Engaging our Nations - Mission Trip to Rome 2017
Posted Jun 27, 2017 by Tim Beard in Missions
In late May through early June, a team from Fellowship went to Rome, Italy to share the good news of the gospel. Although Rome is the home of The Vatican, the headquarters of the Catholic Church, it is, in fact, a very secular city. Although many Romans would call themselves Catholic, few have any understanding of the gospel, and most have no spiritual activity in their lives. In a city of 4 to 5 million people, it’s estimated that there are about 15,000 born-again Christians.
It was to this environment that we sent our team of evangelists, musicians, and pray-ers. During our trip, we partnered with three small Evangelical Churches, focusing primarily on outreach. We did this through music concerts as well as simply engaging in spiritual conversations with anyone we would meet.
As with the rest of Europe, there is never a problem finding those who speak English. Engaging a spiritual conversation is as simple as sitting next to someone on a park bench and asking if they speak English. If they answer “a little bit,” that typically means they are fluent. They will soon ask why you are in Rome, and that opens the door to sharing the gospel.
Some of the team had been to Rome before, and for some it was a first-time experience. We brought a small team of musicians and did impromptu as well as scheduled concerts in the parks and the piazzas. We sang “American Gospel” music – the worship music we sing at Fellowship. As the musicians sang and shared their testimonies, the other team members would “work the crowd,” engaging in conversations with those who were listening.
One night, we set up for a formal, advertised concert in the piazza in front of a Rome Baptist Church. Little did we know that, in addition to those who came to listen to our concert, we also became the focal point for the people sitting at the outdoor restaurant. We had lots of great opportunities to share the gospel that night, both individually, as well as through testimonies as part of the concert.
Another highlight of the trip was working with an International Church that is doing a lot to help Nigerian refugees. Our hearts were broken as we heard story after story of their flight from Nigeria to Rome, during which many of them were imprisoned, persecuted, and trafficked. The common thread was that they were “grateful to be in the land of the living” and many wanted to make an impact in Rome for the Lord.
Having returned, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve on this trip. We shared the gospel with many people. We encouraged evangelical church leaders. But the greatest benefit is that we are different. We experienced what it was like to live totally focused on the Great Commission – to make disciples. We realized that we can live the same way here in the US. Our greatest fear is that we return to life as “normal,” making missional living something we do on the side. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful. What we lack are workers for the harvest. May we, at Fellowship, be those workers overseas, as well as in our neighborhoods.
Tim Beard | Ministry Advancement Pastor
770.641.5589 | email