This new congregation is corrupting its pastor!! Green Bay native in Viking's purple?! Between this JERSEY (which makes us feel a bit schizophrenic!) and the SNOW in October, everything is a little weird here in Big Lake! ?Fortunately, things at New Day Church are not weird, but are spirit-filled and hopeful! Although the number of worship attenders was down a bit these last two weekends (we were warned that might happen), the vast majority of those who have come, are returning and feedback continues to be very positive. God's spirit is so alive and the relationships that are starting to solidify are precious to see.
The Vikings Favre jersey gift ("To Jim, From God" on the package!!) is one example of how well Jim is connecting to the people and how people are feeling "at home" - accepted and welcomed, as well as finding worship meaningful to their lives. Leaders are coming forward and doing tasks without being asked, the rhythm of the 3 days of worship is becoming more familiar, and most of the major "building" projects have been completed. This past week we had a Kid's evening and a Youth evening, which were fun and great starts to those programs.
We're planning to get out into the community 3 more times before the end of the year. "Treats 4 U" (Trick-or-Treating plus games, photographer, cider/coffee, etc.) will happen on Halloween night. You may remember we held this event at the school last year. We'll move it to the church this year - using the parking lot for most of the trick-or-treat stations to draw people who are out and about to us. This event will allow those who want to check out New Day anonymously to do so.
Second, the commuter rail from Big Lake to Mpls. will open in mid-November. New Day Church will be one of the sponsors for their grand opening event. We also may serve coffee those first couple of mornings as commuters ride the rail to work!
Finally, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we plan to have a "Preparing for Christmas" (Advent) event - maybe held at a location other than the church. More details to work out as that time gets closer. Jim will also be preaching at the ecumenical Thanksgiving service held at the Catholic church this year.
Being the more practical of the two of us, I still worry about the small numbers attending worship and finances (they sort of go hand in hand). I am so thankful that God continues to remind me to focus on the ministry and have faith! Just a few examples and stories to share...
- Sat. evening one woman turned to me after worship with a huge smile as if a weight had been lifted and said, "I always feel so good when I come here!"
- The mom who told me her son was up at 7:30 Sunday morning, just waiting to come to church to get his copy of the CD with the slide show that he had helped create at kid's night this week. And the mom with 6 kids (senior in HS down to age 3) who so appreciates our casual style, good childcare, crafts for kids during worship, and alternate worship times, that all make coming to church a meaningful experience for the first time for her whole family.
- All of the young men, who haven't been to church in years, and didn't think there was anything in church for them- finding meaning in worship, projects to help out with and good fellowship that has been missing from their lives.
- And finally, two of the youth who have found a place to belong and to use their gifts - running sound board/powerpoint and drumming with the band. And there are more...
Those who haven't had a chance to come see firsthand what's happening, you are most warmly invited! The next worship series starts the week after next (we're taking a "bye" this weekend!) and has a football theme "Tackling the Tough Ones!" The website will have more info... As always, all of your prayers and support are blessings beyond measure.
May the winter temperatures not freeze the warmth of God's love in our hearts...
Love and hugs,