Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
We are into the final phase of our launch process. Or perhaps it’s better to think of it as the first phase of the rest of our life at The Living Well! Either way, we are eagerly looking forward to our Grand Opening Celebration on October 7. We continue to be, “a group of people who find real life in Jesus Christ, celebrate that life in community, and share the life with everyone around us.” God is with us—just as he promised he would always be. We see evidence of His presence everywhere…the “signs” are all around us!
“All the SIGNS are there!”
As we complete the work of building improvement and renovation, one of the most visible things you notice are all of the new signs, identifying The Living Well and reminding ourselves and everyone else that this is a place where we “share the life.” While those may be the first “signs” you see around us, they certainly aren’t the only “signs.” God’s signs are all around us—in the transformed hearts of the launch team; in the relationships with people being brought closer to Christ; in continued spiritual and financial health; and in the affirmation of our partner churches, Classis and denomination.
Over the past seven months, and throughout the launch process, we have been pointing toward some mile makers. These are signs to show us where we are, and to point us toward the destination.
Phase 3 Goals
- Ministry Teams highly functioning / dreaming big dreams
- Launch continues to grow spiritually, missionally, numerically
- 20-160 Adults connected to the church by September 30
- 500-600 effective “touches” in the community
- Building work completed on time and under budget
- Part-time staff and volunteer leaders identified and in place
- Life groups formed and meeting
- Keep the momentum heading in the right direction
We praise God that He’s brought us pretty much where we thought we should be at this point in our journey! We just hired our first part-time staff person, Rachel Bell, who is directing our Living Well Kids ministry; other ministry teams are functioning and dreaming well; we are growing in every way, connecting visitors and friends and touching the community around us; the building is nearly completed; momentum is strong; and we are continuing to press into developing a process for discipleship & assimilation through Life Groups.
“Sharing the Life”
Of course, the most important signs point to all of the people God has called us to love and serve. We are called to “share the life” with each other and with the world around us.
Sharing life with each other on the launch team continues to be uplifting, life-giving and mutually challenging. The writer of Hebrews instructs us to continually “spur each other on,” and “encourage one another,” as we see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:24-25). I am so thankful that this is exactly what we see our launch team doing. We are continuing to grow in our faith and in our heart for the people around us.
On August 22 we hosted our first ever “Family Fun Carnival.” We wanted to do more than get people to come to our church, we wanted to help them consider the goodness of God by showing them the joy and life of Chris–to share both the gospel, and our lives with them (1 Thes. 2:8). The event was a great “sign” for the community around us that the Spirit of God is here!
We continue to seek out and build relationships as we head down the stretch toward our Grand Opening on Oct. 7. Along the way we will be offering four Sneak Preview services and inviting those new friends to check it out. At our most recent Sneak Preview we held two services! We anticipate that our space will be filled quickly and we want to be prepared for what God is going to do among us. We welcomed 28 first-time visitors and 13 returning guests at those two services. More importantly we celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit among us—the Gift that overflows out of us like rivers of Living Water to bring life and healing to everything it touches (John 7:37-39).
“The Road Ahead”
We are encouraged that all the signs are pointing to God, and God is good! And we are excited to look down the road to what lies ahead. We will be continuing to press into community outreach—participating in a local arts festival and parade in Otsego on Sept. 22, sponsoring a Fall Fun Party at a nearby apartment complex Sept. 27, and canvassing our neighborhoods on Sept. 29 leading up to the Oct. 7 Grand Opening.
You are in our thoughts and prayers as well! We welcome your emails, letters, and visits, and we treasure your friendships. May the peace of Christ be with you as we all live into the reality of His kingdom and the hope of resurrection!
Our Rose family life has also been busy and blessed lately. On Sept. 4 our son Andrew and his wife Claire gave us our fifth beautiful grandchild, Jesse Roger (notice the Living Well outfits on baby and big sister Elena!) Our oldest son Matt and his family (Katharine, Ezra, Simon, Judah) are leaving Zeeland, MI and exploring new ministry opportunities in Grand Rapids. And our daughter Mary moved to Kalamazoo and is living with us as she finishes her MSW program. On top of that, Heidi has begun working at a new hospital and I have signed up for church planting classes! Lots of things are going on, and lots of things are changing, but our God remains faithful and steadfast!
So please continue to pray for us and for what the Holy Spirit is doing in us and through us at The Living Well. And please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as well! We welcome your emails, letters, and visits, and we treasure your friendships. May the peace of Christ be with you as we all live into the reality of His kingdom and the hope of resurrection!
Pastor Philip & Heidi Rose