|Together: Christmas 2015|
I apologize for the extended silence on the blog. We've had a fantastic holiday season and I wanted to update you. The church did great things over the Christmas season. Attendance in our Intentional Community gatherings was steady and our Sunday gathering numbers were up significantly from last December. Praise Jesus for that! This past Sunday we had a slim turn-out for the kick-off of our Luke series, but hopefully now that school is starting we'll see consistency rise and growth continue. That is our prayer and what I'd love for you to be praying as well.
The picture above is of our first ever Together: Christmas gathering. It was a blast! As leaders of the church, we try our best to listen to the church as a whole about what's working, what's not and what we should change. In recent days we continued to hear a cry to do more things Together. Everything we do flows through our Intentional Communities and we do not want to lose that. We believe that approach allows fewer people to get "lost" in the busyness of life and ministry and that it provides the most effective pathway for being the church. But we LOVE that people want to be with their church so we've started a Together initiative. These are opportunities for all of our IC's to unite together for a gathering, celebration, training, etc. Together: Christmas was the first such gathering and it was so much fun!
We had a big family style pot-luck dinner on Christmas Eve. We had an interactive telling of the Christmas story with all of the kids in the church and then we went caroling in the neighborhood around the school where we gather. It was crazy, informal, fun and worshipful. And best of all it was Together! It was family time and we are learning how valuable that can be.
I also finished up my UPS experiment on Christmas Eve. It meant I arrived at Together: Christmas a bit late but I didn't miss it all. Overall the UPS experiment was a success. It was not nearly as draining on my family as we feared it might be. It gave me a foot in the door with a good company in case I ever need to go back to work seasonal, part-time or full-time. It also gave me a great refresher course in what the missionaries in our church face every day in their jobs, on their campuses and in the "real world." I thought I remembered... I didn't.
The culture was just spiritually dead. That's the best way to put it. It was lost. It was broken. It was self-serving and cut-throat. It was sad and it was in need of joy. It was hopeless and in need of hope. It was dark and in need of light. I'm so thankful that we have a church pursuing the calling of being missionaries to their worlds and I pray that God would use my time and UPS to make me a more relevant teacher, encourager and disciple-maker so that our people are better equipped to be more effective as they go into the world and preach the gospel.
Thank you as always for your support and if there's one phrase I would ask you to repeat over and over in your prayers for our church and the people of Tacoma, it would be life change. Pray that God brings massive, undeniable and supernatural life change this week, this month and this year for his glory and fame alone!
We are also anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first mission team of 2015 tonight. Please pray for God to use a group from The Austin Stone to reach people for Jesus over the next several days. Pray specifically for a concert we are sponsoring at a local spot in downtown Tacoma on Saturday night. Thank you!