Thursday, March 28, 2013

In the midst of it...

We are in the midst of all that we have been praying for and asking for your prayers on over the last several weeks.  March into April launched with our Community Dinners this past Friday and it was an unbelievable success.  The first dinner was packed out and there were so many solid conversations and a ton of interest in the church, Jesus and future events.  The second dinner was significantly smaller but there were still so many great connections.  Please pray as we follow up with these contacts that they would attend the rest of our March into April events and that gospel conversations and life change would follow.

Sunday was our first worship gathering at Franklin Elementary and somewhat of a trial run for our Easter launch in this new location.  I can't believe how well things went!  To have more space was enough of a blessing by itself.  But add on top of it that so many people showed up to help set-up and serve was a testament to how our church is taking ownership of itself.  There were no major technical difficulties, the band was awesome and our kids ministry had double what it has been having.  We had tons of new faces both from the community dinners and personal invites.  It was an awesome day and a great start to this new phase in the life of The Pathway.

Somewhere in the midst of the crazy full weekend we had a team of college students arrive from First Baptist Concord just outside Knoxville, TN.  They came ready to busy their tails and serve like crazy.  They basically have two missions while they are here.  First and foremost they have spent a ton of time on the campus of the University of Puget Sound and it has already sparked open doors that we've never had before.  One of the students, our former intern Sarah Joseph, had a freshman approach her because he wanted to share his faith with her.  He was blown away that she was there for the same reason and he was so thankful to know that we as a church have been praying for him and his campus.  The team's other mission is to saturate the area around Franklin with the gospel.  They are going door to door, passing out invites to our Community Fun night, telling people why they are in Tacoma and looking for every opportunity to share the gospel.

How can you pray while we're in the midst of March into April?
1) Tonight we are sponsoring a concert at a local hot spot for college students.  Pray for a great turn out and for lots of gospel conversations.

2) Tomorrow is Community Fun Night #1 at Franklin.  We were able to send home flyers with every student at both Franklin and Delong Elementary inviting them to the fun night and to our Easter gathering.  Pray that both are well received.

3) Pray for Community Fun Night #2 at The Spot on Saturday night.  Pray for great fun and tons of gospel opportunities.

4) Pray for our Easter gathering.  Pray for our worship team as they lead.  Pray for me as I preach the gospel, specifically about how Easter changes the rules for us all.  And pray for our people as they've been challenged over the last week to invite at least 2 people to come to our Easter gathering.  Pray for the harvest because I believe God has been equipping us to receive it!

Thank you for your prayers and for all the ways you are involved in what God is doing here in Tacoma!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sensing the potential... acknowledging the obstacles

As always I want to try and be as transparent as possible with all of you who read this blog.  The fact that you're reading it at all is strong evidence that you pray for us here in Tacoma and for that I am eternally grateful.  So this week I'm going to try and let you in on what's about to go down here in Tacoma.  All in all I'm incredibly excited, undeniably nervous and extremely curious to see what exactly God has in store for this church and our city over the course of the next year and specifically the next month.

Most of you know that we are about to enter into an incredibly intense time.  This Wednesday we start our second ever Gather to Scatter campaign as a church.  This is a basically a time when all of our Intentional Communities come together for 3 weeks to cast vision, build unity and gain excitement before we scatter back out across Tacoma for the express purpose of being the church together and reaching people all over the city.

We're also getting ready for what may be the biggest transition our church has ever gone through.  As most of you know, people don't always like change.  That being said, our church has been unbelievably faithful over the course of our short history to trust my leadership as I seek to follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads.  A short time ago it became obvious that the Holy Spirit was leading us to move our worship gathering out of The Spot and into Franklin Elementary school.  Franklin is just off the Hilltop but still in the heart of central Tacoma.  It is an amazing facility with welcoming staff and the potential to receive the growth that we are asking God to bring over the next month.

Potential is the word of the month for us.  Gather to Scatter has the potential to unify The Pathway in a way that we have never seen before.  The move to Franklin has the potential to allow us to receive more unchurched families and individuals than we ever have before.  We have a mission team coming to serve with us at the end of March that will be focusing much of their time on saturating a local university with the gospel.  With that effort brings the potential to see God connect us with college students for the first time in 3 years.  We have been praying for these college students for almost 4 years.  Could this finally be the time we connect?  Potentially it could be!

March into April is what we're calling our spring outreach and it has the potential to be HUGE!  By the grace of God we have once again been able to host 2 community dinners at a local restaurant.  We will be following that up with 2 family fun nights, a Good Friday worship night, our Franklin launch, a community movie day and a community financial seminar.  We will have countless opportunities to share the gospel and simply to make friends with the lost and unchurched in our community.  During this outreach we will be scattering our Intentional Communities back out into the city and we will be launching multiple new IC's.  We will be launching our worship gathering on Easter Sunday with the potential to connect with countless new families just because God has made people more willing to come to worship on Easter.

Who will you bring? Finally, we have the opportunity... the potential... to see everyone in our church invite and bring 2 people to Jesus through our Easter worship gathering and IC.  We have been challenging our church every week to pray about who they will bring to Jesus through the opportunity that the Easter season affords.  We're doing so many public outreaches but there is nothing with greater potential than a personal invite to a friend or family member.

To be honest our numbers have dipped over the past several months.  We are currently averaging just over 60 people in worship and around 45 in our weekly Intentional Community gatherings.  But we believe there is GREAT potential to see the harvest we have been praying for start to be gathered in a big way through March into April and Easter Sunday.  We are asking God for big things.  We are asking God to save souls.  We are asking God to change lives.  We are asking God to show up in a God-sized way.  And you know what?  We believe he will!  I believe he will.

Potential? Yes.  Obstacles? Absolutely.  I could list a million obstacles but let me just share two and ask that each one of you who reads this blog commit to pray that God would obliterate these obstacles and bring all this potential to a Holy Spirit empowered reality.  Obstacle number one is Satan himself.  We know Satan is real and we despise him.  We are praying in the name of Jesus that despite his best attempts to lead Tacoma down a road to destruction, that God would use us and other Jesus-centered churches in our city to bring the gospel with grace and power!

The second obstacle is US. That's right, we are the obstacle.  Those of us who claim Christ but aren't willing to lay our lives down. Those of us who claim the name Christian but aren't willing to lay aside our comforts and desires, who aren't willing to sacrifice our schedules, who aren't willing to reorient our lives around the gospel.  We can be one of the greatest obstacles of all.  I would ask that you pray for the people of The Pathway.  Please pray that we would be so filled with love and compassion that we would do whatever it takes to see Tacoma flipped upside down by the gospel and that all this potential would begin to be realized!