May 15, 2016
Last week, excavators and bulldozers started moving a lot of dirt over at Riley Middle School, our Sunday morning home base. They are spending the summer adding 10 new classrooms and a whole new bus loop, which means the traffic will no longer be backed up to my driveway on school mornings – hooray!
I’m hoping for an in-ground swimming pool right about here
We have a great partnership with Hudsonville Public Schools and they’ve graciously found a space for us at Hudsonville High School in their old auditorium this summer (June 5 – September 4)– which is a huge blessing (because air conditioning!).
But it reminds me that our church is under construction this summer too. Not with a physical building, but we’re already hard at work constructing some new ministry initiatives to launch next fall. And we’d even love to have you put on a hardhat and join the work!
First, we’re hiring an associate pastor. I’ll tell you what I always tell folks who ask “how’s the new church going?” …. It’s amazing! God is moving in big ways in our communities and neighborhoods and families and we see some great ministry on the horizon. Which means we need to staff on purpose to keep up with the way God is moving. This summer we will begin to interview candidates for an associate pastor who will partner with me in pastoring the congregation and keep us on mission in the community. Do you know someone who might be interested in such a thing, and could even stand to spend their workdays with me? Go ahead and pass on our job posting!
Second, we’re cranking up our ministry with 4th and 5th graders! Our Kids Director, Jeff Bergstrom, is super excited to take our ministry with these upper elementary students up a notch this coming fall! We’re brainstorming new rooms in our facility, new curriculum changes and new opportunities for these kids to learn faith skills and follow Christ. Sound exciting? Let Jeff know that you can lend a hand!
Third, we’re launching a brand new middle school ministry! Our church is developing a strategic partnership with Eastern Ottawa Young Life to reach out to 6-8th graders this fall! We’re helping Young Life hire their next staff member to lead outreach ministry at Riley Middle School and who will also serve as our Middle School Ministry Intern for the next three years. This staff member will lead a team of JHC volunteers to start regular Sunday night youth ministry to build relationships with and disciple middle schoolers at JHC and in the community! Care to help reach middle school students? Just let me know!
Fourth, we’re going to be feeding students at TWO schools… and maybe more! Our Hand2Hand ministry at South Elementary has been a great thing. We’ve partnered with Hudsonville Congregational United Church of Christ to feed 47 kids there and we’re planning on continuing to support that ministry next school year. Additionally, we’re taking on a new set of kids next fall at Riley Middle School and we’re even offering our help in partnership in the two-building Jamestown Elementary School – we could be looking at feeding over 100 kids each week!
Finally, we’re planning to launch a whole new approach to groups at Jamestown Harbor Church. Belonging matters in our community. So does mission. We want to pursue both of those values as we help each other grow in our relationships with Christ. Stay tuned this fall for more updates as we lay the groundwork to truly help more people Find Their Way Back To God together!
So that’s a lot of dirt to move this summer. There certainly are some places to help. Maybe it’s intentionally praying for and connecting with your neighbors, or building an invitation list of people in your life that you can get connected to our church. Or maybe even volunteering on a team or engaging in one of these new initiatives.
Whatever it is, I’m reminded again and again that there’s nothing we’re up to that God has not already begun first. When I first heard God’s call to me, personally, in planting this church it was an invitation to join him in what HE was doing in our communities. That’s how our church started and that’s what we’re continuing to do. Our job is simply to be faithful with God’s invitation. When we do that, we find He’s already there. He’s already working.
Thanks for being my friends. Thanks for being my church. Thanks for being faithful with His invitation.