May we be Tree Planters
By Kate Berkey - July 5, 2018
Posted in Stories from NMC, Discipleship
My name is Kate Berkey, and I’m a fourth generation NMCer.
I was born on June 26, 1993, to Dave and Jenny Berkey, and a week later, I was at NMC. This place has never been just another church in a town full of churches. It’s been home; it’s been family. My great grandma and grandpa, Bob and Gladys Gongwer, were known as “originals.” They were a part of a core group of NMCers who preceded Pastor Dave. They believed in this church, and they invested hundreds upon thousands of hours into the mission of making fully committed disciples.
Because of their prayers and investment into NMC, my great grandma and grandpa planted trees in my life under whose shade they never sat.
As a kid, I went to Fanning the Flame and Summer Camps. I was a Wednesday night junkie, a Sunday School regular. NMC felt like a second home, one that I rarely grew tired of. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of sitting under incredible teachers like Gloria Moser, Gail Hostetler, Derry Prenkert, Ali Lantz, Kristy Mikel, and so many others who mentored me and helped me encounter the love and life of Jesus.
Because of the truths they taught me, these staff members and volunteers planted trees in my life under whose shade they never sat.
When I was a fifth grader, my family went on our first Global Impact team led by Tom and Terry Richmond. As an eighth grader and freshman, seeds were planted in my heart for the marginalized and oppressed on two other Global Impact teams to Romania. God has only continued to develop this passion, and because of this, I am headed into full-time missions working with refugees on the Thailand/Burma border.
Because of the hours and dedication given by those behind the scenes, every man and woman who made Global Impact teams possible planted trees in my life under whose shade they never sat.
But today, I am no longer just a receiver.
My generation is no long just receivers.
We are carriers of the mission, seers of the vision. We believe in this church, and we have a passion and a desire to chase after the calling God has given NMC.
NMC, we don’t want to sit on the sidelines. We don’t want to take and consume week after week. My generation wants to be part of the group that invests hundreds upon thousands of hours into the mission of making fully committed disciples.
We long to plant trees under whose shade we may never sit.
We see a church that engages the lost and the lonely, the orphan and the widow, the broken and the hurting, locally, regionally, and globally. We will be a church that sees beyond our walls and our people. We will protect, love, and care for our neighbors and the rest of the world, because everyone is made in the image of God. We see a church that invites and welcomes all into the Body of Christ. We will serve our community with our time, talents, and resources. “Selfless” and “sacrificial” will be the words used to describe us. We see a church that is determined to build God’s Kingdom wherever and with whomever He calls us.
We see a church that builds bridges rather than walls over the things that divide us. Unified and one, we won’t shy away from the hard conversations or the things we disagree on. We will fight for rather than against. We know that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.” Reconciliation will be our heart’s desire—reconciliation both in the church and in this world. We will be a people known by our love for one another, a love that seizes opportunities to be peacemakers.
We see a church that unapologetically and uncompromisingly stands on the Word of God. We will be bringers of light in a dark world. Scripture will be our guide, the anchor to which we tether our very lives. The Word will not be the world’s condemnation but rather its hope, and we will share it over and over again. We know that there will come a day when people will hear only what their itching ears want to hear, but we will not be those people.
We see a church that invests in the generations. No one will be too young. No one will be too old. We will believe in our kids and students. We will support our young adults and middle-aged men and women. We will value our senior adults. We will not look down on those who are young, and we will not toss aside those who are old. We will be a church that calls out the best in every generation.
We see a church that dares to follow Jesus even when it is risky or uncomfortable. We recognize that God’s calling won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. We won’t be afraid to look foolish for Him, reckless for Him, or dangerous for Him. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we will embrace whatever the Father asks of us. We see a church that stays on mission, focused on the vision, the Great Commission that Jesus laid out before His disciples.
We see a church that loves Jesus above all else. We will not be swayed by the pressures and pulls of culture. We will do everything for the glory of Jesus and out of our deep love for Him. We will love because He first loved us, and out of the overflow of this love, we will bring healing to a broken world. Undeterred by the voices around us, our hearts and our minds and our very beings will be centered on Jesus.
NMC, your 20 and 30 somethings, your young adults, your millennials see a church filled by the Holy Spirit that is a catalyst for hope and change and life and redemption found only through Jesus.
These are the trees we long to plant.