When I first heard of Mission Catalyst, I was a little skeptical. I had heard only the initial horror stories of a group of people who decided to leave the ranks of the Adventist Church to do another form of ministry within the context of the Three Angels’ Messages. From what people told me, it was either heresy or, as one teacher so bluntly put it, “treason”. This only sparked my interest to check further and see what could be so inherently wrong with carrying the same powerful message within a nondenominational context.
So I went to Vancouver, Washington, to check out the pilot project of Mission Catalyst: Epikos Church. In my skepticism and inquiry, I took several people with me: first, for my spiritual protection if I needed it; second, for my companions to see what all the fuss was about and to see whether this ministry was legit or not.
I remember what Jesus told his beloved friends, His disciples: “You will know them by their fruit.” I saw a bunch of fruit that was riper than a Coloma peach and twice as tasty as a tart Traverse City cherry. If it wasn’t the director of the organization giving me his personal vehicle to use while I visited, it was the stories of the others within Mission Catalyst who risked everything they had, including their credentials and reputations, to follow the Lamb wherever He was calling them to go.After all was said and done, I met a group of people who were so sold out for the movement of Jesus, they were willing to do anything short of sin to reach the next person and equip the already converted. I never once heard anyone bad mouth the denomination. If anything, I heard the exact opposite of what I was receiving from various sources, and that was startling to me.
Once I became familiar with the organizational structure that prioritized self-determining, staff-led churches, I saw a freedom that I had not experienced since my days as a new Christian in Hawaii, where I first tasted the beauty of the Movement in these last days. I saw a structure that promotes a selfless mentality in which the mission to reach the lost for Christ is central and organic growth is inevitable. With that mission, given to us years ago by Jesus, He used one of the most powerful verbs ever created: GO!
I saw a place that provided freedom for a person of any background or affiliation to GO on mission for Jesus and reach people within the realm of his own personal giftedness. I could think only of when I could start and what I could sacrifice to make this a reality in my own life.
So after I graduated seminary at Andrews University in December 2012, my wife and I, our two children, and our dog made the cross-country trek from northern Virginia to Redding, California, with just a 6×12 trailer. With no guarantee of salary, benefits, or accolades, the Williams family decided to try something ridiculous for Jesus.
And we are happy to report that, in just seven months of living in Redding, we are engaging in a frontline ministry that we had previously only dreamed of. Our team at Epikos- Redding is seeing many lives transformed by the love and power of Jesus.
The only questions I would ask you are these. First, if you knew that you wouldn’t have the security of salary, benefits, and success, would you try something humanly irrational for Jesus? Second, can you handle the freedom?
It’s true that there are times when it’s downright terrifying, not knowing whether the church will grow or where that next dollar will come from. But here’s what I can tell you from what I have experienced here, more than any other time in my years of ministry: If you GO in faith for Jesus, not only will He take care of you completely, He will provide for you abundantly.
My challenge to you is this: Don’t sacrifice the fire inside for the idols of security and success. Our God does not know how to fail. Be encouraged to live boldly and sometimes irrationally for Him when He calls you to do so. Be awesome while we build His kingdom here, and have your heart set on fire in these last days.
Peace to you, Brothers and Sisters, as we actively wait for the master Jesus’s imminent return.
Seth and Jackie Williams serve on the Pivotal Design team at Epikos Church in Redding. Follow them on Facebook (“Epikos Redding”) and at epikosredding.com.
J. Seth Williams
P.S. Mission Catalyst is able to do what they do because of people like you. It’s easy to give online. Every donation we receive before the end of the year is doubled! Thank you for your financial support that helps Mission Catalyst start healthy, unselfish, growing churches!