Sunday Night December 10th the heard some great things. If you weren’t able to be there then we want to share these thoughts and strategies with you so that you can celebrate with us what God has done in our midst in 2017 and what we anticipate he will do in 2018
Things to rejoice over
- Though we are in a small drought in the fall of this year our church has enjoyed a season in which 6 out of the last 7 years we have seen 20 + baptisms in those years. This year we have seen around 28 people profess faith in Christ and we should rejoice over every single one of those. We have been faithful in sharing the gospel and God has been faithful in drawing people to himself.
- Living Hope is enjoying a time of amazing spiritual love and unity. We see our church loving each other in extravagant ways and we rejoice for the Christ-like love and unity we see in our Church right now. When people are hurting our church responds. When there is a death in the family, our church shows love to the family. Our church has a great spirit of love that only the Holy Spirit could bring about.
- We have a seen a great consistency on Sunday morning giving and attendance. This time last year we saw a drastic drop off of attendance. We were running a little over 200 in October and November to down under 160 through December, January and February. Right now, it looks like we are holding strong and maybe even gaining ground going into the new year. Our people have also been faithful in giving. Since 2014 we have seen an increase of 17% or so in tithes in offerings over the last 4 years! Our God is good.
We also have a several areas in which we can grow
- We see a need for more community outreach ministries. We want the gospel to be pushing out into our community in a powerful way.
- We want to see our people doing community more. We want them fellowshipping and living life together.
- We don’t want to turn our visitors into members we want to turn them into family! We want them to feel like this church, the people, are their family. We want them to be cared for in the same manner in which our current members have been.
Here is the big question. How will we do this? How will we simultaneously be able to see community outreach and better church care and love?
in 2018 we want to launch community groups. We will be talking about them over the weeks to come but we want to give you a short summary about what these groups will be.
- When: during the week. There will not be one night these will meet but it will more depend on what is most convenient for the leaders of the group and the members of the groups.
- Where: In people’s homes. This is for two reasons. Lost people will more normally come to a home to enjoy fellowship than they will come to a mid-week church service. two, want these to be places where people share in the struggles of life with each other.
- TIME: The biggest issue we have is that people are busy. We recognize this so we want to create some space in the church schedule in order to make sure we are not just adding one more thing to the slate of our people. We want them to be able to do family well and do church well. So we will be reforming Wed. nights to look significantly different than it has in the past.
- nights will become an outreach and practice night. We will have a group that will meet and pray for the gospel proclamation and then will go out and knock on doors, visit shut-ins, visit members who haven’t attended in a while, and visit visitors from Sunday morning etc.
- We will also have choir practice and praise band practice on Wed. Nights as well.
- Our Children’s and Youth programs will move from Wed. Night to Sunday night. We hope that this will expand the number of children and youth that are able to attend these programs as well as give us an immediate connection with visitors that come on Sunday mornings.
- WHAT WILL THEY LOOK LIKE: these groups will look like our church. We want our church to catch the vision that these groups should be multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socio-economic. We can’t force this to happen, but we want to encourage that by making these groups to be geographically based. We want to encourage people to go to the community group that is nearest to their home, so it will truly be reflective of their community. This is not mandatory but is a suggestion.
- WHAT WILL THEY DO:
- Fellowship – They will share life together. This is one place we want people to work out the “one-another” of scripture. (love one another, bear up with one another, encourage one another etc..). We want every single member of our church to know and be known by people in their church.
- Apply the word – We want our people not only to know and learn about the bible but to apply what they learn and encourage them to do so throughout the week. We believe that reminding them about what was preached on Sunday and encourage them/giving them pointed application will give a reminder during the week to live out their faith where they work and where they live.
- Share their Struggles – Part of fellowship is that people, as they do life together, will struggle. Life is hard and we want people to share life together and encourage each other through difficult times.
- Mission – We want our Community groups to look at 2 things for missions.
- Invite – This will not be an every week thing but inviting friends will be a powerful witness to the power of the gospel to change lives. As people are invited in they will be able to see real people, struggling to live real lives in conformity to the word of God.
- Community Missions – We want our groups to regularly think of ways they can do things for their local community that will open doors to spreading the gospel. That might be providing a meal and fellowship at the local drug and alcohol rehab center, feeding homeless men and women at the salvation army, or providing a service to a local elementary or high school. Whatever would position our people to show the community we care and preach the gospel to them.
Lastly, we want our people to pray about these groups and the changes. They are big, significant, and substantial changes to how we “do church.” But we are convinced that they will be
AND THAT THEY WILL WORK! FOR THE GLORY OF OUR LORD!