Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday @ West Side

I am absolutely in love with what is going on in our church right now. Sunday at West Side was truly a great blessing. The introduction to moving to two service went incredibly smooth (Maybe too smooth leaving Marty asking what kind of monkey wrench will soon creep up). We still have have issues that need to be worked out, but all in all everything flowed very well. I want to send out a thank you to all who made it possible. It was because of you that this was a huge success. I am thrilled to see what will take place next week.

By going to two service we are now able to really push the idea that all West Side Christians are asked to worship an hour, study an hour, and serve and hour at the very least each and every week. Now on Sunday morning you can serve during one of the services and still worship at the other service. If you are not serving now, please begin praying about ways you can serve in the near future!

We also kicked off our new sermon series … “Taking Truth Next Door” … answering the question “how do I love and lead my neighbors to Christ?” On Sunday we learned how to inherit eternal life, the response was loving God and loving people. In doing so we also learned from Jesus that our neighbors are not just the people next door. Our neighbors cross every cultural, ethnic, racial, economic, and gender boundary that may exist. Our neighbors are anyone we encounter. Taking Truth Next Door Graphic Cropped

I am excited about the future of West Side. Please continue to pray that this congregation continues to live out our mission of loving and leading people to a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. God has many great things in store for us if we continue to follow his lead.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lessons From a Church Builder

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you ever feel like you are inadequate as a minister, leader, parent, spouse? To say I wasn’t feeling that way right now would be a total lie. We are in the process of adding a second service here at West Side and there is a lot needing to be discussed to make that happen. With all that has to be done, I feel like I am in over my head and no where near prepared for this. And then in one of my email thread there is a personal comment at the end.
During a time of change like this you never know what a personal comment might entail. I recently received one that was an attack on me. Those are never fun to read. But today’s wasn’t that way. Today’s was encouraging, uplifting, and really needed. The comment basically said we are very blessed to have you, what you are doing is great, please know I am there to talk, and we are excited about watching you grow. If I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed that might go straight to my head. But in the middle of what we are experiencing that was exactly what I needed to hear.
It is amazing how God sends messages right when you need it. Yesterday I had a discussion that left me asking … “Why am I doing this?” The note I received a few weeks ago did the same things. An email I received almost a year ago really beat me down. It took me weeks to even share it with my wife. But every time God sends someone to me right when I need it. He did this for me in my first ministry so many times. There were times where I just wanted to give up. There were times when I wanted to walk away. There were times when I wanted to leave school and just mow grass. But God would send people with just the right words. I am so thankful for that. If it wasn’t for those words, I don’t know if I would continue to do this.
God sent someone several months ago. During a ministers meeting we invited a minister whose church had went from overly traditional to completely contemporary. He shared in his talk about how horrible the first six or eight years were. But he stuck through it. He had broad shoulders. He took the beatings. And now, God is richly blessing his ministry and their church. Oddly enough, those were words of encouragement.
In the email I received today, the last line really struck me. The more I have read it the more talking points I see in it. I will only share one today, and possibly others in the future. She said … “God has given West Side the awesome responsibility of seeing you grow and mature into the amazing minister you will be.” I am young. I could take that multiple ways. But I acknowledge and hope I always do and that I haven’t arrived yet. That I do have a lot of growing and maturing left in me. It is my prayer that I am always teachable. It is my prayer that I am always growing. It is my prayer that I am open to God’s guiding and leading in my life. If not, then I need to walk away, hang it up, and not bear the broad shoulders needed for this job.
Photo Courtesy of andres.thor's

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Weekend at West Side

West Side experienced a wonderful resurrection weekend. On Saturday morning we hosted a Easter Egg hunt for toddlers through 6th graders. We had a really wonderful turnout and all 1,300 eggs put out seemed to be found.

Easter Egg Hunt Panarama

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. We had a wonderful service with 170 people filling our sanctuary and a total attendance of 211. Church growth experts say that a growing church can take their Easter attendance and project what they will be averaging in three years. This give us a real good target to push for and move towards.

Things have been really busy around West Side. We are gearing up for some big changes in the next couple of weeks. I am really excited for the launch of two services as well as the kick off of our new sermon series “Taking Truth Next Door.” This is an exciting time in the history of West Side and something you do not want to miss.Taking Truth Next Door Graphic 2 with date