Missio Dei is full of unique people who are focused on God's Kingdom and live in such a way that reflects His love, grace and justice. Nate Watkins is just one of those people who we have been blessed to have in our congregation. His humble service, insight and goofy personality have been refreshing to many in our congregation for several years. Nate recently moved to Richmond, VA to pursue a new career, but before he left, he shared some words of wisdom with the church. We wanted to share his thoughts with you again as an encouragement and reminder of our core mission to make disciples in Asheville and beyond for the glory of God.
"My story of Missio Dei is simple. It is here that, after college, I learned what it is to be a Christian in the “real world” and especially what it is to be a man of Christ. These lessons I will hold deeply and have an abundance of gratitude for.
I’m learning to find my identity in Christ because, first and foremost, Jesus is our Savior and the security we have as believers.
I’m learning to live in community because our burdens only multiply and our victories don’t seem to be as great when we keep them to ourselves. We need to learn from one another and pour into one another so that we have the energy and strength for the next lesson I've learned.
I’m learning to go and spread the word. Frankly, I won’t miss the people of this church as much as I will the friends I have in other circles of my Asheville life. If not sooner, I’ll at least see you in heaven as we worship our King. I can’t be sure the same is true for my unbelieving friends and it pains me to think that I didn't take the times I had to speak truth and love to my friends while I was in Asheville. Thankfully, God is grace and the power of prayer is not handicapped by distance. My hope is that this lesson is one that impacts my actions greatly in Richmond. And I hope that you are taking opportunities to talk to your friends and not finding out that it is too late.
During my last major transition, from college to the real world, I struggled with loneliness and sought friendship from everyone in the church. To a certain extent, that is what a church is for, but I took it to the extreme. I lived within a bubble and forgot to pursue others outside of the church. My plan for Richmond is this: find a church and get involved with a community group. I’m not planning on trying to befriend the whole church, but rather get to know my community specifically. They can encourage me and strengthen me as I spend most of my time befriending non-believers. If I go and live in a Christian bubble how can I say that I am living how Jesus intended us believers to live?
I love Missio Dei and my hope is that when I come to visit I find a church that clings to Christ even more so than it does now. I hope to find a church that cares for itself because the individuals serve one another and the church. But I am afraid that there may be an apathy growing within the church. Will I come back and see a church whose children’s ministry perished because we assumed someone else would teach the children? It only takes 10 minutes on a Saturday to read the upcoming lesson, and showing up a half hour early one Sunday a month to prepare the lesson. The kids do not care if you are an awful teacher, I can vouch for that. Riley just wants a snack. If you really do feel that uncomfortable with kids then there are other ways to serve. Do not let apathy ruin this church. Join the hospitality team or take the time to learn how to run the slides. If you don’t then the few that do serve this church are going to get burned out and quit. Where would you get your coffee, weekly, or communion? What slides would you sing from? Do not let apathy ruin this church. If you've been coming here for less than a month you get a pass for now, but for those that have been coming for awhile pick up a connect card now and fill it out to serve somehow instead of thinking, “I’ll do it later,” because you won’t. Do not let apathy ruin this church. If you have been serving, thank you for doing what you do.
I will miss this church but I leave knowing you have the potential to be part of the body as a whole to revolutionize this city for the glory of our Lord and Savior and it is the lessons from this church that give me hope that I can be part of the same revolution in Richmond."
We hope you find these words challenging and encouraging as you live missionally in Asheville and beyond!