I’m writing to you to share some exciting news and updates about my work with Abide Ministries and our family. I’m so thankful to have such an amazing community of friends and family who have believed in God’s call on my life to serve in a missional capacity in the metro Detroit area. You have truly made such an impact through your consistent support. Because of you, I have had the privilege and honor of partnering together with Mike and Robyn Carnill, Cam Underdown, and the team at Abide Ministries to support our various endeavors with the necessary financial and managerial operations that allow them to beautifully serve the community and help others come to know Jesus. Abide has been incredible, and I personally have grown and learned so much from being a part of this gifted staff team.
For the last four years, together with the Carnills and the Abide staff, Cam and I have helped Abide grow from 8 branches to 25, working to develop its organizational and operational capacity and serve many more people with a calling from God to grow His Kingdom.
However, as exciting as it has been to see Abide flourish as an organization, and as grateful as I have been to be part of its staff, I found myself yearning to be back in the soil with those God was calling into ministry, planting new works with them shoulder to shoulder instead of principally at an operational level. I longed to be out in the field with them, not just mentoring in prayer, evangelism, support raising, and strategy, but also doing it alongside them, one new minister and ministry endeavor at a time. Thankfully, the Carnills and Abide team as a whole have encouraged both Cam and I, along with our families, to begin a new branch within Abide called Zera for this purpose.
Zera exists to cultivate new initiatives in metro Detroit that help people who feel far from God become mature followers of Jesus, with a goal of launching 20 new initiatives producing new followers of Jesus by 2050. Specifically, these initiatives will be designed to help people who do not actively follow Jesus become Christ followers, baptizing them with the purpose of going to make disciples of others, who will in turn do the same. The word Zera is the Hebrew word for seed, which is important to describe this work for two reasons. First, we believe it is our call to work with one leader and one team at a time for one year to seed their effort well, so it yields a rich harvest from its humble beginnings. This includes prayer, coaching, encouragement, and financial support to the ministry we are helping to start that year. Second, the biological definition of maturity is being able to reproduce, and a seed is the evidence that something is mature. We will know our efforts have been successful when someone who has started following Jesus at the influence of these initiatives begins to help others follow Jesus as well. Josh and I, along with the Underdowns, are thrilled about the road ahead of us. We have multiple candidates we are ready to invite into our application process for summer 2023, and each presents a beautiful possibility for new kingdom workers and a rich harvest!
We at Abide all believe this one-at-a-time, high-accountability, hands-on ministry building approach is best served by functioning as its own ministry within the Abide network. That’s why we are asking if you continue to support us as we venture forward, you do one simple thing: click this link and send this email to Abide stating you want all current and future donations to go to Zera. If you give by check, simply change the memo to say Zera, and all your funds will continue to support us as we move forward.
Let me close with this: after stepping down from my position of leading the high school ministry at Kensington Church for almost 10 years, I could never have envisioned the life I have now, nor the rich and loving network of relationships God’s kingdom has yielded. Whatever tears we have sown in the difficult moments along the way, we have reaped in joy at the richness of the harvest we have seen as God’s Kingdom grows. I have grown exponentially in my faith in what God can do with a simple “yes” when he calls us to something, and that is something I want to share with others in a deep, personal way. For example, consider Ring True, a handmade goods business that exists to provide dignified employment to survivors of human trafficking. With Abide’s help, what began as a small project to keep me busy during the Covid lockdown has turned into a local and global initiative to positively impact the lives of survivors in their journey toward hope and healing. The faith and leadership of many people, my sister Shannon being one, have been activated as a result, and we have even seen some of our network come to Christ, be baptized, and begin a new journey with Jesus as a result. I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and gained into the work of planting new initiatives in the future.
In whatever way God sees fit to bring about this work, and through whichever of my strengths He will call on to accomplish this goal- it is our hope that for the next 25 years we get to make it our work to invest deeply in people and ministries who will share the love of Christ with others in unique and authentic ways.
It is a gift to be part of the work of God in the lives of others, and it is with your prayer and financial support that you have activated God’s work in so many people so far in this journey with Abide.
I pray this letter finds you well, and we hope to connect with you soon! If you want to schedule any time to talk or meet to catch up or ask questions, go to www.calendly.com/zeraminstries. I would love to meet with you!
Amanda and Josh Kozlowski