Friday, October 10, 2008

Where We've Been-Where We're Going!

I think it's time for good ol' old testament remembering. I was always struck by how God always had altars built to remember what he had done for His children. They would stop, worship and erect an altar of stone. I think as a church, we should do the same thing. We need to remember where we've come from, because it gives us a direction of where we are going.

We were recently asked "What has God been up to a Whipple Creek since last year?" At our staff retreat last weekend, we had a time to remember and we jotted those things down in bullet point format. This list is not to impress or say, "look how cool we are!" or even, "hey, look what God is doing in our church." but it's to remember how God has been faithful to us in the past and how we can trust that He will be faithful in the future. I hope you enjoy reading through "the list." Each one of the bullet points represents a story of a changed life (or lives in some cases.) As you read, remember God's faithfulness in your own life, your own ministry and your own church (if Whipple isn't your church.)

Oh yea, for those of you in Vancouver, we kick off our new series this Sunday, "Behind Closed Doors." We asked you what questions you had about the Christian life and we went to the Bible for answers. This Sunday is "End of Days" or Are we living in the end times? I look forward to it!

In His Grip

Brett

At Whipple Creek Church we aim to make it hard to get to hell from Vancouver, Washington. We measure success by changed lives. Here is evidence of changed lives from this past year:

• Our prayer ministry has been developed. We began a weekly prayer meeting, developed a prayer team that is available on Sundays and throughout the week and have gone on prayer walks throughout the neighborhood.
• Our worship ministry has developed. We have gone through a transition in our worship ministry with a new worship pastor coming in and developing new leadership as he and his family our transitioning to the foreign mission field. We now have four worship leaders and a few different teams in rotations. The sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence during our time of worship on Sunday mornings is very evident.
• Our skate church ministry has seen 51 conversions since January. A new skate church pastor is transitioning into leadership. We are developing leaders from among our sponsored skaters. We have taken skaters on trips to California and other skate parks, doing outreach.
• Our youth ministry has gone through transition this year as a new youth pastor has come on board. They are developing a phenomenal leadership and seeing new youth come.
• We have had 35 baptisms.
• We have invested a lot of time and resources in community outreach. We had a Luau and campout and a movie night on our property in the back. We gave over 30 backpacks with school supplies to a local elementary school to be given to children from low-income homes. We served hot dogs to public service employees downtown. We made a float and were in a parade in our local community.
• We launched our first Vacation Bible School in our community where 60 to 80 children came everyday, 70% of which were not children from our church, 7 of which gave their lives to Christ. We had 70 volunteers come out to help.
• We started a coffee house on Sunday nights where local Christian artists perform to create an environment where people in the community can have coffee and connect with others.
• We have hosted Christian hard rock shows where 200 young people who may never darken the doors of a traditional church have come to hear about Jesus.
• We built a recording studio upstairs at our church where we record and produce local Christian bands, helping local musicians.
• We have started many small groups for all ages and walks of life where community happens.
• We have had 3 miracles babies, that from a medical perspective, shouldn’t have been born. We dedicated these babies and many more.
• We remodeled our children’s ministry wing and moved into it.
• William P. Young, author of “The Shack,” came and spoke at our church.
• We launched our young adult ministry where as many as 50 young adults come for fellowship and to grow in their walk with Jesus.
• We established Whipple Creek World Missions. We sent people on our 2nd short-term missions trip to Poland. We have sent out full-time missionaries from within our body to Oregon, Kansas, Mexico and Mozambique and are in the process of sending out a family full-time to Poland.
• A former drug-user who is a professional painter volunteered his time & came and painted our church building .
• One young man who gave his life to Christ at skate church brought his parents to church. His father who was raised Mormon and his mother who was raised Catholic turned Buddhist both received Christ on separate Sunday mornings and now serve at Whipple.
• One family who had been away from the church for 15 years and just lost a child to a motorcycle accident saw our church sign that says, “Real Life, Real Hope,” received healing and has been at church ever since. Their autistic son is a part of our greeting team on Sunday mornings.
• We’ve had the biggest Northwest Passage group we’ve ever had. We look forward to the changed lives that result in this leadership development.
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