pam and I are privileged to be a support and an encouragement to many of them.
We are grateful to have an opportunity to build a bridge between Gateways and Wellspring. Of course we have students attending the school and we have Gateways staff coming to speak at Wellspring, however I believe the strongest aspect of the bridge is relational. It is our joy to walk with this diverse part of the greater body of Christ. We are blessed by their international perspective and their messianic roots. Equally, they express joy, appreciation, and blessing coming from Wellspring. As the body of Christ joins together, we make room for deeper and richer moves of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
We call our ministry to Uganda “the Uganda Bridge.” It is a healthy and strong link that benefits both KCC and Pastor Arnold as well as Wellspring. I’m grateful that we quickly found the Lord building another bridge, this time to Gateways and Cyprus.
It would be easy to spend all of our time and attention inside the four walls of Wellspring, especially during these challenging years. However, I am grateful for our kingdom mindset. Whether that’s across town at Mount Pleasant or across the world, it’s a big kingdom and Wellspring needs to be a part of it.
We just finished our first week of Family Promise, where we hosted some transitionally homeless families in our church building and helped them to get back on their feet. This summer we already have trips planned to Uganda, Guatemala, and South Dakota. Whether it’s leading men’s retreats, couples’ retreats, international trips, or worship times like The Well at our house, it’s my passion to encourage our active faith in expressions of worship and service.
One aspect of Wellspring is that we are a church and a ministry where we can come for community, help, health, and personal growth. The Lord blesses us richly when we do. Another aspect of Wellspring is we are part of the larger body of Christ, making room for His kingdom to come and His will to be done in a world desperate for a savior. May the Lord continue blessing us so that we may see the fruit of Wellspring’s impact.