Saturday, November 5, 2011
One Year Later
Tomorrow is a great day of celebration for Harvest Spring Lake - it is our one year anniversary as a church. One year. We're barely older than my granddaughters.
And what a year it's been...
Two weeks prior to our "grand opening," our launch team held a baptismal service at our pool. The team was up to about 75 people, children included, and as family and friends gathered to witness the baptisms, our hearts were lifted to our Savior as several of our team stepped into the pool to declare publicly Jesus as Lord. I'll never forget the sound of our team cheering at each baptism and singing praise to the Lord when it was finished. It was a great night - one filled with praise and anticipation of what the Lord would do with Harvest Spring Lake.
The next Sunday we had a "soft launch." This was a practice run. Because we knew our facility would not be ready for use for several months, we purchased what I fondly named "Church-in-a-box." We had a trailer, filled with large carpeted boxes on wheels that were filled with everything from coffee makers to nursery supplies to sound equipment - everything we would need to be a portable church. The set-up crew had met several times in one of the warehouses at International Aid to practice unloading and loading the boxes, and the week before the grand opening was a dry run.
I think what was supposed to take an hour and a half took like twenty minutes! We had so much help and such great enthusiasm that in no time we were sipping coffee, waiting for our service to begin. After the soft launch service, we broke everything down and headed over to International Aid for lunch together.
Our grand opening was truly a day of celebration. Friends and family came to support and encourage us, and along with them the Burlock family came up from Chicago to lead us in worship. What a day it was! You couldn't wipe the smile off of our faces...but that was just the start.
Week after week the set up team arrived early and stayed late. The staff was preaching up a storm, the children's workers were teaching their hearts out, my house was filling up with women on Tuesday mornings and the congregation was beginning to grow. One of the things we had prayed for as a launch team was that God would bring the hurting to hear the good news. We agreed to roll up our sleeves and come alongside and walk with them to show them Jesus. And God answered our prayers.
Today, God has brought to our family mature believers who have fought the good fight for decades - these are the pillars of strength that give our body depth and security. He's also brought struggling but growing believers who soak up the Word and quickly apply it to their lives - these are a joy to walk with because of their hunger and thirst for the Word. He has also brought to us the hurting and the lost, looking for a different path to walk on - these are an honor to share Jesus with. And He's brought us some hard hearted souls - these are challenges but as long as they keep returning they will hear truth.
Tomorrow our church will install four more men into the elder role of leadership. Up until now, David has been our only local elder, along with two men from Harvest Fellowship. For a year, these other four men have been serving this new body, establishing their leadership and love for the church. Dave has enjoyed his weekly conversations with the Chicago elders, but has eagerly looked forward to the day when our body is led by a team of godly, responsible servants. Tomorrow is that day.
I wish I could tell you all that has happened in the past year, but blogs are not meant to be novels. But I can tell you this - every Saturday night I can hardly get to sleep because of my excitement of being with the body on Sunday, and every Sunday when I walk out of church, my heart is soaring with praise. For a whole year. Really. Yes, I used 100% words and I did it on purpose. I am amazed at what the Lord is doing in me, let alone in Spring Lake.
Thank you, Father, for our first year. May you be glorified and lifted high in all that we say and do. Protect our body from dissension and strife. Strengthen our elders with your Spirit and wisdom. Fill our minds with understanding and our hands with compassion and obedience. Bless our pastors with clear teaching and lives that example their love for Jesus. Let us not lose sight that we are Your people and are called to be a light in a dark world. Thank you for establishing Your church through us and may we faithfully continue to serve, all for Your glory.
And it's only through Jesus' precious blood that we can come before Your throne of grace, Amen.