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“The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”
A Collective Mission

Learn what makes Arlington great, and what is standing in the way of people in the city truly connecting with God’s Word in this interview with Dr. Roy Peterson, president of American Bible Society, and Erich Ramsey from Engage Arlington.

Roy

Erich, tell me a little about yourself and your ministry in Arlington. 

Erich

Tracey, my wife, and I have five children. Arlington has been our hometown for most of our lives. I had a career as an attorney and entrepreneur for thirty-five years here. We love Arlington. Years ago, Tracey and I were called to host churches, nonprofits, and evangelical groups to give them the opportunity to commune with the Lord, fellowship, and find renewal. One of the groups comprised Arlington pastors who felt God was calling them to collaborate together to address specific needs in the city. Another group was American Bible Society. A movement called Engage Arlington has been birthed from the combined efforts of these pastors and American Bible Society.

Roy

What exciting things have you seen God do in Arlington lately? 

Erich

Probably the most exciting is that over the last few years, God has been knitting together a spirit of collaboration between the churches in Arlington. Churches are now serving together in many mighty ways. Likeminded churches are now working together with a common goal of sharing the love of Christ and his Gospel with all of their neighbors in Arlington. God is definitely on the move! 

“Jesus longs to transform Arlington from the inside out. As church communities draw closer to God through his Word, their passion for sharing his love with others will grow.”

American Bible Society President Roy Peterson

Roy

What common struggles do you see Arlingtonians facing? 

Erich

As the forty-eighth largest city in the United States and the seventh largest city in Texas, Arlington and its citizens face many of the same struggles as the other large cities in the United States and Texas. In varying degrees, a few of the common struggles in Arlington are addictions, at-risk students, child abuse, debt, elder care, families and marriages, foster care and adoption, health and death, homelessness, hunger, poverty, and racial bias. 

Roy

What do you think churches in Arlington can prayerfully pursue to help brothers and sisters facing those struggles? 

Erich

Jesus went through all the towns teaching, proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom and healing. When Jesus saw the people, he had compassion on them. Jesus saw each of them! The churches in Arlington can ask Jesus to help them see each person in Arlington through his eyes, with his heart of compassion. Jesus invites churches in Arlington into the ministry of seeing. As the eyes and hearts of God’s people in Arlington are opened, they can meet the needs of the hurting—both through the Church and in their individual spheres of influence. This is Jesus working through his Church!

“Jesus looked straight at them and answered, ‘This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible.’ ”

Matthew 19:26

Roy

What’s the biggest barrier churches in Arlington face when it comes to actually enacting that vision? 

Erich

In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus said, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.” As the Church in Arlington sees more clearly, the need for workers to be the hands and feet of Jesus will be huge. Workers are needed to meet needs, develop relationships, and ultimately share the good news of the Gospel with the harvest the Lord will bring. The Church in Arlington asks the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest fields of Arlington. 

Roy

What’s a Bible verse that gives you hope for the mission ahead? 

Erich

The verse I look to is Matthew 19:26. It says, “Jesus looked straight at them and answered, ‘This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible.’ ” 

Roy

Thank you, Erich. I know the heavy burdens church leaders carry for their communities—and I know firsthand the amazing, redemptive power of God. Praying for you and those around you in your ministry. I hope there is some small way American Bible Society can help remove some of the barriers to ministry that leaders like you are facing. Grateful to serve alongside you, friend.