I guess it's only natural to look back as we prepare to move forward. This year has been full, like most, with ups and downs, twists and turns, joys and sorrows, victories and defeats. But through it all there has been a constant, his name is Jesus. I know that's what I'm supposed to say... I am a pastor right? But I truly mean it. There are days when I just think what we're doing here in Tacoma is impossible. There are days when I want to punch people in the face and throw them into the Puget Sound. I want to scream at them... "Why are you being so stupid?! Why are you getting frustrated at me?! All I'm trying to do is introduce you to a living Savior and walk with you out of the crap you've been living in!" But when those frustrations come. When I feel like there's no point... there he is. There's Jesus. Through his indwelling Spirit he wraps his arms around me and reminds me I'm right where he wants me to be. Our family is doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. And the Holy Spirit is working. He's working in ways we can't see... but make no mistake, he's also working in ways we can see.
So that's what today's post is about... the things the Spirit of God has done and is doing and has graciously allowed us to see.
This was 2013...
We asked God to show us how to launch a one-on-one discipleship process. We wanted it to be easy, reproducible and helpful. We thought we should write it ourselves (In know, don't laugh). But then God introduced us to an awesome tool that many in our congregation are using.
We baptized 13 people in 2013! But we decided we wanted to make baptism a big deal instead of an afterthought during a jam packed worship gathering. So we started holding baptism gatherings. We share the gospel, explain baptism, hear testimony, dunk 'em and then we eat cake... celebrating new birth! It's been so good.
For 4 years we've been praying for God to give us a connection on the campus of the University of Puget Sound. For 3 years he's said "no." This year he opened a small window in the back room of the smallest building... metaphorically speaking. But there is one undergraduate and one graduate student that have connected to The Pathway and we're asking God to show us how to serve those students.
We hosted a Good Friday Worship gathering. Our Worship Leader Donna Christian planned and ran the whole thing. It was one of the top 2 best things our church has ever done. It was incredible.
We moved our worship gathering to Franklin Elementary and for the first time ever had over 100 in attendance on Easter Sunday... Wow!
Under the leadership of Stacie Hooks, God allowed us to launch new Intentional Communities, raise up new leaders and we now have an IC gathering on every week night!
We connected with a mom of 4 during one of our events named Tiffany. She was uniquely interested in Jesus and community. She assimilated quickly but was hesitant to put her trust in Jesus. My wife discipled her. We welcomed her into the church. We prayed and prayed and prayed. She grew and grew and grew. And finally she trusted Jesus!
We learned that you don't have to gather just because it's Sunday. We're still small and holidays are hard. We decided to take some Sundays off to save money and gather with family and our IC's. God blessed it and it taught us to value Sunday gatherings all the more!
We were averaging 15 in our Kids ministry in June of 2013. In November of 2014 we had launched KiDCity under the leadership of Jenna Jones and we were averaging 32!
We heard God say he wanted our church to think bigger than Tacoma. He knows we're young and still immature, but he made it clear he wanted us to think about the nations from our earliest stages. We said yes, with very real fear, and God raised up a team of 3 to go to South Africa this February. The Pathway is sending missionaries to South Africa... in awe of God.
We had over 140 in worship on an intentional outreach Sunday... wow!
We held our first Covenant Partnership class (membership) and we were overwhelmed by the attendance. We had 26 people become covenant partners. That's 26 people committing to take ownership of this body of believers... thankful and amazed.
What will God do in 2014? As always we're dreaming big. We so appreciate all of you who pray for us and support our church in a variety of ways. Please keep praying. Please keep dreaming. Please keep believing. We have no idea what God has in store, but we're asking him for life change and we're asking him for Kingdom growth. I just can't wait to see what I get to write about 365 days from today. To God be the glory!