Barbecue, served with a side of 17 baptisms, touched the lives of 87 people in Fargo, North Dakota at a Mission Fargo event. Mission Fargo is a new faith community in Fargo, North Dakota.
Jesus. Life. Mission.
Pastor Jason Mehring, who is the leader of the new church plant, says it is all about Jesus, life, and mission. “You have got to know Jesus. Once you do, it is life giving. Each day you need to decide to do something with that life, be in mission, not just go to church.”
Mission Fargo currently engages in small groups, mission or service projects, and outreach events throughout community. Some outreach activities include: a barbeque with baptisms, ax throwing, go-cart racing, escape room party, and flower planting party. An event is held each month.
“God is constantly popping up.”
Mehring, who moved to Fargo in January, with his wife and three children, says, “God is constantly popping up.” As part of moving into a new house, Mehring went to purchase a new sofa. Getting the sofa from the store to the house was challenging. “I was standing outside, in Fargo, in January, in the Costco parking lot. There was no way that I was going to be able to load that couch into my vehicle and get it to my house,” says Mehring.
A woman in the parking lot was observing Jason’s struggle. She stepped forward and so did another person with a truck. “They loaded the couch and delivered it to my house. Two strangers, we had no connection,” says Mehring. The woman, who works for the Cass County Sheriff’s Department in Horace, North Dakota, is now connected to Mission Fargo through that delivery.
The first mission event for Mission Fargo, and Pastor Jason’s pay back for the sofa delivery, was making blankets for children, who for various reasons end-up at the Sheriff’s office. A blanket provides warmth and comfort in an anxious situation for the child. “We made 32 blankets, all because God brought us together randomly,” said Pastor Jason.
Mission Fargo is planning a doll-making mission project. The goal is to make 30-40 dolls that will assist people in memory care units. The doll is a unique tool that allows an individual with memory problems to talk about and take care of something they feel comfortable and safe around.
“We try to be attentive to people’s needs and what the Spirit is calling us to do,” says Pastor Jason. “People like to be involved in the mission projects. They have a deep desire to be connected with each other and be part or something that is not necessarily going to church.”
“A deep desire to be connected.”
Once people show up, Mission Fargo tries to connect them deeper through a small group experience. Three small groups are currently going strong—a men’s group, a women’s group, and a couples group. The groups meet in various homes or locations such as a park or coffee shop.
The weekly men’s group is reading the book, Circle Maker, and having a discussion. The women’s group is discussing and reading, Girl, Stop Apologizing. The couples group is watching messages from Embrace Church and holding a weekly discussion. “We are developing our identity, core leadership, and making deep connections through our small groups. The more people we know, the easier the connection to God,” says Mehring.
The efforts to launch Mission Fargo have been supported by the Dakotas Conference and a team of key stakeholders. Rev. Ben Ingebretson, director of new church development for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, has been a tremendous support. Other key support people are: Rev. Randy Cross, district superintendent for the Northeast District of the Dakotas Conference, and coach Rev. Josh Meyers, pastor of North Summit UMC in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“God just keeps showing up.”
God just keeps showing up. In the next few months, Mission Fargo would like to find a spot where weekly worship can take place. Already there are been offers of potential spaces. Mehring learned about some resources and supplies for a worship center that were available in Rapid City, South Dakota, an eight-hour journey, 600 miles from Fargo. One of the members of a small group, who trains people to drive semi-trucks, offered to drive a semi and pick up the supplies. The only charge to Mission Fargo was the gas.
“It is so good to see God at work.”
The DNA of Mission Fargo is to act, engage, and model the organization like a nonprofit agency for God. “It is not about finding a church building, or building a physical building. In fact, we purposely avoid use of the term church,” says Mehring. ”It is about connecting people to Jesus and the mission. People keep connecting and investing their resources in our mission. It is so good to see God at work.”