Sunday was Newcomers day! About once a quarter we have a Newcomers Lunch immediately after the 2nd Service and then Newcomers Dessert & Coffee immediately after the 3rd Service. Newcomers is a chance for those who are new to Coastal to learn more about our church, discover possible next steps, meet new people, and enjoy some great food. Speaking of great food, a big thanks goes to Kathy Beam, Susan Brown, and Michelle Horton for taking care of our meal and desserts! I love these opportunities. I love meeting new people who are curious and wanting to take next steps. I love sharing our story. On top of all of that – we laugh a lot together!
We were in part 3 of our “Accelerate” series and talking about the habit of prayer. The best part of the message was a comment on a Connect Card, “Today’s message was great! I learned a lot this morning. I did not know how to pray until today.” Also, just from Sunday’s Connect Cards – 6 people want to learn more about Coastal, 3 people renewed their commitment to Jesus, 2 people want to be Baptized, and exactly 100 people made a commitment to spend time in prayer every day this week! We also have an 18% increase in LIFE Group sign-ups compared to this point last semester. Oh, and our attendance was 282 on Sunday!
Jennifer Smith was also at Newcomers Lunch yesterday – not because she’s new, but because she had 5 people with her, all of whom she invited! One of those people is her grandmother. She has never been in church before – at least not that Jennifer can recall. She just started coming to Coastal. She loves it! She also just found out she has cancer. She came up to me after the lunch and said something like this, “Pastor Chris, I want to say something to you. I’m bashful, so I didn’t want to share it with the whole group, but I want to tell you something. My family is all here because of doughnuts and coffee. Thank you.”
I almost started crying. You see, several years ago I started a before school Prayer Group for the Teachers at Oakland Elementary School, the school directly across the street from our church. After our group meets, I push a cart around the school and hand out doughnuts and coffee to all the teachers. One of the teachers who started coming to the group was Jennifer. She then started coming to Coastal. She committed her life to Jesus, was baptized this December, and serves faithfully at our church. She invited and brought her boyfriend. He serves in ministry at our church too. Together they bring a young man who now calls them every Sunday at about 7AM to make sure they’re coming to get him. Jennifer’s mother, aunt, and grandmother have all started coming to Coastal. They fill up an entire row! They’re story is really quite miraculous.
Honestly, there are Tuesdays when that alarm goes off at 5:30AM that I don’t feel like getting up. This week – I don’t think that will be a problem. I love Newcomers Day! I love our church! I love getting to witness LIFE change! Thank you Jesus!