Hi Five Oakers,
I have FIVE things to share with you today.
#1- I listened to the podcast of Tim's message from three weeks ago. Engaging, biblical and downright meddling. Thank you, Tim.
#2- Great time at our weekly Staff Check-in yesterday. We all shared a highlight from the July 4th week and several people had been at the youth Challenge conference. Amazing stories of lives impacted and changed. Everyone who shared loved the conference--speakers and music--but the most amazing times happened outside the meetings. The workday after the conference was most impacting for some. The time of worship in a church lobby after the conference, led by Justin on a cheap guitar, was so heartfelt it matched worshipping with 6000 students. Baptizing three students in the ocean was one of Tim's highlights. Students who left here doubting God came away with a new, fresh, informed perspective. One staff member was stunned by the freedom she experienced worshipping with the students and the unbelievable vulnerability of the sharing in the small group times.
#3- Speaking of baptism, we'll be doing the river baptism in two weekends at the Hudson bandshell service. I love this yearly outdoor service. It's hot if you're sitting out there, but an umbrella pretty much fixes that. I share a short message and the music is great. Did I tell you my message will be short? But the best part is watching kids, students and adults from our church family get baptized, publicly proclaiming their faith. Bring a meal. Plan to meet up with your small group or some friends to sit and eat after the service. Go down to the beach with the family.
#4 - Here are the comments we received from first-time guests on the cards we send them:
- 6/24 - Didn’t understand the conglomerate style of ideas about worship. Are you Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, or E Free? Are you trying to be all? [I can understand why you might think, but no, we're not trying to be a denomination. We're just trying our best to make everything count in our service. We want every element to have a clear, biblical purpose (all killer, no filler). And we want to help people engage more deeply and personally in worship in response to God's invitation to gather for worship and to his revelation through his Word.]
- Will visit again when we can hear the Senior Pastor. You have a good reputation in the community. That’s why we’re looking around.
#5 - While I was gone on sabbatical the staff did an 80's thing for weekly Staff Check-in. (I forgot to remind them about the "no-fun rule" when I'm gone.) I'll leave you today with some pics from that event. Since many on our staff come from our membership, it might serve as a warning to you. God bless you, Pastor Henry