Fall is here. Bet you knew that when you saw all those school buses!
Last weekend between our Sunday Services we had our annual (and brief) fall Congregational Meeting. (If you didn’t get a copy of the written reports that were handed out, please pick yours up at the Welcome Center this coming weekend.) I shared in written and verbal form several key things that are critical to our continued growth as a church family.
Our main goal and theme this year has been to engage everyone in a “Love Revolution.” We have been working hard “to train and deploy Christians into existing relational networks in order to be intentional, missional chaplains through revolutionary love.”
We have done this by:
· Concentrating our weekend themes around the themes of love, mercy, and compassion and encouraging our people to move out into their immediate and surrounding communities in ever increasing waves of loving service.
· Changing the metrics of success (report card) to measure success in the church by not just how many ‘gather’ to worship on the weekend (which is great!), but how many ‘scatter’ to serve during the week.
· Highlighting testimonies of how ordinary people are doing extraordinary things for God.
· Reaching out to people of all ‘nations, tribes, and tongues’, as well as the least of these and extending love to our immediate church neighbors as we labor for our neighbor.
And the best part is that we still have 4 months left to love boldly, serve faithfully, and walk humbly with our God!
I also shared that we must continue to do 5 things as a church:
1. We must provide maximum space at optimal times. We started a new Saturday service almost a year ago to help with this, (we are planning on having a 1 year birthday party after service on September 11th to celebrate!), but we now see that Sunday space is growing smaller again! If any of you currently attending on Sundays are willing to switch to the 5 pm Saturday service, now would be a perfect time! Our new parking lot (they have started already – have you seen it?) will also help greatly with our crowded parking lot on Sunday. Speaking of parking, besides building an additional lot, you will also notice that we sealed/resurfaced the main lot this week too. Materials/ supplies for this were generously donated by a local company.
2. We must realize increased volunteerism in order to serve a larger church. We just celebrated a Volunteer Summit several weeks back and it was incredible to see the difference those volunteers are making. More are serving at Whitewater Crossing, but we still need every person, in every seat, to engage themselves in an area of service that not only matches their gifts, passion, and ability but also fulfills the ministry needs our growing church has each weekend. Many are serving which is good, but many are sitting, which is bad. Our highest and most critical needs of opportunity to serve are in our Children/Youth areas. We currently have an urgent need for people to commit to these serving opportunities for one year:
4 Nursery Volunteers
2 Preschool Leaders
2 Elementary Leaders
2-year old teachers (1 at 9am & 1 at 10:45am)
1, 3-year old teacher (1 at 9am)
2 Teachers & 2 Assistant Teachers for the kindergarten and 1st & 2nd Grade Class at 9am
3 Small Elementary Group Leaders (10:45am)
Anita Green and Terry Nelson (new Directors of Middle/High School ministry) are actively seeking youth coaches for Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights as well. Come on Church!! Let’s jump in to ensure our next generation at Whitewater is the best equipped it can be! Your help is needed. (Email Becky or Terri Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. Email Anita or Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com to answer this urgent call).
3. We must guide more people into small groups and classes in order to get them connected. As our church grows larger, it must also grow intentionally smaller so that people don’t get lost in the crowd. Our upcoming Ephesians 8 week small group campaign is a perfect way to remedy this. Signs-ups continue this coming weekend at the tables in the Worship Center. Don’t miss this – especially if you are not yet connected in a group or class.
4. We must continue to be flexible as we adjust and adapt to rapid growth in the same building where 600 people gathered just 2 years ago. We continue to sail through unchartered water as a church community, and continual adjustments are the norm. We are ‘building the plane while we’re flying it,’ which requires some skill and flexibility!
5. We must resist the temptation to play it safe. We must keep risking and dreaming as a church body. I believe that we have only touched the surface of our full redemptive potential to be a fully functioning, Acts 2 community of Faith. We find that when the church is working right, you risk to do what’s possible and then watch God do the impossible. This past year as a church family we have discovered this is true, for we are engaged in doing something that cannot be done by our power. It’s been about Him, for Him, through Him, and by Him!
Along with my core responsibilities of preaching and leading the staff, these 5 things are the items I will continue to pay attention to for another year of exciting ministry at Whitewater. The elders and I continually work at identifying (and eliminating) any barriers that would impede us spiritually, physically, financially, and organizationally. This fall we have invited a church growth consultant, Len Moisan from The Covenant Group, to partner with us to discover and discuss what the next 3-5 years looks like for us. I can’t wait to see!
I have had the joy of serving as your Senior Minister for the last 8 years. It has been hard work, but I can say that it has been one of the greatest experiences of my professional and personal life. Thank you for your trust and encouragement. I get up every day, thanking God for the chance to do ministry with you and praying that I won’t mess it up!!
On a final note (and personal one), I want to thank my wife Donna for allowing me to do what I do here. (I am gone way too much and she is way too gracious and patient.) I shared at the meeting last Sunday that although I love you very much, I will not sacrifice my marriage, family, or health for my ministry. I can’t, or I will wind up losing both, so I ask for your prayers for continued protection, balance, and wisdom as the church here continues to grow. I don’t want to crash and burn. I want to stick around long enough to see where this deal goes!