And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. (Ezra 3:11)
Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
It is with great joy and gratitude to our gracious God that I can announce our official Grand Opening! Much work has been done to get to this point. The foundation has been laid—foundations of prayer and commitment, foundations of community and share vision, foundations of teams and facilities and finances. With those pieces in place, we came together on October 7 to wave the green flag, celebrating the end of our launch phase and the beginning of our journey forward as The Living Well Church. Glory be to God!
“A VERY GRAND OPENING”
We began this new phase with two Sunday morning services on October 7, anticipating that our worship area (we call it the “Living Room”) would not accommodate the size of a single gathering. We were thrilled to worship with 237 friends—old and new—singing praises, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and “sharing the life” together. For the next several weeks, we will be considering our core values with a series called, “What Does That Even Mean??”
In our community, we often encounter a “ho-hum” or outright skeptical attitude about the church. It’s not so much about believing in God or the claims of Jesus, it’s a nagging doubt about whether the church can deliver on its promises. Is the church a place we can really find belonging, celebration, transformation, devotion, and purpose? Those are our values, our prayers, our promises. It’s our “good news” in Jesus Christ!
So we continue to press into new connections and spiritual conversations to help people understand this good news. We are called to “share the life” we have found in Jesus Christ, and the world around us is ready to consider the truth and hope of this gospel. They don’t want to accept the unacceptable; they are eager to believe the unbelievable. Just last week I had a delivery man come into my office and ask me about death and judgment, and I was able to help him think about the possibility of life and freedom with Jesus. The world is ready to believe!
Even as we celebrate the launch of weekly services where people can come to “find real life,” we remain committed to the idea that church isn’t just about creating a place for people to come in; it’s about God re- creating a people willing to go out. We’re committed to Jesus’ command to love God and love our neighbors.
We have taken our show on the road with that in mind, throwing a wonderful picnic at the Ravine Apartments down the road, handing out water and painting little faces at the Otsego Creative Arts Festival, and even commissioning and sending one of our couples to participate in hurricane relief efforts in North Carolina.
Of course, all of this “church stuff” takes time, energy and organization. We are blessed with a great group of volunteer leaders and emerging leaders at TLW. Every week they prepare worship and they make coffee; they disciple children and mow the lawn, they lead prayer gatherings and they clean toilets. And whatever they do, they “do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). We have begun the process of hiring a staff to oversee certain areas of ministry and operations, but our volunteers continue to be the backbone of TLW.
PRAYING IT FORWARD
As we move forward we ask for your prayers and encouragement. Pray that we will not get tired in our work or discouraged by our progress; pray that we will keep learning that this is Christ’s church, and that we can do nothing apart from him (John 15:4); pray that God will continue to provide financially, specifically the remaining $4900 we need for our building fund by year’s end; pray that we can see the Holy Spirit moving and working among us and in the lives of people we engage.
I want to thank all of you, especially those of you who have been part of our prayer support team for the last nine months. Thanks for continuing to offer support not only through your prayers, but also with your financial gifts, encouraging words and friendships.
And please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as well! We welcome your emails, letters, and visits, and we truly treasure your friendship. May God bless The Living Well, and may the presence of the Holy Spirit and the peace of Christ be with you as we all live into the reality of His kingdom and the hope of His glorious resurrection!
Pastor Philip & Heidi Rose