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In his classic book Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper says, “Worship is the goal and the fuel of missions: Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” Ashland Grace’s Missions Pastor, Dan Jackson, couldn’t agree more. When he thinks of missions he thinks of worship. In his mind the two are so intrinsically linked that it’s hard to separate them.
Dan spent nine years in Germany planting churches, then moved to Pennsylvania and eventually to Ohio, where he has served as Ashland Grace Church’s missions pastor since 2015. At the Access Conference in 2021, while meditating on Acts chapter 13, he thought, “The early church sent out missionaries in the context of prayer and worship, shouldn’t we do the same?” Then he had an idea: why not devote one night a year as a worship night with the sole purpose of creating an environment where the Holy Spirit could freely set apart and send new disciple-makers?
The 2022 event at Ashland Grace had around 70 in attendance. Staff and volunteers spent months preparing. There was singing, prayer, and an inspirational message from God’s Word delivered by one of Encompass’s global staff. An Encompass mobilizer attended and encouraged the group while representing Encompass’s work among the least-reached.
The Ashland church’s 2023 event took place in February, and included a special message from Jason Carmean, Encompass missionary to Cameroon. Worship was led by Jason’s daughter, Micaela Carmean. Stateside missionaries were there, and video testimonies from some currently on the field were shared. Lay people from the church and Mike McKeever, also an Encompass mobilizer, are now following up with attendees. Everyone was challenged to serve the Lord in some capacity—locally, nationally, or internationally.
Ashland Grace Church currently partners with 13 missionary family units, and eight of them are with Encompass World Partners. Though their missions budget has remained at the same level over the last couple of years, the number of supported missionary family units has increased by three since Dan started.
Would you pray that Ashland Grace would see the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of their attendees and call them to take Jesus to those who don’t know Him?