by on May 14, 2024

Have you ever considered how God could use your experiences, desires, and prayers to further His Kingdom? Before becoming the Pastor of Global Ministries at Calvary Church, David Harrop and his wife, Mary, served as Global Partners in various parts of the world. For a time, they served at an international church in Germany, where about half of those in attendance were under the age of eighteen. This experience began to inform how David and Mary prayed for God to use the next generation of the Church to reach a lost and broken world.

Naturally, when David joined the Calvary Church staff, he and Mary had a desire to engage with young adults. By summer of 2022, they began to attend Converge, a group of those ages 18-25 who meet on Sunday mornings to study and discuss Scripture and fellowship together.

During this time, there were a handful of young adults who were about to age out of Converge but were unsure where they should go next. They approached David and asked, “If we wanted to start a new Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF), would you lead it?” Initially, David declined. But, instead of giving up, this group of young adults began to pray. Specifically, they were asking the Lord to raise up an intergenerational, globally-minded ABF.

After a few months, David decided to reconsider. He agreed to lead a new ABF on the condition that it was truly intergenerational, and that there would be others on the teaching team. This set into motion conversations with Calvary Church leadership for what would eventually become the Compass ABF.

As these conversations were happening, the group of young adults continued not only to pray, but they began to act. They knew that, if they wanted this to succeed in making their idea a reality, they needed to partner with God as they took next steps. So, they began personally asking individuals of all ages if they would be interested in being a part of Compass. By early 2023, over 100 people had said, “Yes!” and, by the fall, they began meeting together during the 11:00am service on Sunday mornings.

One of the young adults who had been praying for God to bring about this new ABF was Liz Franz, who is now on the Compass leadership team. In reflecting on the fruition of Compass, she said, “Instead of feeling like Compass is a group that we accomplished of our own works, it’s very clearly a gift from God in His timing. I am so thankful to find out that His answer was actually ‘wait,’ not ‘no.’” In their waiting, God very clearly answered their prayers.

“The wisdom of the more ‘seasoned saints,’ and the insights and enthusiasm of the younger ones, catalyzes growth as we all bring ourselves under the ministry of the Word and prayer.”

“It’s what you hope it would be,” says David. “Something about ‘intergenerational’ is working in this class.” The class is even made up of several teachers, including David, who range in age from their 20s to their 70s. On any given Sunday, you’ll find young adults sitting in groups with empty nesters, retirees befriending new parents, and people being intentional to learn from those in different generations and walks of life. According to Mike and Mary O’Connor, who jumped into Compass as rather new members to Calvary, “The wisdom of the more ‘seasoned saints,’ and the insights and enthusiasm of the younger ones, catalyzes growth as we all bring ourselves under the ministry of the Word and prayer.” In just six months, the people of Compass have found a mutual desire for community and outreach. “There seems to be a spirit of expectancy in Compass – God is working, and we expect beneficial change in our own walk with God and as we pray for others,” the O’Connors add.

As far as the original prayer for this community to be globally-minded, David quips, “If I did a cooking class it would probably have a global focus!” But it seems that many who have become involved in Compass have truly been drawn together by a heart for God’s world. Jewell and Richard Brenneman, who joined Compass after connecting with David and Mary, said, “We have had [the Harrops] in our home for a meal and time of fellowship. This was a deep, heart-connecting time, and we share their vision and passion for lost souls here and abroad. Knowing that this new class was going to be multi-generational confirmed this was where God wanted us.”

Mike Shaw, who serves on the teaching team for Compass, reflects, “I am ecstatic about the way our group identity has grown and how we are beginning to feel and interact as a family. The group is large and truly a testimony to several generations thriving together, loving each other, and finding ways to care for one another regardless of the differences in age, spiritual maturity, current lot in life, and so many of the other things we typically let separate us.” He shared that many are beginning to gather outside of Sunday mornings for prayer meetings, men’s and women’s events, and more. What was once a specific prayer for a new ABF has become a thriving, intergenerational community of Christ-followers, seeking to spur one another on in love and good deeds.

“I’m sure we’ll have our ups and downs,” Shaw notes, “but a solid foundation is being laid that can support whatever we will walk through together. This is a healthy environment thanks to the presence of our Lord Jesus.”