Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An End of the Year GLIMPSE at GRACE!

Another calendar year is coming to an end and I continue to be humbled and awed by what God is choosing to do through his church here at Grace. Let me just give you a quick glimpse into a few areas that cause me to be more convinced than ever that the local church is the hope of the world because it is the church that has been given the only message that can change someone’s life and eternity. Yes, my friend, it is true…there is nothing like the local church when the local church is working right:

ATTENDANCE: This has been a banner year for our church when it comes to Sunday morning attendance. Our growth was taking us very near that 80% seating capacity mark which caused us to take a step of faith last October and start a third Sunday morning service. Boy, has God blessed that step. Since we started our third service, Sunday morning attendance has jumped nearly 20% as we have averaged right around 1500 each Sunday. In fact, that 11:30 service has now surpassed the 8:30 service as the second largest in attendance and it is the one that is growing the most and seeing the most guests in attendance. I believe we have filled a niche in this later service that just isn’t happening in our area. I have been amazed at the number of people who have told me that they didn’t use to go to church because they couldn’t get out of bed in time on Sunday mornings, but now that there is a later alternative on Sunday, they can sleep in on Sunday and still come to church.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH: Do you realize that on a typical Sunday morning we have around 600 in our nursery through 12th grade programs? 600! In fact, 22% of our Sunday morning attendance is 6th grade or under! The future is bright here at Grace!

GIVING: The economy in our country has taken a hit and continues to digress which has resulted in many churches struggling to make ends meet financially. Yet, the faithfulness of God’s people here at Grace continues to astonish me. Through the first 22 weeks of our new fiscal year (July through November) our general fund giving is up 14% over the same time period one year ago. Thank you for being faithful in your support of Grace!

SMALL GROUPS: Our goal and vision of seeing Grace Church become a church of small groups is well under way. This past year God brought Pastor Steve and his family to us and he is doing a magnificent job in taking us in this critical direction. Over 20 pilot groups are currently taking place which is allowing Steve to fine tune a strategy that will set us up for a big push this fall towards small groups. The stories I am hearing of the church being the church and ministering to each other through groups is one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced as a Senior Pastor.

MINISTRY STAFF: The strength of our church is in the ministry staff God has assembled here to serve Him. My dream and goal when I started here as Senior Pastor four years ago was to build a dream team of ministry staff. With the team we have in place, the sky is the limit in how we can be used by God as a church to MEET as may people as possible where they are and help MOVE them to where He wants them to be.

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