What’s Next? Glad You Asked.
Now that we’ve moved gathering spaces to make room for growth, celebrated our first birthday as a newly forming church, remembered Good Friday/Easter, and held our largest gathering ever on 4/15, what’s next? It has been a great season together, hasn’t it? Many of you, particularly our deacons, community leads, and ministry volunteers, are well deserving of a break to refresh and recoup. If you can, take some time to do just that. Thank you for your selfless service to this fledgling flock of Jesus-followers in the city. He has only just begun his work in, among and through us. You might be asking, “What’s next?” Glad you asked.
Here’s a snapshot:
Summer is near and that means every Seattleite comes out of their cave to enjoy our beautiful city under the sun. We want to leverage this summer to develop our communities, engage our not-yet-believing neighbors and enjoy our city. While many churches experience a decline during the summer, we grew last summer. So, we don’t know what to expect. We’re currently working on plans to serve our city, enjoy some good ‘ol fashioned barbecue lakeside, get out of the city for an all-church campout, and celebrate our next round of baptisms at Myrtle Edwards. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply below if you’d like to help. It is going to be a great summer.
Sacrificing & Serving
Now that we have our first year down and our new gathering space secured, it can be easy to feel that we’ve “arrived”. The truth is, in one way or another, we will always be planting this church. You need to know that we’re in a critical season. 80% of church plants fail within the first three years and 65% fail within the first seven. Seattle – not to mention urban Seattle – is very hard ground. The odds are against us, but Jesus is for us and that means we win. What does that mean for you? It means that we all should have a posture of sacrifice and service for the good of one another and the good of this city, just as Jesus has for us. We need everyone to be sacrificing time, treasure and talents. We’re a family and, like any family, we need all hands on deck. Our resources are few, our needs are great, but He is sufficient. Let’s ask him for even more fruit in this next season. Again, thank you to all who this is already true of.
Living Everyday (this Spring/Summer) with Gospel Intentionality
To be a follower of Jesus means to know and grow in relationship with him. God has given us particular means of grace to serve as gasoline on the fires of faith in our soul; such as Bible reading, relational prayer, memorization and meditation, fasting, community, serving, and more. These don’t earn favor with God, but they help us to more deeply experience the favor we already possess by nature of our relationship with him, in Christ. As we go into this new season, it may be helpful to reevaluate your current practice of the means of grace. What needs to change? What should you stop doing? What should you start doing? What did you set out to do on January 1st that you need to revisit? Additionally, whether you’re a reader or not, I encourage everyone to always have at least one book that they’re working on that was written to facilitate a deeper knowledge and understanding of Jesus, the gospel and the cross. Check out our recommended reading list here.
New Sermon Series
We’ll be wrapping up our 10 month study of the book of Acts in early July. We’ve taken ample time in Acts in order to examine how the early Christian church was formed and managed to spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. The parallels to our season of life are clear. I hope you’re getting as much out of it as I have. We’re not done yet! Following Acts, we’ll walk through an eight week series that will serve as the content for our new membership process. (more below) We will then start a brand new series in the fall, which I’m still working on.
The Bible refers to the church, among many other things, as members of the family of God and members of the body of Christ. In other words, to be in Christ is to be deeply, vitally, organically connected to the bride of Christ, the church (i.e. people). Historically and traditionally that relationship has been described as membership. This is vastly different than a AAA or Costco membership. We align ourselves with AAA or Costco in order to receive. But, we align ourselves with a local church in order to give. To be a member is to indicate that we belong to this particular local expression of Jesus’ people and all that carries with it. All that said, our hope is to have our first round of a membership process in place by the end of the summer. More details to follow.
Clearly, there is a lot happening and much to thank Jesus for. He has been exceedingly gracious and generous to us. Please do keep all of this in your prayers. There is much work to be done, sun to be enjoyed and life to be lived this summer. I look forward to sharing it with you and watching Jesus do his work of saving and sanctifying. Thanks for allowing me to be your pastor. It is a privilege for which I thank Jesus daily. Let’s ask Him to do what only He can this summer.