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Vision Sunday (Part 2): Supplement Our Faith

In the last year, our church has seen some incredible things take place to help us grow in our faith. Let me just highlight a few:
  • Baptism - To begin with, I want to celebrate the fact that between Easter and our Summer BBQ, we’ve seen 20 people get baptized in this church! That’s almost double the people from 2022! We praise God for that! 
  • Prayer / Worship - In 2023, we’ve hosted several nights of prayer and worship, where we set aside time to spend time in God’s presence, pray for one another, and align our hearts with him. In fact, we have one of those tonight at 6pm! Please come!
  • FPU - Max and Meg Monihan led a Financial Peace University course where a group of folks considered practical and biblical principles on how to steward their finances well. We even had folks from outside our church join in, which was an awesome bonus!
  • Men / Women  - Over the last year, both our ladies and men’s ministries have hosted retreats, meet-ups, and Bible studies (both larger group and in smaller settings) to help people get connected and grow together. We also added Chris Wise as a volunteer team lead to oversee our men’s ministry, which has already been such a fun addition!
  • VBS - We ran our 2nd Reach Kids Vacation Bible School which many of you participated in. This incredible 3-day event served kids inside and outside our community and presented several times over the Good News of Jesus to children - many of which obtained greater clarity on what it means to know / love Jesus.
  • Sunday Sermons - In the last year, we’ve studied the Book of Daniel, looked at the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, we’ve studied the first 7 chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, we’ve engaged in a Discipleship series, and heard from several fantastic guest speakers in our “Big Family” series this summer.

Plenty of other things I could mention, but those strike me as significant.

Moving forward, what are some of the ways that we anticipate supplementing / deepening our faith in the year to come?

As our team reviewed the all-church survey we recently ran, one of the things that came up continuously was that many folks are hungry to grow deeper in their faith.

The verdict is clear - we are a church that is HUNGRY for more. I absolutely LOVE that.

So let me share a few ways we intend to help us supplement our faith. 
First, let’s talk about small group development.

Groups are the backbone of community at Reach. No doubt, those who have found themselves grafting into a group for a decent season are by and large the ones who both feel the most connected AND excited about their place at Reach. 

However, what we have found is that groups have life cycles, and often times, they hit a wall in terms of knowing how to grow together. We’re GREAT at meals, we handle the screaming kids alright, but there are times when we find ourselves stuck on bearing fruit in the larger settings, as well as our smaller, gender-specific, DNA groups. 

With this in mind, we are going to continue supporting and increase support of our Groups and the leaders therein. Our staff is going to do a bit of rearranging to add extra support to group leaders, and in the next year, our desire is to create both environments and content that will help further equip group leaders and give EVERYONE a chance to live out community in a more robust, fruit bearing way. If you are a group leader, you will feel this in the coming months, which we hope will trickle down to everyone else who’s participating.

Another environment that we’re going to foster and increase in are our classes. There is a desire to explore deeper conversations around understanding / defending our faith, various theological topics, understanding cultural issues of our day, and a variety of other points of interest. Our team has discussed beginning to host one-off classes, potentially mid-week, but maybe even on a Sunday morning during one of our gatherings (like old school adult Sunday school!). We’ve got people with the gift of teaching on staff and in this church who are untapped and would be wonderful for environments like this, so we intend to spend some time prayerfully curating courses that will both stimulate our minds and strengthen our hearts for the journey ahead.
Another focus is in the area of prayer. As you experience every week, we have a prayer team that is readily available to cover you in prayer at the end of every service. Robert and Melissa Montgomery have done great job leading us through this season, and have been active in responding to prayer requests midweek as well.

In addition to adding to the team and creating additional prayer training environments, we have built out a space on the mezzanine level that we’re simply calling “The Prayer Room.” You may not realize it, but this building has a LOT of unused real estate that we’re slowly starting to fill. One of those room has recently been rearranged, decorated, and set apart specifically for the purpose of prayer. Our prayer team will utilize it before service, during events, and as needed. At some point, we’ll share how that room will be open more regularly to the congregation for prayer meetings as well.

I believe a church that is strong in prayer is a church that is ready to handle whatever God gives them, so setting a room apart isn’t just a symbol for us, it’s stake in the ground that declares - “MAY THIS PLACE BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER.” 
Finally, one of the most pertinent to the whole church is a new course that we are going to be offering that I am EXTREMELY excited about (I’m going to ask Tayla to come to the stage to help me talk about this part). One of the observations that we made during our discipleship series is that while our church does well serving people who are already Christians and are generally growing, there are 2 groups of people that have been largely underserved:

  1. people exploring faith / brand new believers, and 
  2. those we would call “Spiritual Parents” - folks who are eager disciple someone else

Our team has spent countless hours exploring options for content or curriculum that would help disciple those coming into faith AND give spiritual parents a place to be disciple-makers and see fruit bear out in the lives of those they disciple.

For this reason, we’re excited to announce that we’re launching THE ALPHA COURSE starting this fall! 

Tayla - can you help explain what the Alpha course is and why you’re excited about it?

[ TAYLA ] Alpha is a fun dinner series followed by group conversations centered around exploring the big questions of life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open & informal environment. It's a 9-week course that runs in churches, coffee shops, prisons, and homes worldwide. This ministry has continued to be used by the Church globally as an effective tool to not only equip new believers with the foundations of faith, but to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus.

The program's success rate is nothing short of remarkable. Alpha boasts an astounding success rate of 80% and higher, reflecting individuals embarking on transformative journeys with Jesus—whether it's their initial step or a progression in their deepening faith.

So Alpha is making a huge impact on people coming to faith in Jesus in the first place and growing in their relationship with him. All it takes is prayer and an invitation.

Who do you know in your life, in your sphere of influence - a family member, friend, coworker, neighbor, who doesn’t yet know Jesus? Who do you want to meet him and have their life changed like yours has been changed? Consider that…and as you do…

I want to direct you to the seat backs in front of you - there’s a little pink & red card - go ahead and pull that out. Beginning this week on Wednesday, August 30th, we are going to be starting this 21 Day Prayer Campaign, leading up to the launch of Alpha

If you open up the booklet, you’ll see the call and it’s just three parts:

  1. Write down the name of three people you would like to explore faith. (And there’s space for you to that on the right)
  2. Set an alarm for 11:02 (AM or PM - your choice!), as a reminder to pray for your three people and your city for the next 21 days.
  3. Be open and expectant to see how God might use you.

We often say “no” to God on behalf of someone else before we allow them to respond. Evangelism is just joining the conversation that God is already having with someone. So, be open and expectant to how God might use you.

And then on the back there’s a simple guided prayer you can pray. You’ll also see a little sticky note. And this is for you to write the initials of those 3 people you’re wanting to invite to explore faith to put on the Alpha prayer wall we have in the back right corner of the room. Let’s fill that wall up today as we collectively commit to praying for people in our lives and in our city together that they might know Jesus.

So, let’s pray together and save the date! Alpha will run on Wednesday nights, September 20th - November 15th from 6-8pm with dinner and childcare provided. 

Learn more about The Alpha Course here
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