Over the last several weeks there is a thought that has flooded my mind every time I think about this congregation – a sweet Spirit. I see it in your faces; I hear it in your conversations; and I sense it when we are together. As a spiritual leader, I can promote something like this, but the power comes from a higher source. I have hugged more people, seen more tears, and had more meaningful conversations with people than the years before. It isn’t anything I am doing, but what the Triune God is doing in each of us. There is a song we used to sing in my home congregation that sums it up.
Sweet, Sweet Spirit by Doris Akers
Then comes the chorus:
If you were not able to attend last night you missed several good reports of what is happening and changes that will be made in the coming weeks. One of the things I love about our elders is the ability to listen and try to figure out the best direction to lead the church. We are fortunate to have men who gladly tell you they don’t have it all figured out, yet seeking. Here are a few of the things we talked about last night.
Care Groups: We will have one Care Group luncheon a month (except for December and January). These are divided up into 5 groups, which means you will have only 2 lunches a year. They will also be on the first Sunday of the month. Your group will meet for lunch in the Coffee Shop. Bring enough food that would feed your family – plus one. The “plus one” is in anticipation of visitors. We want to invite those from our community to join us. It is also a great time for you to invite someone you know that day. The purpose is to connect with each other who are connected with the Messiah. Growing and sharing in each others lives. Care Group 1 will meet this Sunday. The groups are set up by last names. Here is the list with its leaders.
McGee Group (A-C)
King Group (D-H)
Moore Group (I-M)
Paladin Group (N-R)
Wild Group (S-Z)
Small Groups: The name of these groups are based on something suggested by one of you – Get Your People (GYP). We have tried different ways to do small groups in the past and this time we are counting on you. Who are the people you connect with? That connection could be based on a number of things – you like to sing; you have the same hobbies; you are going through the same things in life; you love nature; etc., etc. Whoever decides to take a group please get with the elders so they can know who have found a group and those who may still be waiting to find one for themselves. There is no set curriculum but the elders and ministers are willing to help anyone who needs help. A lot of it depends on your group. Some may simply decide to take a book of the Bible and read a chapter and talk about it. Some may take a few passages, meditate on it and pray. Some may want to use their time to share with the group, especially if they deal with struggles, pray and seek guidance together. One group may enjoy singing and use their time in this way. This is why we want everyone to Get Your People. If you have any questions or you need help let us know. This has real potential.
Sunday Nights: On the first Sunday night of the month we will all meet together. The other times will be small groups (GYP). We will be doing Circle-Up Singing, a special program (i.e., 9-11 or Conversation on Race), Christian movie night, etc. Regardless, each month we will celebrate birthdays and enjoy some of the great desserts we normally enjoy. Please let us know if you have any suggestions.
Which reminds me we will have our Circle-Up Singing and birthday celebrations this Sunday night at 5:30 pm.
Time Change: Beginning November 6th, our times of service will change to 9:00 am Bible Classes and 10:00 am worship. The reasoning is to find better ways to connect with our visitors. We had great success when we were doing our Coffee with the Preacher. It gave guests an opportunity to meet some of us and talk in a more casual setting. At that time we had worship first and then Bible Classes. It was ideal because the Bible Class time was too early for lunch so many would stay for the Coffee with the Preacher. Then we switched worship and Bible Class. Several of you liked it better that way and personally I enjoyed being in a class. Unfortunately visitors headed out. We sort of lost our way. By moving the times we should have more opportunities to connect with those who join us. One thing I want to try is to invite our guests to join me for coffee and questions and answers. This is not a time for the body to air grievances but for visitors to ask questions about the lesson, life, or “religion.” I’m not sure how it will go yet, but I am anxious to find out. The elders chose November 6th for a reason – daylight savings time. On that day we set our clocks back, which means you still gain a half hour. So don’t think about it as getting up earlier but getting up a half hour later. Make sense?
Future Elders and Deacons: The elders announced last night they are taking nominations for additional elders and deacons. First, pray about it. Secondly, talk to the person you would like to nominate to find out if there is an interests. Next, submit those names to the elders or ministers. Finally, pray about it.
Last night our new youth minister showed us pictures of the new youth room. I can attest how much Jason and Suzanne, with some parent help, worked on getting this done. The kids are excited and they made the entire upstairs Lynn Center inviting (which is a huge area). Jason is already connecting with young people on various levels. The future is bright.
Some of you may have noticed the new benches in front of the Coffee Shop. Jay Dean sweated out a few gallons of water taking down the old bench and putting together the new ones. This has become a popular spot again. We appreciate everything people do around this place.
Let me end this very long report with a thought about our walk with God. Set your focus on the narrow road. Realize this path has so much potential for growth and maturity. It is a place we discover the rhythm or pace of the Creator. No matter how far you have come there is always greater markers ahead. A more intense prayer life, a greater understanding of the Triune God, a focus that supersedes all the pains and struggles of this life, a goal that gives us hope and peace. I haven’t discovered it all, but I am further down the track. More importantly I thirst for the markers ahead. It is exciting. Inhaling the breath of a Holy God and exhaling a holy life. Step out today and find this rhythm. I promise it will change everything about your life.