2010 has been an interesting year. We have seen God do some exciting things as well as allow some challenges to come before us. There have been opportunities for which we sought God’s wisdom and some yes and no answers from Him. All in all, 2010 has been a good year, because it is another year of serving God and being a part of His mission.
It is amazing how fast these years have gone by since God called us to start The Church @ The Ridge. I can’t believe that it has been 5 years since that first core group meeting in my house. God has used many of you in many ways over these years and it has been a blessing to have you partnering with us in the vision to reach this community and the nations with the Gospel.
I feel that in many ways 2010 has been a “But God…” year. My good friend Aidan McKenzie taught me many years ago that any time you see the words “But God…” in Scripture, it means that God is about to step in…things are about to change…He’s about to do something only He can do. That is an exciting place to be. However, to get there usually involves us having to go through some tough times. Well, in many ways this past year has been challenging…as it has been for many churches in our nation…especially on a financial level. While it has been tough, God has remained faithful and has kept us afloat by His grace. Sometimes it has felt like just our nose was above water, “But God…” has always come through. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 has been a verse I have kept in the front of my mind this year:
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
I must always remember that it is HE who called us and HE is faithful and HE will build HIS church and the gates of Hell (or recession, or anything else) will not prevail against it! (Matthew 16:18) Thankfully, I don’t have to do it!
This year God has refocused our attention on revival, and spiritual awakening. I felt the Him leading us to study Experiencing God together in the spring. All of our small groups went through this great study and it had a huge impact on the church. God has begun to reveal Himself in many ways to people and inviting them to join Him in His work in their lives. Exciting to see!
The summer included our annual IMPACT Week, which is a sports camp for kids in the community. This year we had nearly 90 kids involved!
This summer also gave us two community outreach opportunities:
- Our outreach at the county fireworks show. We handed out hundreds of bottles of water & glo-sticks to hundreds of families.
- We also participated with over 70 churches in our county for the third year in the Community Makeover. We took the last weekend in July and did ministry projects all over the area. It was awesome to participate with thousands of fellow believers in sharing the love of Christ with our own community in practical ways.
In the previous three summers we have always done a Family Camp. However, this year our school system changed the school calendar in the spring which made us have to cancel our camp. However, God gave us an opportunity to do a Family Conference event instead. We hosted 25 families at the school we rent for a week of worship, fun, teaching for the entire family. Stephen Kendrick, co-writer and producer of the movies Fireproof and Facing The Giants, joined us along with his family and challenged us from God’s word. It was a great week!
This fall we held a Fall Festival in the parking lot of Kroger. It was part of our Pumpkin Patch (see sidebar next page) and over 1000 people came through. We were able to follow up with each one through email, letter, and phone calls. Great outreach & a great community builder for the church too!
The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. – Psalm 135:6
In April, a local bank contacted us and asked if we would be interested in a piece of land they had which had been foreclosed on. While it wasn’t in the exact location we would have chosen, it wasn’t bad. We decided to pray and seek God for wisdom. We prayed about it and did some due diligence on the land through the summer seeking some expert help and felt the green light to proceed to the next step. After getting a price from
the bank, which was a very good price, we made a formal proposal at their asking price. The
bank then went silent on us for about five weeks. Then they came back and said they couldn’t
sell it to us for that price (which was their price). Our prayer had been that if it would please the Lord to give us some land, we’d like to have a permanent home. This seemed to be something that came from Him, but in the end, He closed that door. We learned a lot in the process, though. I would as that you pray with us about this. That God would give us a piece of property…if it would please Him!
This summer a couple in our church was led by God to talk to me and our staff about doing a Pumpkin Patch to raise money for missions in Africa. We had never done this before and weren’t sure how it would go. But… After praying about it, we felt like it was a low risk opportunity to raise a little money for missions. We had no idea what God was gonna do. One challenge was to get volunteers to staff a Pumpkin Patch for all of October. Well, our people really stepped up and volunteered. It actually became the place to hang out! Sales started off good and before we knew it, we were ordering another shipment! Clean water is the greatest need in Burkina (and all over Africa). Thousands of kids die every day from water borne diseases. All the proceeds from the Patch were to go to dig wells in Burkina Faso. But would it really make much of a difference?
To our surprise, we sold over $12,000 worth of pumpkins! That gave us a net profit of over $4500! This is enough to drill a well that will provide clean water for over 2000 for 10 years! This well will be dug & a church built next to it, enabling the pastors there to share Living Water with those who are thirsty too. Did pumpkins save lives? You be the judge. Praise God for the vision He gave to one couple and their obedience to listen to Him!
What does 2011 hold? I don’t know…”But God…”
Your year-end, tax deductable gift to God’s vision and work at The Church @ The Ridge would be greatly needed and appreciated. As you consider where you want to invest at the end of this year, please pray and seek God as to His will and consider supporting God’s work here. You can give online HERE. If you do so by midnight December 31, 2010, your contribusion can be deducted on your 2010 taxes.