At community events in Augusta, Maine, the green shirts of Kennebec Community Church draw attention, exactly the reaction Dan and Amanda Coleman want.
“When someone sees the green shirt, they know it is us,” said Amanda. “They see us out there loving on people and taking our mission seriously.”
In their role as North American Mission Board church-planting catalysts, the Colemans have helped their congregation grow from 70 members to more than 900 by establishing a presence in the community and consistently showing up to meet needs. People sometimes refer to Kennebec as “the church who is always doing free stuff for kids,” but the result of that outreach is a thriving ministry to families with children and teens.
Reaching the lost in Maine is not an easy task. In national surveys, Maine consistently ranks as one of the least religious states in the United States. Few people in the state grew up attending church and most have no knowledge of the gospel or Jesus, Amanda said. In Augusta, that sad statistic is changing one family at a time.
“We reach out to a broad spectrum of people, and our congregation includes homeless people as well as doctors and lawyers,” Amanda said. “But we do focus on young families in our outreach because we are a young family.”
One of the particular challenges in Maine is skepticism. People don’t believe you care about them until they see you in action, Amanda said. That’s why the church shows up for big events like the annual Fourth of July parade but teaches an emphasis on developing personal relationships that demonstrate the love of Christ.
Kyle* and Jamie* experienced that love, and it changed their lives. When the couple’s business was going under, Kyle grew very depressed and was hospitalized. At that low point, Jamie shared their struggles with a friend who attended Kennebec and heard words of hope and spiritual encouragement. When Kyle got out of the hospital, Jamie told him they were going to church. Both became believers and were baptized.
“Through our community loving on this couple and explaining their need for Christ, they both totally understood,” Amanda said. “He went from giving up his life for the world to losing his life and gaining eternity.”
Because so many come to Kennebec Community Church with no knowledge of the Bible, small groups known as “community groups” are a key part of the church’s discipleship efforts. Within these small groups, believers and seekers alike spend time praying, reading Scripture, and asking questions.
“Community groups are where we really get people connected,” Amanda said. “If they have a need, a joy, or a celebration, community group is there for them.”
Last year, Paul* and Vanessa* began attending the Coleman’s community group at the invitation of a friend. Both got saved, but Paul resisted baptism. After an in-depth discussion with Dan, Paul ultimately chose to be baptized, as did his wife and his two oldest children.
“This was a family struggling in their marriage, struggling with their kids, and now Christ is definitely the center of their relationship. You can see the change,” Amanda said.
Pray God will raise up more leaders at Kennebec Community Church to fill staffing needs so the church can continue to reach families in the Augusta area. Pray also for discernment in using a gift of land the church received in 2016. Finally, pray the Colemans and their three children will be refreshed and reminded of the eternal significance of their ministry at Kennebec Community Church.
|Children:||Girls in Action / GA|
|Royal Ambassadors / RA|
|Children in Action / CA|
|Youth on Mission|
|Women on Mission|
|Adults on Mission|
|Missions Plan Book|
|Free Starter Packs|