Let’s see … where did I leave off? Just kidding! It’s been awhile, huh?
As previously stated, I am back to blogging. Honestly, for a while there, we just didn’t have too much to report outside of the mundane. So, updates of any nature seemed pointless for a bit. Looking back I guess I was learning how to deal with a lot of the things in my life at the time and blogging was the last thing I wanted to do.
The last church update was nearly a year and 4 months ago — just prior to Easter 2010. In the 16 months since that update, the Lord has been at work. For the better part of 12 of those months, it was within us and the two faithful families that attended each and every service with us. The fourteen (yes, 14) of us met in the building God had blessed us with and believed with all our hearts doors would open and people would visit. (Believe me when I say this was truly not a “build it and they will come” sort of thing.)
In each of our families a war was raging ~ would we make it or would we pack up and head toward something easier and more familiar? In the midst of some of our hardest times, Fran Murphy came for a visit and shared with us some things God had impressed upon her heart. Words like, “You’re about to enter the toughest test of your lives” and “You won’t grow until you get this right” weren’t exactly music to our ears and certainly didn’t help to brighten the mood at the time.
Things did seem to go from bad to worse – for all fourteen of us – after she left, but something was happening. God was knitting us together as a family ~ one great, big extended family! The fourteen of us fought for each other in prayer, helped each other as best we could, and leaned into God probably harder than we ever had.
Around Easter of 2011 – nearly a year had passed with the fourteen of us still faithfully meeting in that building (Yes, we occasionally had a visitor or two and God did send a precious lady during that time that has faithfully attended ever since.) it was as if God flipped a heavenly switch!
If I had to hazard a guess, I would estimate that not more than a week or so passed from when we felt that we had “gotten things right” that a family was added to our mix. This is a faithful family that we all dearly love and are glad God has allowed us to partner together.
We were now 20 strong and I am pleased to tell you that the next three months passed and the church doubled in size. Now … when you talk about ‘doubling’ and your numbers are still less than 50 some folks may not be impressed. Let me tell you … what GOD has done is nothing less than a miracle. Each Sunday we are seeing new faces and enjoying developing new friendships. Our church is a family and it is so humbling to realize it is nothing (repeat NOTHING) we have done to bring us to this point.
I promise to introduce you to as many of these new faces as possible and to pass along our stories when appropriate, but for now, here is a short synopsis:
A fair majority of those who are regularly attending are between 18 and 30. We have several young families and a good smattering of 40s and up as well. A large majority of those in attendance are new believers. In fact, we’ve had the privilege of presenting THREE of them with their first Bibles … ever in their adult life. On Memorial Day weekend there were five baptisms and another young man accepted Jesus two weeks ago. This past Sunday, James and I had the extreme privilege of the first baby dedication as a church (I can’t wait to tell you that whole story) and we’ll be firing up a College and Career group this coming Sunday.
The last week of July we finally broke over the 50 mark. 53 to be exact – and we were missing 6 of our regulars.
I know this post is getting long so let me leave you with this story ….
About six weeks ago this idea of having folks actually attend church with us was still pretty new to us. We got a kick out of seeing more than our few cars in the parking lot, so we were standing on the porch of the church admiring the parking lot (it’s really nothing more than a grassy patch of lawn that serves as a parking area) and the cars in it.
I started counting cars and it turned out there were 14 vehicles in the parking lot in all. Out loud I noted that we now had as many cars in the parking lot as we had people in the church at that time last year!
You see … even the small things are big things when God is moving and blessing.