Since my last post a lot has happened. We hosted our second and third community dinners, both of which had their own unique dynamic. The second dinner was our "add-on" and was booked solid. Unfortunately we had a lot of know shows. I think God knew what he was doing though because there were many faces familiar to me at that dinner. People we know from the neighborhood and other community organizations. The smaller dinner gave me the opportunity to chat with all of these people a little longer and we were still able to share our heart and the gospel with the whole crowd. The third dinner was much like the first. It was packed full. Our people did a great job engaging in conversation & once again the heart of our church and the gospel was shared with all who were in the room.
The day after the second and third dinners Kelli and I were the recipients of a tremendous gift. Along with several other couples we were blessed to spend 3 days and 2 nights at a Christian retreat center on Keats Island, just off the coast of Vancouver B.C. No phone, no internet, no t.v. It may have been 3 of the best days of our lives. Becca (who continually blesses us in more ways than we can count) was kind enough to watch Jagen and Rylan while we were gone and we were able to do nothing but relax. We walked along the water, slept in, ate good food, played pool and bocce ball, read and soaked in the outdoor hot tub overlooking the water and the Olympic mountains... we are so thankful.
While we were gone our emerging leaders did a great job of following up with people from the Community Dinners. We didn't want anyone to slip through the cracks as we geared up for Easter Sunday, which as you all know was also our Scatter Sunday. We were praying for big things that week and God is definitely beginning to spark some things into flame. Donna-- who just committed to being our permanent worship leader (long-time answer to prayer!) recruited a couple friends to play with her and we had a full band for the first time. Sunday was an amazing time of worship! We had lots of new faces from the dinners as well as some guests from the community who came in response to our Easter mailers and personal invitations. We talked about the reality of the Resurrections and the direct implications it has on our lives.
Last came our Scatter! Stacie Hooks has overseen all of our Intentional Community planning and leadership development through our Gather phase. She has done a phenomenal job. We called all of the leaders from our 7 IC's on stage to introduce them and pray over them. We gave a brief plug for every group and then passed out cards for everyone to express which group they were interested in. We had a great response and a great turnout for our first IC, an all women's group yesterday morning. Tonight Kelli and I will be leading an IC hosted by our good friend Scott Ignacio that we are extremely excited about. Please be praying that all of our groups get off to a great start this week. We don't want them to just start or survive... we are praying that they thrive and multiply!
So what's up next? Well, we have at least 10 people who have already expressed an interest in baptism. Pray as we follow up with them and prepare for a Baptism service on April 29th. We've also had a great response to our Parent/Child Dedication on April 22nd. We are so excited to see parents commit to raise their children to love Jesus. You can also pray for our trip to the Mariner's game on April 21st. This is going to be a very important time. We have over 90 people from outside our church signed up to go. With our unstable demographic, please pray that the majority of these people do show up and that we are able to build on these relationships for the glory of God.
There's really so much more to say but I don't want to bore you all to death. Praise Jesus for our Community Dinners. Praise him for our highest attendance ever on Easter Sunday. Praise him for the launch of 7 Intentional Communities across this great city. Thank you all for your prayers and we will continue to keep you posted.