Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. (1 Thessalonians 2:8)
Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
I would say “Merry Christmas,” but it’s still too early for that! This is the season of Advent, a season of preparation and expectation as we watch in hope for the coming of our Savior. Here at The Living Well, our Advent theme for 2018 is “Sharing Christmas.” As our mission puts it: We are a group of people who find real life in Jesus Christ, celebrate that life in community and share the life with everyone around us. So, it’s fitting that as we find real life in Jesus, we’ll want to share the Hope, the Peace, the Joy and the Love that we celebrate in Advent. Just as Paul told the church in his letter to the Thessalonians, that means we are “delighted to share not only the gospel of God, but our very lives as well.”
“SHARING CHRISTMAS” AT TLW
For most of us, the holiday season begins, appropriately, with a time of Thanksgiving. TLW celebrated Thanksgiving Eve for the first time, as a new church with much to be thankful for. God has blessed us in so many ways! We have nearly doubled in our weekly attendance since our Oct. 7 launch; our financial support has been strong and growing; we are nearing completion of our building work and everything is coming in under budget.
Last weekend we shared the celebration of baptism with two young families and shared the sacrament of communion in a combined service. I am so thankful for our thriving Living Well Kids ministry and the faithful leaders and teachers that put their whole hearts into discipling our kids!
Our adult discipleship has had an exciting start as well. Two groups are currently meeting, led by volunteers from our Launch Team. One is a women’s group of about 14 ladies who are going through the book, Just Open the Door. They are considering how a heart for hospitality creates space for the mission of God. The other group is practicing The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, as we continue to pursue natural, relational opportunities to share the good news.
“SHARING CHRISTMAS” WITH OUR NEIGHBORS
This season is also calling us to “share Christmas” with our friends, neighbors and co-workers. We wanted to have a tangible way to show people the love of Jesus, and so our GLO Team (Global and Local Outreach) organized a “Let’s Share Christmas” project
that collected items, assembled gift bags, created encouraging hand-made cards, and then prayed for the Holy Spirit to use these gifts (and ours) to connect with someone in our lives. We made over 100 bags, and have empowered the folks at TLW to share these gifts as “modern-day prophets of hope” in their community.
“SHARING CHRISTMAS” AS A TEAM
With all these many blessings over the past few months, it has been hard to keep up the pace! The work is great, but fortunately God is greater! He has surrounded us with some pretty awesome leaders to “share” in the work as well as the blessings. Cassandra Corning joined our staff as Administrative Director at the beginning of November, bringing the number of staff to four, and we are currently in the process of adding a part-time worship director to the team as well. In addition to the great staff, God
has raised up a strong team of volunteer leaders to guide our ten ministry teams. We had our first all-leader meeting last month. This group will help direct, coordinate, and guide God’s work here at TLW. In addition, they will be raising up new leaders to meet future needs and challenges. Praise God!
“SHARING CHRISTMAS” ONE LIFE AT A TIME
As a church planter, I often get asked the simple question “How’s it going?” And I usually begin to give a simple answer to that question by sharing what’s happening, offering a few statistics, etc. But the better answer always means sharing the stories of how God is changing a community one life at a time. Just last week, for example, I had the privilege of leading a young man to the Lord after one of our services. He had just started coming to church because someone cared enough to invite him, to “share the life” with him. He told me he had gotten up that morning with a conviction that something had to change in his life today…and it sure did! The next Sunday he was back, full of excitement and a whole notebook of questions! He’s found real life in Christ at The Living Well. That’s just one of hundreds of stories we hope to tell in the coming year.
God is working, and He is using all of us—and each of you—to accomplish His work. We ask you to “share the life” with us by supporting God’s work at TLW with your continued prayers and financial support. We promise to continue to represent Christ’s kingdom and share His light and life in this place. May God bless you and grant you peace in this Advent season, Christmas, and throughout the new year.
Pastor Philip & Heidi Rose