Pastor Letter 9/27/2016

“Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41

WOW!!! Now is THAT for a new member class!!

We had a new member class yesterday and I’m sorry to say, it wasn’t quite that big…but it was that powerful…

Yesterday a young man walked through our doors. He came to Hope through a referral (somebody who knows somebody suggested he try Hope). After attending most of the 8:00am Traditional Service he decided to stick around and check out the 9:30 Blended Service…then after that he stuck around even longer to witness the 11:00 Contemporary Service! Yes! He was here for all three worship services!! He had never stepped foot in our building before…and worshiped for 3 hours!!

After that…he joined us for our Hope Orientation 101 (New Member) Class.

In our conversation in the New Member Class, he pointed something out to us. He said that yesterday, his first experience in our church, he felt more welcome here at Hope than he had in the church he grew up in where he knew nearly everyone. WOW…first time…three services and a New Member class…felt overwhelmingly welcome. Awesome!

We may not see 3000 conversions in a day or even New Member Orientation that hits 100 in a single class (not yet anyway), but I’ll take a first time visitor feeling “at home” anytime!

This is at the core of the Gospel, right? That ALL ARE WELCOME! Like…actually welcome. Not just welcome with the intent of making ‘them’ like ‘us’. But being welcoming to all people with no expectation whatsoever.

This is, in part, the work of Jesus…to welcome, accept, love ALL people, period.

In the book of Mark Jesus calls to his first disciples and says “Come, follow me…”. That is it. No expectation. Simply come along for the journey. Follow Jesus. All are welcome.

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This is the driving theology/philosophy behind our worship service changes you’ve experienced the past couple of weeks. We have three distinctly different worship services on Sunday morning (see last month’s letter on BLOG 9/2016).

However, the reality is that we have FOUR worship services now…yep, four!

The fourth service is on Sunday Night at 6pm. It is in conjunction with the Youth Ministry schedule. That means that there are some Sunday evenings where there will not be worship, so keep an eye on the schedule.

To be clear, the Sunday Night service is geared for kids. It is loud. It is informal. It is sometimes crazy. BUT – there is always communion, a reading, a sermon, music, and prayer…it is worship.

There may be a lot of kids…but YOU ARE WELCOME also!!

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Money – yep…we hate when churches (and Pastors) talk about money. It feels like churches are always talking about it, preaching about it, asking for it…There is no doubt, we hate it when churches talk about money.

…except for that little fact that Jesus talks about money an awful lot. So, there’s that…

I lift that up just so you don’t get mad at me for writing/talking about money 🙂 Because we do need to talk about it.

You likely have received a Stewardship letter showing that we are behind in our giving at this time. It is true, we as a congregation voted and approved a significant ‘stretch’ budget for 2016. We knew we would have to stretch quite a bit to make this particular goal. However, paving the parking lot side-by-side with the ‘stretch budget’ is proving to be a difficult task.

Please pray about your ability to make a financial gift to God’s ministry through Hope either to the Parking Lot Fund or Mission Plan (General Budget). Click Here to give online.

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Hope is very much a welcoming place and we are striving to be better at it all of the time. We hear it from visitors and members week in and week out. We may not be converting thousands upon thousands, but we are making a difference. There are people, new people from all walks of life who are beginning to call Hope their new home. This is powerful and exhilarating stuff! This is what we as a congregation are doing. This is what you are doing. This is God’s work to welcome all, accept all, to love all. 

Thank you for your participation in God’s work to and with all people!

God Bless

Pastor Rob