Prayer walking off campus and into the harvest: John Beauchamp
As a worship leader and former youth ministry leader, John Beauchamp has frequently looked for ways to carry discipling out of the church building and into homes. Over the last year, through prayer and food deliveries, he helped launch a new Field USA outpost to share the gospel with the St. Clair, Michigan community.
A St. Clair resident, John began prayer walking in the city at the Camberwell Apartment complex before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the state. This initial engagement was the crucial start of a new outpost, John says. “That’s what’s opened communication to us and opened our hearts to that community.”
After COVID-19 quarantines prompted John’s church to start food truck distributions, John took a trailer of food to Camberwell and started knocking on doors. “At first people opened their doors this much,” he said, demonstrating a small gap with his hands.
That initial delivery soon grew into two teams for food deliveries in the city of St. Clair, with several volunteers to organize the second team. Those food truck deliveries have since become outposts. “We’re starting to meet with people; salvations are happening just through conversations we’re having. People are now opening their doors wide.”
This new focus from inside the church to outside the church is a move in the right direction, John says. Before the prayer walks and the subsequent outposts, the church body looked for ways to get people to come to the building. “We didn’t really have the tools to reach the lost--we would just paint our walls and hope to attract people in,” he said. “It was a paradigm shift to reach the community.
The St. Clair outpost is part of the church body’s effort to obey the Great Commission and go out to make disciples of Jesus instead of collecting congregational churchgoers. “Instead of transforming people to look like us, we bring people to transformation to look like Christ.”
While the pandemic has temporarily delayed things like larger gatherings and a baptism, it’s opened a door to conversations and relationships, and discipleship is growing. “They’re accepting prayers—asking for prayer before we even ask them. They’re beginning to share their stories with us.”
“Caring relationships have opened up the gospel—we had a project approach before.”
John’s scriptural focus for the outposts right now comes from Isaiah 61: “He’s annointed us to preach the good news to the poor, to the broken, to that gap that is not being cared for,” he says, just as the prophet was annointed to preach good news and bring restoration in Israel. And looking ahead, John’s hope is to see further integration of the workers and the disciples, and multiplication of both: “My future goal for the outpost is partnering with the community.”