Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ministry Updates and Waiting on the Lord

It was good to be back with our Dwell Church family this past Sunday. Thank you again for receiving Bernard Emerson and Alvin Lin. In your prayers, please remember them as Bernard continues to lead his church plant towards regular worship services with The Way Church in Oakland. Pray for Alvin and our sister church East Valley as they will also be undergoing a leadership transition. Pastor John Helveston has served East Valley for 25 years and will be retiring to care for his ailing mother in Mississippi.

I want to follow up on a couple of ministry updates we have given in the past week. Many of you have been awaiting an update on a new projector. We received a quote that we gave to you that was much more than any of us expected. We are working hard to bring that number down as much as possible and even do what we can ourselves. We are working to balance what will enhance our worship experience, set us up for the future, and be as economical as possible. If you have further questions or concerns, please ask myself or any of our Elders.

The second thing I want to announce is that Beth Thompson will be our Children's Director! Dwell has hired Beth on a part-time basis to oversee the equipping and coordination of volunteers for the Children's Ministry and ensuring we have quality curriculum at every level. It is very important that we do children's ministry well and we now have the resources to pursue this.

One last thought I wanted to leave with you. Psalm 31:24 says, "Be strong, let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord." This is the last verse of a Psalm that cries out to the Lord to deliver the psalmist from various struggles in life. The theme of waiting on the Lord is frequent in the Psalms and we often move past it without reflecting on it much. Waiting in scripture is often an active waiting. It is not a call to be passive but to be diligent in reminding ourselves of God's grace, of pressing forward in faith He will act, and a charge for us not give up hope. Waiting on the Lord does not mean doing nothing. It means we speak to our hearts by reminding ourselves of the redemption he has secured for us in Christ. It means we continue to be faithful with all He has called us to do. So we press forward, not because there is nothing else to do, but because we might miss Him at work if we take our eyes off the prize.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From Pastor Chris: Moving Forward

Ecclesiastes 3:22 (ESV)

So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

Thank you to all of you for receiving Bernard and Alvin the last few weeks while I took some time to reflect on our ministry and my place within it. My family and I got get away for a few days in Mendocino and had the privilege of worshipping with a few other co-laborers of the gospel in San Jose. I want to say thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement over the last few weeks. It has been a gift of grace to hear of your care and concern for me, Cassie, and Calvin.

Due to Jason's departure, it was necessary for me to get out of some of my routines and have time to meet with pastors and speak with mentors and our Elders to assess where we are so that we can continue to move forward with our ministry into the future. We have reviewed in part what we are good at and what we are not.  I have sought feedback on what my strengths and weaknesses are and as a Board we have talked openly and honestly about our individual strengths and weaknesses. I got a rare chance to visit some other churches, meet their pastors, and have read what I can about churches that successfully manage significant leadership changes.

I have been immensely encouraged about the current state of our church and our future. I am confident about being able to continue to serve here at Dwell and the overall health of our church. But we are under no illusion about things we have to do better: for our church, myself, and each individual elder. We will continue this assessment. The work is not done but we feel confident about moving forward. Therefore, I want to give you a preview of things you can pray with us about as we continue to develop our ministry and grow as leaders.

We hope to create a clearer strategy for our ministry over the coming months. We are thankful for so much of the leadership Jason gave us over the years and we desire to make that more clear, more accessible, and more fruitful.

-John Lunsford and I will be attending a "Next Steps" training later this week for church plants that have crossed the 3-5 year benchmark and for established churches looking to grow after years of pruning.
-We will be hiring a Children's Director in the next few weeks so expect to hear more soon.
-We will be presenting the costs for a new projector system, along with a few other improvements to the facilities.
-We want to create a long term strategy for investing in our people and equipping them to use the gifts God has given them in Christ to see a slice of his kingdom break into each other's lives and our greater community.

I want you to know: Cassie and I love this church and all of you. We are immensely blessed to have the privilege to serve with you. It is a joy to do ministry with you. I am grateful to be a part of Dwell Christian Church and hope to see the Lord continue to use us for his kingdom.

- Pastor Chris