The Catch Ministry was launched in 2012 by five early members of the Vanguard who led the way for us into a new idea — a new form of worship — a cyber-church. Recognizing congregations all over the world were going to outgrow current facilities, they purchased “acreage” in cyber space. Many wondered why they would purchase property way out here.
No one is wondering now.
We write to encourage you that your belief in this cyber-church is causing the Catch Ministry to advance its proclamation of the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to Everyone, Everywhere, and, especially now, during this worldwide pandemic.
For instance, Sunday night’s Church at the Catch is witnessing the most interaction we’ve ever had involving many who otherwise would have attended a home church but couldn’t because services were canceled to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.
Up until last March, our services were primarily attended by those who feel disenfranchised from their local churches for all sorts reasons. Underlying those reasons is the perceived message that one’s acceptance as an individual is conditional.
One member of the Catch Ministry put it this way, “I felt as if I was always walking on eggshells, fearful that someone would discover aspects of my past or rope me into a discussion of politics. If my views differed from theirs, or if my past was discovered, I could be rejected. Fortunately, the Catch Ministry means it when they talk about the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.” Yes we do!
We are experiencing online what the late Ray Stedman referenced as “Body Life.”
The church is a living organism. In the physical body, the hand moves when the brain says to. So too, the members of Jesus’ spiritual body take direction from Him as our Head. Jesus gives each member gifts and talents, making Himself alive within His church. He equips His people to love one another, and to serve in unity His kingdom. This is Body Life. (Ray Stedman, 1960)
Our daily Catch, designed for believers and unbelievers alike, is already in place, and the number of believers are on the rise as the witness of God’s people is used of the Spirit to bring unbelievers to a neutral and unthreatening place where the word of God can draw them powerfully to the saving faith in Christ. There is never any apology for teaching the straight, pure word of God, and it is doing its work. The body is teeming with new life and exuberant new believers. And although we continue to serve, teach, and provide for our 20,251 Boots on the Ground in 143 countries, and a forceful interactive prayer ministry, and support our people through one-on-one counseling, this is nonetheless a team ministry with spontaneous participation from you, a member of the body of Christ.
Notice that this is not a head count — it’s a heart count. We are adhering to Ephesians 4:11-12, where our job is to equip you, the saints within the body, to carry out the work of the ministry in your own circle.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for work of the ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
The goal of Ephesians 4 is a growing maturity along with a commitment to serving. It is the foundation that we ask you to pray with us will always continue to flourish as the members of the body respond to the faithful teaching of the word of truth.
Little did any of us suspect the complicated current events for which the Spirit was equipping us. The principle of caring for believers in teaching Biblical truth, preparing them to reach beyond themselves to a needy world, is God’s way of preparing us for the radical changes that are taking place in our culture, which opens up the wonderful opportunity to combine the teaching of the Word with the sharing of life experiences. This marks the inception of the Catch Ministry’s “body life,” occurring first at the Church at the Catch and Wednesday night’s Zoom Bible Study, and soon in many other arenas within the Catch including Music that Matters and Johnny’s Cafe.
Once we truly understand and appreciate what Jesus Christ has done for us, it is impossible to keep it a secret! The wonderful story of new life in Christ absolutely shouts within us, demanding to be shared with others who struggle with guilt, despair, shame, and hostility. Whenever we see another hurting human being, we know we have an opportunity for coming alongside.
Together, let’s give thanks to the early Vanguard who led the way for us into a new idea — a new form of worship. — a cyber-church. Be encouraged that your belief in this new idea is causing the Catch Ministry to advance its proclamation of the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to Everyone, Everywhere as a cyber-church, ready for challenges of any kind including, yes, even pandemics.
Buying real estate in cyberspace and building a cyber-church? I promise you — no one is scratching their head now.
May we call you to gather up your commitment and your heart for the ministry and give a significant gift to the Catch Ministry at this critical time? Our Vanguards have already come in with over $8,000. Now it’s up to all who can give to help us reach our goal. Some because of income loss may not be able to take part but that only means that others of you may be able to give more. Our list of donors for this campaign is growing. Please allow us to add your name to the list by clicking on the contribution button above.