Story Saturday- Happy Birthday Christ Church!

Dear Christ Church,

This Sunday we will be celebrating another year of Christ Church’s life.  Three years ago our church plant team was sent out from Sovereign Grace Marlton and 2 years ago we opened our doors at 229 Moore Street.  On the one hand it feels just like yesterday, on the other hand I can’t really remember what life was like before being part of this incredible community.  I’m really excited for you to hear tomorrow some of the testimonies of people who have joined our church in the past year.  I am not going to give you any spoilers here.  However, I do want to reflect on a few things that God has done in our church in this past year.

1.  This past year, we have doubled in size.  

When we first started I didn’t really want to track numbers, because I think that can be a temptation to either pride or discouragement.  However, as we have grown tracking our numbers has become a necessity so that we can find ways to expand our seating to make room for the people who keep coming.  Our church is still small, but in a neighborhood where 97% of people are not Christians and in a country where 90% of churches are in decline, our growth is truly a miracle of God’s redemptive grace.

2.  This past year, we have cared for people.

We served 100 free meals to our neighbors on Easter.

We were able to bless over 250 neighbors at our Summer Blast BBQ.

We celebrated 5 baptisms.

We dedicated 5 children.

We served 110 people a free meal at our Thanksgiving Community Dinner.

Most importantly, based on anecdotal evidence, we have had over 500 people come through our doors as we continue to engage in the vital missionary work of kitchen table ministry (for those who aren’t part of Christ Church “kitchen table ministry” is the one ministry that every member signs up for as we commit to use our kitchen table to build relationships with our neighbors through sharing meals and life.)

Jesus said that it is our responsibility to sow seeds of the gospel and His responsibility to bring in the harvest.  I get really excited when I think about the many seeds that were sown this year and how God is going to use that to bring in an incredible harvest in the years to come.

3.  This past year, we have used our building to bless our neighborhood

We hosted two different weekly playgroups for young kids.

We had two weddings in our building.

We hosted 10 parties of our neighbors in our building.

We had 4 neighborhood board meetings at our building.

We opened our “Orphan Care Clothes Closet” to bless those who foster children.

We hosted a weekly bible study for our local public high school.

4.  This past year, we have added some incredible people to our church community

I could write a story about each person that God has added as a member to our church this year.  There is not a single person who is not already contributing significantly to our church and growing in amazing ways.  What is really awesome is that over half of these people have never been a member of a church before.  Yet, they are jumping in with both feet and God is working powerfully in them and through them.  Just look at this past weekend as an example.

Saturday night-  We had a ladies night at our church which was largely planned and led by Melissa Fehlinger, who became a member this past year.

Sunday morning- Liz Mensah was one of our ushers who served to make people feel welcomed and gave direction for our morning service.  Chris King served on our sound team and continues to bring out guys who are in need of help and hope.  Maryann Sestito served in Christ Church kids, even though she thought her days with children were over long ago.  When I came in to Christ Church kids after the service she was sweating, exhausted and joyful at having taught our next generation.   Jake and Bo Demi served as our Ministry Team Coordinators and brought out friends who had just gotten married and wanted to learn more about God’s design for their relationship.  Eassa Faheem served with excellence on our setup team.  

Sunday night-  Jackie Saddic (And Melissa Fehlinger again) served in Christ Church kids so that parents could attend our parenting class.

That’s just this past weekend.  I could go on and on about the many other people who are a profound blessing to our church.  I’ll save those stories for future blog posts though.

5.  I keep saying “we have”, but really it is “God has.”  

One of the most significant things that has happened this year is that we have expanded our prayer ministry.  We now have a team of people that meet before the service every Sunday and an hourly prayer meeting that takes place every other Monday night.  Attendance has slowly grown over the year (although I think it’d be great if even more people would come out!).  If you add up all that time praying, as well as the 15 minutes that we spend praying in our Sunday morning liturgy every week, that’s over 50 hours that our church has spent in prayer!  It is no wonder that God has done such incredible things.  He loves to work through the prayers of His people, so that He gets all the glory for the things that only He can do!  

What’s really exciting for me though is that I feel our best days are still ahead of us.  As I consider the leaders who are currently being trained, the ministry ideas that God is birthing in member’s hearts and the growth that is happening in people’s lives, I believe that in the years to come we are going to see God do even more incredible things as He leads us on our mission of making, maturing and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God.

I love you Christ Church!  Happy Birthday!

Pastor Jeff

Twitter @Pastor_Jeff

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