It’s kind of late for a weekend reflections post, but here are some random thoughts:
- On Friday, did a wedding for wonderful young couple at Coastal. It was at Charlestowne Landing in a beautiful outdoor setting. Had lots of fun afterwards with some folks from Coastal. Met with another couple that I am marrying next weekend and I was able to talk to them about what a difference Christ and His church can make in their marriage. I think they might visit our church. They loved our “UFC Cage” we built in our auditorium.
- Our Youth Minister Sean had a “Dress Up Night” for the High School Students on Saturday. They looked great and had an awesome time.
- Sean and Melissa are the real deal. We are blessed to have them. Middle School and High School LIFE Groups are GROWING!
- Sunday was a long but great day!
- The first service had a lot of technical issues, but it still rocked!
- I am a firm believer that when Paul was talking about the “prince of the power of the air” he was referring to sound difficulties.
- Janet had a great Coastal Kidz meeting. She has an awesome team!
- I miss my daughter Lydia! I can’t wait to see her during Fall Break!
- Had a ton of guests on Sunday! So proud of Coastal!
- We have a 1st Impressions Meeting this Saturday, 9:30AM, before FUEL. As our church continues to grow, it’s so important that we do everything in our power to create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere! With adding another service and a real Cafe’ we also need more volunteers in this ministry.
- We still need about $4000 to pay off our new lights! Got the house lights hooked up with the system and the dimmer pack. We will slightly dim the house lights during my message. Will help with taking notes and filling out Connect Cards (and writing checks!).
- Had a great meeting this week with some folks from Habitat for Humanity. Looking forward to a great partnership.
- This “UFC” series has been great! People eat up marriage/relationship sermons! People love free stuff!
- Can’t wait for our 3rd Service – starting Oct. 11th, Sunday nights 6PM.
- LIFE Groups ROCK! Matt Beam and our LIFE Group Leaders have done an awesome job!
- Next week Sean, Wes, and I are going to the Catalyst Leadership Conference in Atlanta (Wednesday-Friday). Going to miss my family, but can’t wait to soak it all in. Last year’s conference was a real turning point in my leadership. And I have a feeling the three of us might even have some fun and get into some trouble!
Well, that’s enough for now. Let’s close out UFC this Sunday with a bang! Invite and bring your friends. On Oct. 11th we kick off a new series entitled, “Voices.” It’s all social justice and Christians being a voice for the voiceless. We’ve got some exciting elements planned for this series.
In January of this year, I kicked off the New Year with a short two week sermon series. The first sermon was the Year in Review. I talked about where we had been as a church, the ups and the downs, and what God had done in our midst (truthfully, 2008 was a difficult year). The next sermon was the Year Ahead. I talked about some upcoming message series, vision, and goals. At the time we were a church of about 125-150.
We also started FUEL in January. FUEL is our monthly gathering of all Coastal volunteers and ministry leaders. At our first FUEL and at our first service of January I told everyone that we were going to be making changes and that it was time to pull out all the stops and reach people who don’t know Jesus. I also stated that by the end of the year we would be a church of at least 250.
Now for many churches 250 is no big deal. But for a church that’s never been over 200, that’s crazy talk. In fact, statistically the older a church is without ever growing over 200 the less likely it ever will or at least the more difficult it is. This coming year we are 20 years old. Well, this summer we averaged just over 200 people. That’s right – during the summer! And then this past Sunday our attendance was 255! That was our highest non-Easter attendance ever. In fact, last Easter we had 256.
9 months into the year and we go over 250! What does the rest of this year hold? I don’t know really. I believe we are going to bust through 300 soon. On October 11th we add a 3rd service, Sunday nights at 6PM. These are definitely exciting times and we do have a lot of momentum. 255 represents growth and LIFE change, but it is just the beginning! My prayer is that God will continue to use Coastal as a place that He can draw people to Himself.
So what were you doing 20 years ago here in Charleston? It’s hard to believe 20 years have come and gone since Hurricane Hugo. For those of us who went through it, it is one of those shared memories/experiences that we will never forget. Janet and I had just moved back to Charleston in August to lay the groundwork for starting our church. We had no job, no core group, and no money. We simply had faith in God and the vision He had given us for a new church. And then one month later – BAM! Hurricane Hugo. We rode the storm out with some friends in Goose Creek of all places. It felt like a train coming through the house all night long. Little did we know, that was just the beginning.
For me though, that’s how I tend to look back on Hurricane Hugo – a beginning. Two months later we had a small group meeting in our home. And then Easter of 1990 we had our first official worship service. This Easter our church will be 20 years old. 20 years! Hurricane Hugo simply reminds me that God is always with you in the storms of life and that if you let Him, He can build something beautiful out of the ashes and rubble. What were you doing during Hurricane Hugo? What do you remember?